Losing weight is a painful process. If only we could lose weight as easily as we put it on, but unfortunately that’s just wishful thinking. You have to make time to exercise often and you might not be able to enjoy your favourite foods because you need to watch your diet.
However, even after making time to exercise daily and cutting out unhealthy foods from your diet, you might not be seeing the results you expected. No, you’re not crazy — but you might be hindering your own progress through your own beliefs and actions. Maybe when you search for help online, some of the articles you read might contain advice and routines that are outdated and thus leads to ineffective techniques to burn your fat away. Or maybe the information you find is just plain wrong.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes people tend to make when trying to lose weight, so if you’ve been trying your best with not much progress, you might want to pay more attention.
Too Focused On The Numbers
When we place too much emphasis on our weight, or more specifically, the number on the weighing scale, it’s easy to feel like you’re not losing weight fast enough no matter what you do. But what you need to realize is there is more to weight than just numbers.
More often than not, aside from getting healthier, the goal of weight loss is not about the actual weight, but body mass. Many of us workout because we want to be fitter and look good — we don’t want to be chubby or have spare tyre bellies, we want to have trim stomachs and slim body profiles.
The numbers on your weighing scale do not directly relate to your body mass or the amount of fat you have. In fact, that number changes according to a few different factors that you might not even realize. For one, the food you consume can add to that weight as it sits in your stomach and awaits digestion, and this can make your weight fluctuate throughout the day. If you have been working out, your body muscles could have developed and that too adds weight — so even if you’ve been burning fat, your stronger muscles are adding to the number on the scale.
A more accurate way to measure fat loss is to use a tape measure around your waist. Taking growth photos every few weeks is also another way to see if you have made progress.
Inefficient Calorie Consumption
To lose weight, you will need to burn more calories than you consume in a day — this is known as a calorie deficit. For years, people have believed that eating less and more exercise can help in weight loss, and while that may be true, in some cases the opposite is more likely.
When you opt for low-calorie diets, your body may not be getting enough calories to feed your muscles and cells. This can result in muscle loss, and more importantly, it can decrease your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories while resting. A lower metabolic rate means your body will be less efficient at burning calories after you eat, which could lead to weight gain.
Not Tracking Your Meals
One way to track your calorie count is to keep a food journal, though it can be a lot more useful than just a simple calorie counter. Keeping track of what you eat can help you remember what you’ve eaten, and when you see what you’ve eaten, it can help you to plan your next meals.
For example, we all know eating healthy and nutritious food is a good strategy for weight loss. What you don’t know, or don’t see outrightly, are the number of nutrients you’re consuming per meal. Your body needs more protein and fibre to build muscle and keep you full respectively, and less fat and carbohydrates to keep calories away. When you start writing down what you’ve eaten, it is easier to visualize and see what nutrients your meals have been providing your body — if you’ve been eating too many carbs and not enough fibre, you will see and realize you need to lower your carb intake and choose a more fibrous meal for later.
Neglecting Weight Training
A common misconception is that one should solely focus on cardiovascular workouts — exercises that get your heart rate up — if you want to burn fat. While that may be true, it is to a certain extent.
Cardio workouts like running, swimming, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are indeed great at burning fat and aiding in weight loss, but only focusing on these type of physical activities can severely limit your true fat-burning potential.
Studies have shown that incorporating weights into your workout routine can not only help you to gain muscle but can also greatly boost your metabolic rate, which only improves your overall body composition and encourages fat loss.
If you want to effectively burn fat with weight training, use light to medium weights, and take shorter rest breaks in between sets. This way, your heart rate stays higher up and thus helps to burn fat quicker.