Losing weight is tough, I'll give you that. Gaining weight can be tough for some folks too. Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself. I feel like I am doing everything right. I'm sticking to my meal plan, I'm working out HARD at the gym, and drinking tons of water. Why can't I see progress? What am I doing wrong? Don't forget, consistency is the key, stick with it and you will see results. Here are a few common mistakes people (including myself) make trying to lose those extra pounds.
Focusing Only On What The Scale Says
The number on the scale is a lie. Don't use this as your only source of progress. Weight can fluctuate up to 4lbs over the course of one day depending on how much food and liquid you have had.
Hormones can play a role in how much water weight you are holding at any given time which will also increase the number on the scale.
You might be losing fat mass but still, hold on to water weight. You might also be losing the fat but gaining muscle which all lead to what would appear as "not losing weight."
Instead, focus on how your clothes fit. Measure yourself and see if those numbers are going down. Were you a size 12 and now you are a size 10, great! KEEP GOING! You can also try taking monthly progress pictures to compare and track progress.
Not Eating Enough/Eating Too Much
A caloric deficit is needed in order to lose weight. Being in a caloric deficit is made by consuming fewer calories than what you use during the day. Most think they are eating less but in actuality, they might still be consuming more than what their body needs.
You might be consuming too many calories in foods that are healthy and nutritious but high in calories. Nuts and cheese can be great for you but they are high in calories and it's important to track your portion sizes.
Decreasing your calories can do just as much damage as eating too many. Low-calorie diets providing less than 1,000 calories per day have been shown to decrease muscle mass and make your body go into a "starvation" mode.
Don't forget to track your foods and try to make it as accurate as possible. Use the tracking apps that are out there and utilize food labels. Not tracking your foods, eating too often, and not tracking correctly are also all common mistakes. Buy a cheap digital kitchen scale and measure out everything even the products that state "one scoop" when the scoop is provided. No scoop is created equally.
Not Exercising or Doing Too Much
If you don't exercise at all while restricting your caloric intake you're more likely to lose muscle mass and experience a decrease in metabolic rate. Long term this isn't great for your overall health.
Exercising too much can also cause problems. The stress you are putting on your body can impair your adrenal hormones which regulate your stress response. You will start to feel like garbage, you'll be moody, and tired all the time.
Instead, try adding in some cardio and weight training a few times a week to build muscle mass and maintain your metabolic rate during weight loss.
Not Lifting Weights
Resistance training is so important you definitely don't want to skip this one. Not only will your physique look great your metabolism will benefit. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you are burning at rest. Need I say more? More muscles mean more calories burned when you are doing NOTHING.
Consuming Unhealthy Options
Sugary drinks will prohibit weight loss! Drinking alcohol, and other sugary drinks will add up in the long run. If you want that latte from Starbucks or that glass of wine make sure you track it and account for it in your day. Everything in moderation!
Eating too much fat on a low carb diet. Fat = Calories (even with no carbs). If you want to lose weight on a ketogenic diet you still need to track your calories and your fat consumption. It may seem like a great option but in reality, the higher fat foods will cost you a lot of your calories for the day. Plan out your fat intake accordingly.
Eating over-processed foods, do I even need to go any further. Try switching to more nutrient-dense whole foods. Cook your own meals, opt for fresh fruits and veggies instead of other snacks.
Not eating enough fiber, Not eating enough protein, and not eating whole, single-ingredient foods can also hurt your weight loss journey.
Giving Up and YOLO Eating
Not seeing results and just giving up and eating whatever you want. This happens, it's happened to me. Getting frustrated because you don't notice any change and you get impatient so you just self-sabotage and eat whatever and anything that crosses your path.
Don't give up! Having one set back and just throwing in the towel for the rest of the day. So you made a less healthy choice. No problem, you are human. Move forward, let it go, and make the next meal healthy. Don't forget to drink lots of water.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
Don't forget that losing weight takes time. Fitness is a lifestyle change, not some quick fix. You decide you want to be a bodybuilder? GREAT! It's going to take time, it's not just going to suddenly happen because you had a few great weeks of working out and eating clean.
Reality is, those bodybuilders you see on social media have most likely either supplemented with other substances to get that way or have been working their butt off for many years. Don't compare yourself and don't expect a complete physique change overnight.
Set small realistic goals for yourself, you will be more prone to stick to them. 10% drop in weight in one year might be your reality. Trying to rush weight loss can wreak havoc on your body and your metabolism.
Consistency and Dedication are what it will take to lose the weight and to lose the weight forever. Appreciate your body for all it can do, not what it's not doing.
Keep going, you can and you will reach your goal if you stick with it!