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10 mistakes to avoid when trying to lose weight

We all make mistakes, but when it comes to weight loss we have a tendency to make similar ones that can often hinder rather than help our weight losing process. Here is a list of a few common ones and how to avoid making them.

1) Starving yourself or skipping meals – While it is common to feel a bit hungry when you are trying to reduce your daily intake of food it is not necessary to starve yourself. Eating breakfast is important if you want to get your day off to a good start . Even if you do not feel like it you should always eat a good protein rich breakfast, it stops you snacking before lunch and gives you vital energy to get through the morning as well as kick starting your metabolism. Starving your body is counterproductive as the body is quick to adjust to changes in diet, starving will encourage your body to store fat which makes it even harder to shed those excess pounds. It is also an unhealthy approach to nutrition and eating. The point of any eating plan should be to educate you to a long-term solution so that you no longer think about dieting rather making healthy choices.

2) Trying to lose too much weight too quickly – When it comes to weight management patience really is a virtue and the best way to lose weight is to do so slowly. Many people have unrealistic expectations about the amount of weight they are able to lose over a period of time. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to lose around 2lbs a week. If you consider that 1lb of fat equals 3,500 kcal you would need a deficit of 500 kcal per day to lose 1lb a week. Therefore, to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we are consuming, by exercising more or simply eating less. Also setting weight loss goals that are achievable means you are more likely to hit them which will also motivate you to continue on.

3) Avoiding eating carbs – We need carbs to fuel our bodies properly. While there is such as thing as good and bad carbs, cutting them out completely is not the answer. Understanding what are good carbs is key – brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and sweet potatoes are all examples of good carbs. Eating well and losing weight successfully is about having the correct balance of carbs, fat and protein in your diet. 

4) Not drinking enough water - Water helps with weight loss. It is 100% calorie free, boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories as well as suppress appetite if you consume before meals. However, you can’t just simply drink water to lose weight, you need to eat healthily and preferably also burn fat by exercising. For more on this see www.healthy-4life.com/blog/how-much-water-should-i-drink.

5) Buying products that you think are healthy – Checking your labels on the products you buy is crucial if you don’t want to fall into the trap of buying something which looks healthy or is billed as low fat when it is actually packed full of sugars. Knowing your labels is important and a big subject. For more on this and a handy guide on how to decode your labels see www.healthy-4life.com/blog/decode-your-food-labels.

6) Overestimating how many calories you have burned from exercise – Be careful you don’t over compensate and allow  yourself additional calories after exercise. Using a fitness tracker that monitors your heart rate and efforts while you are taking part in exercise can give you better and more reliable data to work with. Remember just because you have burned them does not mean you need to eat them!

7) Not tracking what you eat – There is no better way to weight management than tracking your calories and intake of protein, carbs and fat. You should know the exact number of kcals you are targeting to consume each day and what percentage of carbs, protein and fat. This will ensure a healthy balanced diet and importantly that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. Handy apps such as Myfitnesspal free on the market makes it even easier to do this but you must know what your percentages are for those figures to be meaningful so get some advice from a professional if you are not sure where to start. Tracking what you eat also helps keep you accountable particularly if you are sharing this information with your advisor or fitness instructor.

8) Standing on the scales too frequently – Your weight fluctuates throughout the day and week if you stand on them throughout the day you will get a very different picture from one hour to the next depending on what you have eaten and drunk. Once a week is more than enough to stand on the scales. You should stand on them at the same time of the day to get a realistic picture of where you are at week on week.

9) Not sleeping enough – there is a correlation between successful weight loss and sleeping. If you don’t get enough sleep your body will over produce hunger hormones and your fat cells lose their ability to properly use insulin. But in simpler terms just not having enough sleep can make you more stressed out which makes it hard to control your appetite. A sleep-deprived body will produce more of the stress hormone cortisol which is linked to a part in your brain that makes you crave food. Sleeping helps keep you fresh and helps you with your decision-making process to not snack on sugary and salty foods.

10) Not adding exercise into your healthy lifestyle plan – Being overweight often stops us exercising for many reasons but usually they are related to symptoms of weight gain for example; knee-related injuries are common which means it can be hard for them to actually add in the exercise they need to really shift the extra pounds. Finding exercises that are easy on the knee is key, such as swimming or even just walking a set number of steps each day will help burn those calories and aid weight loss.

For more information, help and advice on weight management see www.healthy-4life.com.  The “Healthy You” programme is £10 a week for an 8-week period.

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Healthy-4life has been created to inspire others to a healthier and fitter lifestyle.

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