Part of an overall healthy lifestyle is maintaining an appropriate body composition. When attempting to decrease body fat percentages, many people make some common mistakes that greatly hinder success in achieving effective weight loss:
- Not reading and understanding food labels: In order to properly engage a weight loss program, you need to be aware of the contents of all food consumed. Many processed foods have great variability in calorie, sugar, and fat content. Also note that when you are reading food labels, take extra attention to the serving size listed as these food items may appear to be low in calories, but the serving size may be small and unrealistic.
- Being fooled by food marketing terms: Choosing food products because they are labeled as low fat may be misleading. Often low fat products contain higher levels of simple sugars and/or sodium. Again, read the food labels carefully.
- Going alone: Regardless of what goals you have in life, you will be far more successful when you surround yourself by people who inspire and support you. Get your family and friends involved on your path to wellness. Seek out support (personal trainer, nutritionist, counseling, support groups).
- Calorie Restriction: In order to effectively increase your lean body mass percentage, you need to add adequate exercise to your nutrition program. Without proper levels of food, your muscles will be depleted of necessary energy. Without this exercise, your ability to exercise and burn off fat calories will be highly diminished. Instead of thinking calorie restriction, focus on changing to nutrient dense foods packed with clean energy. Severe dieting should always be avoided as dieting can generate adverse hormonal reactions that can lead to increased retention of fat stores.
- Consuming Energy Drinks During Exercise: When you exercise, you typically have 90 minutes of energy stores in the muscles, blood stream and liver. Most people do not exercise longer than 90 minutes and at such high performance levels to justify the need for energy drinks. Consuming energy drinks during moderate length workouts keeps blood glucose levels up, thus preventing the body from tapping into fat stores. Drink room temperature water instead to stay hydrated.
- Guessing what to do and following fads: Seek out qualified advice and guidance in your weight loss program. Get a personal trainer to properly assess your needs and establish a SMART fitness routine (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). Also receive qualified guidance from a sports dietician. With this framework, you can empower your program with knowledge and awareness. Through proper planning, you also move to a level of greater ownership and responsibility.
Not changing the environment and patterns that led to weight gain: Without changing or removing yourself from the conditions that led to your weight gain, losing weight will be an uphill battle. Be bold and decisive by truthfully acknowledging who, what, where and how your current lifestyle factors contribute(d) to your weight gain. Make an honest list of what you feel has be the downfall to maintaining your proper body composition and then work diligently to change these lifestyle elements. For example:
- Do you tend to eat while watching TV at night? Replace watching television with a light physical activity, go for regular evening walks, go to an evening yoga class etc.
- Do you tend to overeat? Use smaller measuring devices when preparing food. Use smaller dishes to eat from. Prepackage your meals in advance and stick to this nutrition routine.
- Do you tend to purchase high calorie, low nutrient groceries? Shop alone (do not bring children to the grocery store). Eat a healthy meal before shopping for groceries to reduce cravings and temptations. If you lack discipline when shopping, subscribe to a grocery service that will deliver only high nutrient foods.
- Do you find yourself too inactive? Be inventive with increasing physical activity. Take the stairs as much as possible. Go for walks during lunch breaks. Do squats, lunges, sit-ups, and other quick muscle conditioning exercises during TV commercial breaks. Get a pedometer to track your daily physical activity levels and work towards slowly increasing your daily pedometer count. You will surprised how little changes and additions to your lifestyle can greatly increase your daily caloric expenditure.
- Do you feel constant stress? Constant states of stress lead to hormonal imbalances which often blocks the bodys ability to shed body fat. Explore daily methods of relaxing and resting. Learn to say no and be willing to focus on yourself. Appreciate what is in the moment and discover how things and events of the past and future have little relevance to emotions you should be experiencing right now.
Entering a weight loss program is a major undertaking that requires proper goal setting and knowledge. Start off right with the proper education and support systems.
Instead of just working hard, be wise and informed so your weight loss goals flow forward with greater ease.