In today’s post, I wanted to share with you the common mistakes most people make while trying to lose weight. In fact, the very term “losing weight” is fairly flawed since losing weight and getting fitter may not go hand in hand.
To begin with, let’s talk a bit about the muscle versus fat myths. MUSCLE IS NOT HEAVIER THAN FAT. IT IS SIMPLER DENSER THAN FAT. What this means is that if you’ve been working out consistently along with training hard but don’t see a difference on the scale, it is because along with losing fat, you are gaining muscle. You will see a huge physical change in terms of looking more tone, losing inches but on the weighing scale, your kilos wouldn’t dramatically drop. In fact, chances are you may even gain a couple of kilos due to “muscle gain”.Hence, DITCH THE WEIGHING SCALE. Get your fat percentage and muscle percentage calculated. It’s worth the effort since you would actually get a true idea of the internal stuff going in your system. If you can’t, just measure your self using an inch tape once a month, if you must.
NOTE: I am not a fitness expert/dietian/trainer/fitness coach or anything on those lines. Everything I am talking about in this post is based on a few years of research and tons of reading. I have some personal experience too and would share my fitness journey with you all in a future post, but just for giving you an idea, I lost approximately 20 kilos in past (I know I just said not to count kilos, but this is to give you a rough idea about my fitness journey).
Now, that we have that out of the day, here are a list of things you are doing wrong and what you can do to fix them.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WRONG?
1. You’re only doing Cardio
This sad, sad habit is seen more popularly amongst girls who want to “lose weight” without bulking up. Doing cardio is great! But it doesn’t make any sense if you’re not supporting with it strength training. Yes, you can throw your success stories to me about losing 10000 kilos by only running everyday, but I am not too sure if that’s the best way to keep you FIT. You need muscle and that is formed via strength training. The more lean muscle mass you have, the less fat you will have. The reason for this is that muscle actually burns fat. Muscle helps the body burn calories for hours after a workout. Read more about this here.
2. You don’t eat Carbs and Fats
You have completely eliminated full food groups from your diet- especially carbs. This is such a bad idea. A no carb diet is an absolute passé. Let’s break it down a bit- There are good carbs and bad carbs; good fats and bad fats. Good fats include monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oils, peanuts and other nuts, peanut butter, and avocados. They in fact help in weight loss as compared to bad fats which are saturated fats such as butter, donuts or fried foods. Similarly, good carbs or complex carbs are really important for a diet: such as brown rice, quinoa etc. Besides being packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, good carbs take longer to digest and work really well to aid in your fitness journey.
3. You Skip Meals- Especially Breakfast
A lot of people may have told you this and it’s for a good reason. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it should just not be skipped. Let me simplify why. A car has an engine that needs fuel to kick start. Similary, the body needs fuel, ie energy to kickstart its metabolism. This will only happen if you give your body a well balanced meal in the morning when its waiting for the fuel to burn down the fats. When it comes to the other meals in the day; instead of having 2-3 monstrous sized meals, have 6 small healthy meals. Engage in portion control where throughout the day you eat at a gap of about 2 hours between each meal. This will ensure you metabolic rate is high throughout the day. When I say you should be eating 6 small meals, I dont mean that you should have a burger as one meal, sadwiches as another, a heavy lunch as the third and so on. A handful of almonds may be one meal or even an apple with a cup of green tea may be another meal between your main ” lunch’/ “dinner”
4. You’re on a “Diet”
This is one of my biggest pet peeves- fad diets or the “YO-YO” weight lifestyle. Let me spell it out for you- DIETS DO NOT WORK. The worst ones are that put you on liquids only, no sugars, no fats, no carbs, etc etc. As I said earlier, you just cannot cut out complete food groups from your body. Cutting off certain food groups may suddenly jolt your body and this so called detox will work for a month where youll lose a whopping ridicilous 10 kilos- but that’s honestly the worst thing you can do to your body. Even if you lose weight using any diet, no matter what it is, how long will you be on it for? 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? Till your contract with your dietician lasts? What happens then? Youll be back to eating normal human food even something as humble as dal and roti will make you put on weight. That’s cause your body is in shock and was on starvation mode for so long that it’s literally waiting for any normal food that it could get. What you need to opt for is a lifestyle change. Replace bad fats with healtheir fats. Bad carbs with healthier carbs. Skip the soda, have natural sugars and excrise daily. The only way for weight to not bounce up and down is if you adopt a different healthier and cleaner lifestyle rather than taking on a short term diet.
5. You don’t have any cheat meals and instead Binge when you go out
This is as obvious as the title. If you’re on a diet and you don’t have any cheat days, chances are that when you go out, you go absolutely crazy. When I say it’s important to have cheat meals once in a while, I mean, eat a little piece of cake that makes you happy. Or a well made burger. Just cause it’s a cheat meal doesn’t mean that you completely forget the idea of portion control. Also, A CHEAT MEAL IS NOT A CHEAT DAY. Just cause you didn’t eat clean for one meal does not mean that you should eat badly through the day!
6. You don’t sleep enough
If you probably don’t sleep enough, atleast 6-8 hours a day, most likely your body is always in an exhausted zone. Sleeping has a powerful effect on your metabolism. In fact, lack of sleep can also give signals to your brain of false hunger! Read more about this here.
I hope these little facts help you in any way possible! I am definitely not at my fittest state but I am on the journey and that’s what’s important. If you want to get fit, have a goal but don’t break your self over it. Your goals should be challenging yet achievable and practical in such a way that you don’t bounce back!