Ready. Set. NOT SO FAST.
If you are planning to make another attempt at weight loss this coming year, check out these avoidable weight loss mistakes first.
As someone who has had her fair share of weight loss struggles and now coaches other women to get and keep the weight off, I am sharing the most common weight loss mistakes I have made (and witnessed others make) along the journey so that you can sidestep these pitfalls.
#1: Doing hours of cardio each week to drop weight.
The thing about traditional cardio is that the more of it you do the more of it you end up needing just to MAINTAIN your weight. Bye bye life. Hello treadmill.
#2: Completely cutting out carbohydrates or fat.
Cutting out fat or carbs may produce some “temporary” initial results but the compensatory hunger and sweets cravings are enough to make sure you put the weight back on when you can’t take it anymore.
#3: Lifting light (almost non-existent) weights to “tone” your muscles.
In order to change your body, you must challenge your body. If the weights aren’t challenging, that feminine muscle sculpting and fat melting you are after will not happen.
#4: Obsessing over the numbers- calorie counts, macronutrient counts, and weight.
Whether you are obsessing over calories, macros, or body weight, the bottom line is that the numbers are a small part of the equation. When cultivate the habit of eating foods that are high in water, protein, and fiber (veggies not bread), the calories and macros fall into line without much mental energy on your part. When you concentrate on a look instead of a number on the scale, you avoid the mistake of continuing to strive for a goal that you have actually already attained.
#5: Getting too attached to weight loss deadlines.
Weight loss happens when it happens. The best thing you can do is practice the habits that make it happen. It may sound like giving up but really when is the last time our bodies dropped the extra five pounds just because our deadline was in two days? Usually stressing out causes the exact opposite to happen.
#6: Believing that nutrition is 80% and exercise is 20% of the weight loss success equation.
The truth is your MINDSET is 100% of the equation since what you think drives your actions and your actions drive your results. For weight loss success- get your mind right. Think in terms of “how can I” and “what now” rather than “It is so hard because” and “If THIS would just change”.
#7: Believing that your lack of willpower is why you keep failing at your weight loss attempt.
Willpower requires mental energy. Let’s be honest. How many of us busy women have tons of extra mental energy when it really counts (like at night after a busy day)? Finding ways to make the journey more convenient and developing HABITS that support your goal will help you much more than trying to cultivate more willpower.
#8: Believing that you need at least an hour a day of exercise to make any difference.
Remember this, you either need time OR intensity but not both. I would even go as far as to argue that short and intense works better because of the compensatory hunger that it DOESN’T cause when compared to longer workouts. So what does that mean for a busy woman wanting to drop a few extra pounds? Embrace short, hard workouts and get on with life.
#9: Eliminating your favorite foods “until you hit goal”.
Food is a tricky thing and if you want to obsess over something all you have to do is ban it. Alternating short times of a more strict nutrition approach with times of a more relaxed approach makes it easier to stick to your plan AND cultivate the habits you will need to maintain your weight loss in the long run. Trying to go hard until you are “done” is one way to crash and burn early or rebound quickly after you hit goal.
#10: Not following a structured, progressive workout plan.
The bottom line is your body needs enough change in routine to maintain a certain level of challenge but not so much change that you are more likely to get injured than you are to get fit. You don’t have to “shock the body” with erratic workout routines to get results. Mastering the basics then making them harder over time works beautifully and helps you develop the structural integrity to reduce your chance of injury.
#11: Training way too hard for too long.
When your hardcore workout plan makes it impossible to stick to a sensible nutrition plan, your weight loss efforts will be sabotaged. Encourage your body to change but don’t beat it into submission.
#12: Eating too much “health food”.
Everything that is “healthy” won’t help you lose weight. Just because it is organic, whole grain, or high fiber doesn’t make it a weight loss food. If it is low in protein and high in sugar or starch, chances are including it in your daily nutrition plan will hurt your weight loss efforts.
#13: Ignoring sleep and stress reduction.
At some point (usually when we enter our thirties) the old way of burning the candle at both ends starts to catch up. Sleep deprivation and stress are key causes of increased appetite and cravings. Get some sleep. Take a walk and watch how much easier it is to stick to your nutrition intentions.
#14: Believing in the “burn it off” method.
The method is kind of like Santa Clause… if you are under 12, it is not likely to work for you. Unless you are an elite athlete, teenager, or genetically gifted, your workouts don’t negate the effects of that junk food on your figure. I wish it weren’t so but this is really the truth.
SHAMELESS TRUE STORY INTERJECTION…
A little over a decade ago, I was fiercely trying to lose weight. I was religious about my exercise routine. But can I tell you that after my favorite Monday night Step & Sculpt class, I would ALWAYS stop at Wendy’s for my kid’s sized Frosty and small fry. Spoiler Alert… I didn’t successfully lose weight. Trust me ladies. If there was a way- I would tell you!
#15: Ignoring how much alcohol consumption can impact your results.
So I know how many friends I am going to lose on this one BUT if you are doing everything else right, that nightly glass of wine (or two or three) is likely the reason why your weight and measurements aren’t moving EVEN if you are accounting for it by cutting down on other foods. Don’t believe it? Try limiting yourself to no more than two drinks on two occasions each week for about 30 days to see if you get different results.
So there you have it my 15 weight loss mistakes to avoid. What did you think. Let me know in the comments below! And if you found this helpful or inspirational, be sure to share.