Eat right and exercise and you’ll drop off all those extra kilos, you might think. But it’s not really that simple. A lot of people make some common mistakes when they go on a weight loss regime and all their efforts bear no results. From completely avoiding a food group to exercising too much, there are some things every dieter or fitness enthusiast should keep in mind to make sure the hard work they put in to lose weight or maintain their figure doesn’t go down the drain.
Keeping that in mind, this week I decided to list some of the most common dieting mistakes we are all prone to make. I have made several of these mistakes, and always used to wonder where I was going wrong till my instructor took care of the matter for me. I’d advise you to talk to a dietician or fitness instructor before going on any weight loss plan to make sure you are doing it right. For now, I’m here to get you started on it so here are some things you should keep in mind when embarking on a fitness journey.
Carbohydrates form an essential part of a balanced diet because they are a good source of energy and your body needs them to function at its optimum best. It’s not a good idea to completely ban it from your meal plans. Instead, reduce the portion size, and opt for complex carbs, if you are weary about it.
No snacks between meals
Snacks are an excellent way to help you control your regular meal portions, and help control your appetite as well. Experts suggest that you eat small meals every three to four hours. This ensures you never go hungry and aren’t likely to overeat at meal times. Have some fruits or a handful of nuts between meals.
Doing only cardio
Doing only cardio and over doing it will make you lose muscle along with fat. Weight lifting will increase your metabolism because muscle can burn more calories for up to 24 hours after training them. Opt for a combination of body toning, cardio and good nutrition to lose weight the healthy way.
Staying up late
Skimping on sleep, especially sleeping less than five or six hours a night, can slow your metabolism and cause hormonal changes that hurt your weight loss efforts. Being tired may also make you eat more. A study found that people who are sleep-deprived consume 500 extra calories a day.
Not drinking enough water
We all know we should drink more water but yet we don’t. Drinking water may also help you manage your appetite and you won’t be likely to binge on colas and other sugary drinks. It has been found that people who drink two glasses of water before lunch/dinner consume up to 90 fewer calories.
There’s been a lot of research on this and it is said that people who have a good breakfast tend to fitter than those who skip it. Start the day right by having a hearty breakfast. Experts say whole-grain cereal is one of the best breakfast choices for dieters. It’s quick and easy, so you don’t really have the excuse of not having time before class or work.
You might think skipping a meal will reduce your calorie intake. But think about the consequences. You’ll definitely be hungry later and thus will be more likely to overeat. What good is that? Also, irregular eating habits will disrupt your blood sugar and metabolism, making it harder for you to lose weight.
Putting way too many restrictions on yourself
Going a strict diet is not a realistic approach to weight loss. If you want to lose weight you have to think long term. Even if you have amazing will power and are able to stick to a low calorie diet, your body will go into starvation mode and hold on to whatever you eat in an effort to preserve energy.
‘Low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ usually just means extra sugar or thickeners (which are added to boost the flavor and texture that are lost when fat is removed), and these ingredients can wreck havoc in your body. Not all fat is bad. Learn about good and bad fat and benefit from it. Unsaturated fat – fat from sources like olive oil, nuts and avocado – is good and your body needs them to function well.
Eating too many ‘healthy food’
We might have gone organic and gluten free but organic sugar is still sugar and gluten-free junk food is still junk food. It is best to avoid processed, packaged food, even if they are considered ‘healthy’ options. If the packaging of a food has to declare it is healthy, then chances are that it probably isn’t.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness expert. I’m just someone who lost oodles of weight – almost 30 kilos – wanting to share my experiences hoping it will help others who are struggling with weight loss. If I could do it, so can you.