Losing weight can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most frustrating. While there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss, there are some ways you can maximize your results. Here are the 10 most common weight loss mistakes people make and how to avoid them.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is the way your body repairs itself and gears up for the next day. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are derailing your weight loss efforts because you are likely to make poor food choices. If you wake up feeling tired, you are more likely to grab the largest iced coffee you can find or eat a sugary donut for energy. According to recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who were short on rest chose high-calorie snacks and engaged in midnight snacking more often. Eventually, those calories add up and you gain weight. So, just how much sleep do you need to avoid this pitfall? Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. You must learn to listen to your body when it comes to sleep. If you need 10 hours to be rested, then make time to get it.
While exercise is certainly an important part of the weight loss equation, you must be smart about your workout routine. Instead of going all out and spending 6 days a week in the gym, pace yourself so you don’t experience burnout. Start out slowly with a workout that combines strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Once you have a month or so behind you, increase your time in gym and amp up the intensity. This will keep you from getting burned out too quickly. It will also keep you from suffering overuse injuries. These injuries occur when you perform repetitive movements multiple times a week, placing stress on your joints.
Consuming Too Few Calories
Counting calories is always a factor in losing weight. If you eat more calories than you burn off during the day, you will gain weight. However, it is possible to slash calories too low as well. When you eat too few calories, your body actually goes into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism to save energy. In addition, you need an adequate caloric intake to fuel your workouts. Doctors recommend women eating no fewer calories than 1,200 a day. Men should stay above 1,800.
Eating Too Many Processed Foods
We live in a time where everyone is looking for the fastest way to fuel up for the day. In the morning, many people grab an energy or granola bar and pop in a low fat microwave meal at lunchtime. After the gym, a premade protein shake fills the gap before dinner. While this may be the fastest way to eat, it certainly isn’t the healthiest. Convenience foods are processed, which means they contain more sodium, sugar and artificial coloring than natural foods. If your weight loss efforts have stalled, take a hard look at what you are eating on a daily basis. Try substituting processed foods with healthy whole foods such as wholewheat pasta, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It may take longer to prepare these foods, but your body will be more nourished and satisfied eating this way. This means you are less likely to snack between meals and late at night. You will also reduce your sugar and salt intake, as well.
Not Tracking What You Eat
Losing weight is a conscious decision, which means you must monitor what you are eating and when to be successful. Keeping track of what you eat is an important tool that can help you reach your goals faster. When you log your food intake after every meal, you have the information you need to control your diet for the rest of the day. You will also be less likely to eat a handful of chips here and there if you have to take the time to log it. There are a variety of free food diaries available online today, so there is no reason not to use them.