If you are struggling to shed those excess pounds, maybe these simple errors in your weight loss plan are preventing you from hitting your goals.
Don’t Make it Even Harder!
Let’s face it…losing weight is a real struggle. We all know what to do in theory, and it sounds so simple. All we have to do is cut our calorie intake and up our calorie burn rate. Then those unwanted pounds should just fall away. But of course, it’s not that easy.
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We’ve all been there. You start a new health and fitness regime with great enthusiasm. This time, you are really going to stick to it and change the way you look, and the way you feel about yourself. But a few weeks later, you step on the weighing scales and find that somehow the needle has got stuck. Despite all your hard work, you’ve lost next to nothing. Heck, perhaps you have even put weight on…how depressing!
When that happens, it’s tempting to cheer yourself up by raiding the fridge and trashing your diet plan. You are so frustrated that you give up on your health and fitness goals. After all, if you do all the right things and it still doesn’t work, what’s the point?
But hey, hold on…don’t tuck into the chocolate cake just yet. The chances are you probably doing most things right, but maybe you are making one of many simple mistakes that can really crash your weight loss plan. Fix the issue, and you will be on the road to a slimmer, sexier you in no time.
So let’s look at the possible problems that may be holding you back…
Blaming Your Genetics
So you think have genes that predispose you to being fat, huh? Oh boy, a lot of people use this as an excuse to give up early! But when you look at the evidence, it just doesn’t stack up.
If you are struggling to lose weight, it almost certainly isn’t your parents’ fault. For sure, some people are lucky enough to be born with a fast metabolism, so they burn more calories naturally throughout the day. That makes it easier for them to keep in shape.
However, it is unlikely that you have been born with some genetic malfunction that slows your metabolism down so much that you can’t lose weight. The reason you are struggling to lose weight is because you are either eating too much, or not exercising enough. No matter how fast or slow your metabolism is, you can always lose weight by running a calorie deficit. If you consumer fewer calories than you burn each day, you WILL lose weight…it’s a mathematical certainty.
If many of your relatives are overweight, that is not an indication of a genetic problem in the family. It is much more likely to indicate that bad diet and exercise habits are passed from generation to generation. So don’t fool yourself – if you want to lose weight, you can!
Expecting Too Much Too Soon
This, too, is an incredibly common problem. We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm. We want to start a diet and exercise plan today, and see results within a week. So when you step on the scales after a week and nothing much has changed, it’s disappointing.
But the truth is that weight loss is a long-term game and results are gradual. There is no point in thinking about getting results in days, or even in weeks. You are much more likely to stick to your plan – and thereby reach your goals – if you monitor your progress on a month by month basis. Even a modest weight loss each month will soon add up to a massive change in your body composition. So be prepared to stick with this for the long term.
Expecting a Consistent Decline
This is another huge deal breaker that causes many people to fall off the wagon, even though there were actually well on track for success. People who are sticking to their diet and exercise plan expect to see their weight drop consistently, day by day. So if they get on the scales and their weight has gone up instead of down, they go into panic mode…
‘How is this possible…it’s not fair. I’m eating like a nun and exercising like crazy. Why is my weight going up? This is all such a stupid waste of effort. I might as well eat chocolate…’
Wait a minute…put that bar of Hershey’s down! The fact is that it’s perfectly normal for your weight to fluctuate throughout the week. There are many factors apart from body fat which impact your weight. These include:
- Water retention
- Whether you have recently eaten
- Whether you need to go to the bathroom
- Your menstrual cycle
These factors naturally cause your weight to rise and fall over a 24-hour period, regardless of whether you are burning fat or not. Drink a large glass of water and your weight will go up, even though water contains zero calories. Go to the bathroom a few hours later to dispose of that fluid, and your weight will go down. Neither of these natural fluctuations have anything to do with fat loss or gain. So don’t compare your weight today with your weight yesterday – compare it with your weight last month, and the month before that.
A good way to visualize this is to compare losing weight to investing in the stock market. A stock that is descending in price will not drop at a steady rate – there will be many little rises and falls along the way.
Investors call this a ‘descending channel.’ This is exactly what you should expect in your own weight loss journey: a descending channel where your weight bounces around, but overall trends downwards month by month.
Looking for Miracle Cures
We’ve all seen headlines like this:
‘Lose 20 Pounds of Belly Fat in 24 Hours’
Oh, if only! Despite all the attempts of the FDA to regulate the weight-loss market, there are still many scams promising unrealistic results. Sadly, there are tens of thousands of desperate people who fall for the latest ‘miracle cure,’ hoping against hope that this new product or diet fad will be the one that works.
Let’s be brutally honest; there are no miracle cures. The only way to lose fat successfully is to stick to a sensible diet and exercise plan. Yes, there are supplements that can help, but don’t expect overnight results…they just ain’t gonna happen!
Failing to Allow for Muscle Growth
This mistake applies to people who exercise vigorously, especially to those who work out regularly with weights. It is also more likely to be an issue for men than women, because higher testosterone results in males leads to faster muscle growth.
Of course, exercise is a very good thing. I am certainly not suggesting you need to back off on your weight training. Far from it! But it is important to remember that working out regularly will result in bigger muscles. Because muscle weighs more than fat, this has a significant effect when you weigh yourself.
You might weigh in and be disappointed that all your hard work has resulted in zero weight loss. But the reality may well be that you actually have lost fat…but you have also gained muscle. If that’s the case, don’t be sad if the scales don’t move – be happy! If you keep doing what you are doing, you will up end with a nicely-toned, slim body. Well done!
Going Back to Your Previous Lifestyle
This is perhaps the biggest mistake of all – certainly it is the one that causes most frustration, and results in the endless yo-yo dieting so many of us experience.
The problem is partly created by all the diet plans we see on the market. They all promise us that we can shed the excess pounds within a few weeks, then resume our usual lifestyle and stay at this new weight forever. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. It was your old lifestyle that got you into this mess in the first place. Reverting to it is guaranteed to send you on a journey back to where you started.
So don’t think about dieting for a few weeks, or even a few months. You have to think about permanently changing your lifestyle. You can’t starve yourself through sheer willpower and then go back to your bad old ways. Instead, you have to find a new and better lifestyle that you are comfortable with, and make this the way you live, year in year out.
For me, the solution was to cut out 90% of processed food, bread, potatoes, pasta and rice. Working out every weekday when I finished work became a habit. I found that I loved the taste of the fresh fruit and vegetable based meals I was eating. I looked forward to my daily workout because it took me one step closer to my goals. And I absolutely loved standing on the scales on the first of the month and seeing how much I had achieved. And I still do!
Turn Failure into Success
I know what it feels like to fail at yet another weight-loss regime. I understand the disappointment and frustration because I have felt it myself many times. But by working to correct the mistakes in my expectations, I transformed my results.
Which of the above mistakes are you making? Just one of these errors will be enough to torpedo your results. If you are making several of these mistakes, you are dooming yourself to failure. So fix the problems today, and set yourself on the road to weight-loss success.
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