So you are eating healthy and doing regular exercise but still not losing weight? Do you feel like giving up because you are not seeing those numbers drop?
Sacrificing your favorite food and working extra hard at the gym, for what?
Stop right there. Do not be demotivated yet. Your healthy weight loss journey may be slow but that’s because you are avoiding these common mistakes that may be preventing you from reaching your weight loss goal.
Lavleen Kaur, a leading dietitian and co-founder of Diet Insight, shares 5 common weight loss mistakes that are hindering your fat loss journey. So, what are they?
Weight loss mistake 1: Focusing only on weighing scale
Weight loss mistake 2: Too much Cardio
Are you stepping on the scale, first thing in the morning? Your weight loss is more than how many numbers you have reduced on the scale. Constantly checking the weighing scale, is a common mistake when trying to lose weight.
You need to focus on what really matters, those numbers or your health?
Checking the weighing scale means you are only focusing on your body weight and not on your body composition. A weighing scale does not accurately measure your weight, but your body composition does.
So, keep in mind to get your own body composition analysis to check your progress. It includes measurements of body fat, muscle mass, water weight and more. Once you start focusing on these three things instead of a few numbers, you’ll see a real change happening.
“Weight loss is not only about how you have changed the numbers on the weighing scale, but rather about how much you have lost fat and improved your bone density”, says Lavleen.
She advises a monthly body composition analysis done which will take you a step further on tracking your weight loss goal.
Aside from body composition analysis, you need to change your parameters and focus on “inch loss”. Inch loss cannot be witnessed within a week but after about 15 days, you will realize you feel energized, body lightness, gain in stamina and there will be an overall active lookout towards everything.
Take a before and after picture to see your progress. If you shift your focus on the right things and follow a healthy lifestyle, you will gradually see the change happening that you had desired for.
Cardiovascular exercises is a type of exercise that increases your heart rate. It improves the quality of oxygen supply in the body, keeping us fit and active. Therefore, it is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and stay healthy.
But too much of cardio can be harmful when you are trying to lose weight.
Without adequate nutrition intake, running hours on the treadmill or doing intense cardio exercises, will not help. Instead of losing weight, you’ll reach a catabolic state.
Too much cardio means running a risk of muscle burn which will further hamper your weight loss process. This means you will witness muscle loss instead of losing real fat. There will be no real progress and you will have to face many other problems like weakness.
In order to reduce weight, you need to burn the fats and grow muscles; not the other way around! You need to go ten steps ahead, not backwards.
You should exercise and do cardio, but know your limit. According to Lavleen, if you want to have a healthy fat loss journey, you should include strength training.
This will help you gain more muscles while also losing weight. Stronger muscles mean a proportionate fat loss, leading to a healthy body structure.
Weight loss mistake 3: Focusing only on calorie count
Calorie counting can be a useful way of maintaining the overall intake, but that does not mean you constantly keep checking your calories. If you repetitively keep counting calories, you are ignoring the bigger picture.
Low calorie does not always mean healthy.
The choice of food matters! All calories are not the same. Your body needs nourishment, so focus on foods with optimal nutrition rather than highly processed foods with a ‘low calorie’ stamp.
Your focus should not only be on calorie counting while ignoring other important factors. Quality of sleep, minimal stress, hormonal imbalance and nutritional deficiency are the other aspects that you need to focus on.
Firstly, your weight loss goal is unachievable without good quality sleep. No doubt that our body needs undisturbed sleep to feel relaxed but it plays an even bigger role. As a result of improper sleep, your body will not be able to loss fat because during night time, our breathing plays an important part in fat loss.
Secondly, improper levels of cortisol (also known as stress hormones) will affect our health and weight loss journey, more than we might realize. High levels of cortisol affect our growth hormones which will not let weight loss happen.
If you want to burn fat, make sure to keep your cortisol level at a minimum. Lavleen advises practicing yoga and meditating as a good way to maintain cortisol level, in order to reduce weight through a healthy manner.
Hormonal imbalance due to PCOD or thyroid can also hinder your weight loss due to a slow metabolism rate. Minor hormonal imbalances like an increase in male hormones but a reduction of female hormones can also cause negative effects. Make sure to check and maintain your hormonal levels.
Nutritional deficiency is another factor that hampers weight loss. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps improve fat burning capacity and absorbs calcium.
Weight loss mistake 4: Frequent meals even if you are not hungry
According to conventional studies, it is good to have frequent meals after every 2 hours which will help you boost metabolism. However, it differs from one individual to another.
Through her years of experience in the field, she has realized that every person has different needs and that is why eating frequently works for some and not others.
For example, asking an individual with a low appetite to eat every 2 hours will make them feel like they are “over-eating”. This way, they will never be able to lose weight and instead feel bloated. On the other hand, fasting can also be detrimental for certain individuals.
“The solution is to listen to your body” says Kaur. Each body differs and a general advice on diet will not help ‘your’ body lose weight. You can always take expert advice on the right kind and amount of food that ‘you’ need to each.
Dietitians will help and provide you with a framework of what exactly suits your body – whether it is eating after every 2 hours or not. Also do not forget that you are the boss of your body but with the help of a diet expert you can achieve your weight loss goal in the most efficient way possible.
Weight loss mistake 5: Setting unrealistic expectations
I know you wish that weight loss could be an overnight magic. But the harsh reality is that it is a slow process. Consistency is key but many people are impatient and give up before reaching their goal.
If you take baby steps and give your body the time it needs, you will see wonders happening in your journey.
Many people set unrealistic goals about their diet and exercise. This will not yield any results and you will only be demotivated and discouraged to continue your weight loss journey.
The photos of models that you see in magazines and televisions do not always show the clear picture. You should accept your body the way it is and set realistic goals.
If your expectation is only losing weight in terms of numbers, it is a short-term goal and it will easily demotivate you. This is the problem behind your constant effort of doing everything right but not seeing any results.
Think long term and create a sustainable goal towards building a healthy lifestyle instead of only focusing on weight loss.
These are 5 of the most common mistakes that people make while trying to lose weight. However, there are other important factors like protein intake, fiber intake, and especially your mindset.
“Weight loss should not be the only aim, we should work towards lifestyle modification”.
Did you find out where you were going wrong? If you work towards fixing these mistakes, you will certainty see the results and reach your weight loss goal in the healthiest way.
Ultimately, it is not only about losing weight, keeping it off is a challenge which can be effectively dealt with if all the above is understood and adhered to.