Written by Rev Nutritionist: Angela Biondo
Montclair State University, Nutrition and Food Science, Applied Nutrition
Figuring out the right way to lose weight can be stressful because there is so much controversy when it comes to the topic of nutrition. Remember, you want this to be something that will be sustainable and realistic. Are these common mistakes putting a halt to your progress or making you feel discouraged?
Common Mistakes Made During A Weight Loss/Fat Loss Journey:
Weighing yourself everyday. I can not stress this enough. The number on the scale will never tell the whole story! There are many logical explanations as to why weight fluctuates. The number on the scale is an incomplete number, and it isn’t going to tell you where the weight is coming from. Is it water weight? Is it the meal you just ate? Are your muscles developing? Do you need to go to the bathroom? There are many possibilities! The shift in body composition is going to be what makes the biggest difference and will be the most sustainable. If anything, weighing yourself constantly could become discouraging. If you’re feeling great, energy is increasing and your clothes are fitting better, the odds are that you are making good progress. Trust that over the number on the scale!
Having an all or nothing mindset. It is important to realize and accept that weight loss will never be a linear process. There are going to be weeks where you feel that you might not have done your best or where there were things that were out of your control and that’s okay! It’s life, there are always going to be things that come up, but it’s important to plan for that and not let it become discouraging. Just because you had a couple days where you weren’t perfect does not mean that your progress is ruined or that you have to start over, just keep going!
Thinking that you can’t see progress because you missed a few days at the gym. Having to miss a few workouts might be out of your control, but that doesn’t mean your nutrition has to be! This also goes along with the "all or nothing" mindset, thinking that since you missed the gym you might as well just eat anything. Getting your nutrition in check and eating in an appropriate caloric deficit is how you will drop body fat. Now, I’m not saying to not exercise, because that is highly recommended and is important, but if it is not something that is possible to do that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to drop body fat.
Expecting to see results right away. Losing fat takes time and everyone’s bodies are unique. It is important to be patient and trust the process to find what works for you and your body. Do not compare yourself to anyone else! Also, it is not realistic nor sustainable to lose 10 pounds in a week. Your short term goal might be to lose weight, but isn’t the long term goal to keep it off and feel good? This is not something that should be rushed and there are many factors that come into play.
Focusing solely on cardio at the gym. Make the most out of all your workouts. A combination of both strength training and cardio will be beneficial for fat loss. You might feel that you are burning more calories during a cardio workout but your body does continue to burn after weight training sessions as your muscles repair and recover. Strength training is also essential for building muscle/preserving muscle mass.
Thinking the only way to lose weight is through restriction. It is all about balance and moderation. Building a healthy relationship with food during your journey is going to be important for many reasons. It is a lot easier to fall off a plan that is super restrictive and it is also not realistic long term. Not being satiated throughout the day and constantly restricting is what will cause a binge to occur. This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix!
Not tracking your food. It is great if you feel that you eat a nutritious diet and are eating all the right types of foods, but you might be missing vital nutrients. You might be undereating calories or undereating macronutrients, such as protein. You could also be eating too much, even if the foods that you are eating are labeled "healthy", they do still have a caloric value or energy value and need to be accounted for. You’re not going to know how much you are actually consuming until you plug it in to your food tracker.
Not drinking enough water. Drinking water helps increase lipolysis which is the body's process of breaking down fats to make them absorbable and put them to use. Dehydration can decrease this and in result make the process slower. Drinking enough water alone will not cause fat loss but does aid in the process and is important.
Not consuming enough protein. Protein is essential for fat loss and aids in fat burning while also preserving lean muscle mass. It is important to get in enough protein while in a caloric deficit to help keep you feeling full and satiated throughout the day.
Trying to figure it out on your own. Relying on what Google or social media says is not the right choice. You can never believe everything you read online and there will always be conflicting answers. If you have questions, reach out to your Nutritionist! We are a team, and we want to see you reach your goals and are here to help!
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