“Lose some weight and get into shape.” Getting fit regularly ranks high among polls for New Year’s resolutions. We all have our reasons for wanting to lose some weight and tone those sagging areas. Most of us go into the New Year thinking we are going to make a change in ourselves for the better. We were too lazy or too busy last year, but not this year! This year we are going to get rid of those sagging underarms and that muffin-top! Preparation and persistence are vital when developing a weight loss plan; refer to this list for some common and not so common misunderstandings concerning weight loss and how to avoid them!
1) Focusing too much on decreasing fat intake
It is very easy to get caught up in the idea that losing unwanted fat is simply a matter of eating less fat. While decreasing fat intake has its place in a weight loss plan it should not be the primary motive behind losing weight. In fact, a decrease in percentage of fat intake may be unnecessary depending on current eating habits. Often, people will drastically reduce fat intake as part of a diet which leads to chronic fatigue, changes in mood and a feeling of “brain fog.” These symptoms can quickly derail any weight loss regimen and lead to frustration followed by rebound weight gain. How can you avoid this problem? Start by staying away from fad diets that emphasize no fat or low fat foods. This will decrease the chance of developing those symptoms mentioned previously and make the diet easier to maintain. Plan to eat foods with healthy fats like olive oil and fish oils. These foods promote satiety with fewer calories while also being healthier. Finally, do not be afraid to eat meals high in fat. Many healthy foods are high in fat such as salmon, shrimp, almonds and avocado; just be sure not to over indulge!
2) Constantly counting calories
While counting calories works for some individuals for the majority it can be time consuming and confusing. This can also have a negative impact on metabolism, causing it to slow, decreasing weight loss. Stay away from diets that have a caloric intake of less than 1200 a day for women and 1500 a day for men. Finally, utilize a professional who knows how to determine your recommended daily caloric intake based on your goals and design a meal plan based on that information. Overly restricting calories and trying to micro manage everything quickly becomes tedious and leads to early abandonment of the diet.
3) Hitting the gym without changing what you eat
A lot of individuals believe the answer to their weight loss woes resides solely in the gym. By just going to their local fitness center three or four times a week the weight will melt off in no time. While exercise is an important part of healthy living it is just a small piece of the weight loss puzzle. The truth is when most people start a fitness routine whether with a trainer or on their own their primary focus becomes what they are doing in the gym and not the bigger picture. For the average person not suffering from thyroid related issues or medication induced weight gain a ratio of 70 / 20 / 10 is applicable. Seventy percent of your current shape is determined by diet, twenty percent belongs to exercise and ten percent is controlled by genetics. Furthermore, when starting an exercise program appetite tends to increase; increased appetite leads to increased caloric intake. While all the exercise may feel worthwhile at the time, negligence towards diet results in slow progress and even greater frustration. This is easily avoided by simply asking a professional to help design a realistic diet or by doing some research and planning prior to starting a fitness regimen.
4) Environmental stressors and toxicity
Environmental stressors come in the form of man made products such as medication, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. These substances are toxic to the body and can impair weight loss via multiple routes. At the macroscopic level appetite, especially for foods high in carbohydrates, increases due to toxicity while metabolism is slowed. Microscopically, these toxins can affect cellular processes associated with degradation of fat cells for energy and proper digestion through the large and small intestines. Completing a mild detoxification program prior to starting a diet and exercise regimen can remove toxic elements and prime the body for weight loss.
5) Emotional and psychological needs
Easily the most important factor in any weight loss program and often the most overlooked! Why is losing weight important? This should be first question asked when starting any weight loss or fitness program. Everyone makes a New Year’s resolution to get in better shape, but if that is where the inspiration ends success is rarely achieved. Serious weight loss, sustainable weight loss must combine many elements to be successful. If the goal is to lose thirty pounds and never gain it back then the end result has to be a lifestyle different from your current. Visualize what you want to look like, how you want to eat and the amount of exercise you can sustain on a regular basis. If the second two thoughts are not significantly different then how you live your life now, you will most likely not reach your goal.