Do you dread getting on the scale? When you start visiting it too often, it can become your worst enemy. Think about it: in reality, your weight is not the problem. Your problem is a diet and lifestyle that promotes weight gain. Change the behavior and the weight will change, as well.
Start by not weighing yourself every day. What you eat or do for one day reflects little on any part of your health. What you do consistently for weeks and months, on the other hand, is what affects your health and weight loss. Because your weight can shift multiple pounds from one day to the next, weighing everyday is not a good measurement of success. Even if you lose weight everyday, eventually you'll hit a wall and feel disappointed and frustrated and you'll begin to question your ability to lose the weight.
So what can you do to increase your chances of keeping the weight off and maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Let's start with what you SHOULDN'T be doing! There is no quick fix for weight loss, but avoiding these pitfalls can help keep you on the right track.
- Skipping meals. When you skip meals, it leads to overeating later due to increased hunger. In addition, it can cause cravings due to a drop in blood sugar levels. Aim for 3 meals and 3 snacks per day. DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST!
- Lack of enough sound sleep. Most people never realize how important sleep is to your overall health, and yes, even to weight loss. Without adequate sleep, your hormonal system is out of balance and you're under stress, releasing fat building hormones. Your need 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep every night.
- Lack of water. Without enough water (body fluids) your metabolism is lowered and you don't burn as many calories. You just can’t make as much energy without the water.
- Doing the same exercise routine. Your body will figure out how to do your routine very efficiently and you will burn fewer calories. Change your routine and include strength training and interval training. Keep your body guessing!
- Eating the same foods every day. This is very common. Many of us like certain foods and we like the same ones for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The problem is our body gets too comfortable because it now has learned how many calories and what nutrients to expect. Vary your calories from day to day. If your calorie budget is 2000 calories, shoot for 1800 one day, 2200 another day, 2000 another day and even 1600 another day. The important part is averaging 2000 calories over several days. One day at 2400 calories is not going to affect your weight, however a week of 2400 calorie per day will.
- Under consuming calories. Everyone thinks that if you eat less, you will lose more weight. Wrong! For most people, consuming less than 1200 calories per day causes their bodies to think they're starving. As a result, their bodies lower their metabolism drastically and will even turn what's ingested into fat for later energy when there is no food available.
- Nutrient deficiency. You should complement your diet with super nutrition. Even eating health is not enough with today’s foods. Your body can’t make energy, build muscle, make enzymes, red blood cells, hemoglobin, etc., without an abundance of nutrients. Your mitochondria (the cellular power plants) are highly dependent on nutrients to burn carbohydrates and stored fats.
- Consuming too many calories. Everyone has a calorie budget. If you exceed it consistently, you will gain weight. It is important to know yours. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to calculate your calorie budge. Eat less calories (not too few, however) and exercise more to increase your weight loss rate.
- Forgetting to adjust calorie intake when weight is being lost. As the pounds come off you have to adjust your calorie intake. If you continue eating the same calories that you did 20 pounds ago, the weight loss is going to stop.
- Stress! Stress releases hormones that build abdominal fat. Find ways to add relaxation into your life. Make life fun!
- Lack of exercise. Everyone needs to exercise. Exercise not only burns fat, but also detoxes the body, forces the body to repair itself and makes more energy producing compounds and tissues. If you are morbidly obese, you may lose weight for a while without exercising. However, at some point, the weight loss will stop if you don't include some form of exercise.
- Lack of real commitment. Are you so tired of being over weight that absolutely nothing will stop you from losing it? If you aren’t willing to tell your friends or even ask them to support you in your efforts, then I question if you're really committed to your weight loss. It's important to let friends and family know so they can help reinforce good behavior and not tempt you will fattening foods. Your friends will want to help and not sabotage your efforts.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you get over the hump when you hit the weight loss wall. Change your foods regularly, change your calories daily and vary your exercise routine. In some cases, if you have exercised regularly, you may need a week off. If you have given your body a break, you may want to increase your intensity to jump-start the metabolic engine again.