New Yearâ€™s has come and gone and with it countless resolutions that â€œthis year is the year that I will get in shape!â€
Unfortunately, many of those resolutions are now broken two weeks into the new year. And itâ€™s not hard to see why.
Weight loss can seem like itâ€™s a black box, too complicated for normal people to figure out. You just have to buy this new crash diet or an expensive gym membership and everything will be solved.
The problem is that everything usually isnâ€™t solved. As you fail to lose the weight you want and keep it off, it gets harder and harder to keep trying, especially with a busy schedule.
[box type=”important”]Even if youâ€™re struggling right now, weight loss isnâ€™t as hard as it might seem. This list of four common weight loss mistakes can be changed today quickly and easily. Fixing them will help you finally develop the healthy lifestyle that you need to lose weight and keep it off.[/box]
Mistake #1: Not Eating Natural Foods
Too many diets focus on calories in vs. calories out. Unfortunately, your body doesnâ€™t work this easily.
A prolonged calorie deficit causes your metabolism to slow. This is a survival instinct to prevent you from losing weight in times of famine. When you do lose weight, youâ€™ll be losing both fat and muscle. As youâ€™ll see later, this further drops your metabolism.
And because youâ€™re only focusing on your calorie count, you can eat as many TV dinners as you want under a certain calorie limit.
[box type=”note”]TV Dinners and other processed foods contain refined flour, sugar and hydrogenated oils that convert to sugar in your bloodstream. This spikes your glucose levels and causes your body to store more fat.[/box]
Couple this with the fact diets are restrictive and make you feel guilty about everything youâ€™re eating and you have a recipe for frustration and weight gain!
Ditch the diets and quit counting calories religiously. Itâ€™s important, but not as important as supplying your body with the right foods.
[box type=”note”]When you go to the grocery store, only buy foods as close to their natural form as you can. Youâ€™ll get more nutrients into your body and wonâ€™t have to feel bad about eating when you do. Itâ€™s also a diet change that you can stick to for the rest of your life, unlike popular fad and crash diets.[/box]
Mistake #2: Running on the Treadmill for Hours
Running on a treadmill is one of the worst ways to lose weight.
Youâ€™d never guess it from the proliferation of aerobic equipment in todayâ€™s gyms, but theyâ€™re ineffective and about as much fun as getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson.
But you burned so many calories running right?
The amount of calories your burned running is your TOTAL amount of calories burned on the treadmill. This includes the baseline amount that you would have burned lying on the couch watching reruns of Arrested Development.
The exact math is different for everyone, but running only burns about half the amount of calories you think it does.
To make matter worse, once youâ€™re done running, your metabolism returns to normal, so you donâ€™t burn any more calories. But the aerobic activity does trigger your body to eat more, meaning the small amount of calories you burned are probably ingested in food.
End result? Almost no weight loss for an hour of mind numbing jogging. Who wants to do THAT every day? Not me.
Mistake #3: Not Focusing on Building Muscle
[box type=”important”]Building muscle is the best and quickest way that you can lose fat.[/box]
But before we go any further, I donâ€™t want to hear it ladies. Lifting a few weights is not going to make you look like the She-Hulk. If that were the case, every guy in the gym would have a superman chest and arms so big they could be used as baseball bats. And a small amount of muscle replacing fat looks better than not having it there. Donâ€™t believe me? Google around for some before and after pictures and come back.
Now, one pound of muscle burns an average of 75 calories a day, even if youâ€™re just sitting around drinking a beer. Just three extra pounds of muscle on your body burns enough calories to get rid of one pound of fat a month. Without you even having to do anything.
If that didnâ€™t perk you up, maybe this will. Studies have shown that after weight training your metabolism stays elevated for up to 48 hours. Every time you lift weights, you body burns extra calories for the next TWO DAYS.
Take that treadmill.
Mistake #4: Training For Too Long
Now that weâ€™re trying to build muscle, you have to be aware of the next big mistake people make â€“ training too often.
Your muscles only rebuild when youâ€™re resting, so for the biggest gains from your weightlifting you need to make sure that you are giving them enough time to recover and rebuild. Your body is still also burning extra calories for two days after weightlifting anyways, remember?
In addition to mental burnout, training for more than 60 minutes at a time increases the amount of cortisol and free radicals in your bloodstream. This causes your muscles to break down and makes your recovery period longer.
[box type=”note”]For the majority of people, you should ideally workout 3-4 times a week for no more than 45-60 minutes. Itâ€™s healthier, more efficient, avoids burnout, and lets you schedule around your busy day.[/box]
What To Do Next
Even just by fixing these four mistakes, you know more about losing weight and keeping it off than the majority of the people in your gym. Here are the major takeaways you should start incorporating into your daily schedule.
- Only buy and eat fresh, whole foods. Avoid anything with packaging if you can. The more raw foods you eat, the healthier you will be and the more weight you will lose.
- Stop counting calories. It makes you feel guilty about eating, so youâ€™re more likely to break the diet. And itâ€™s not nearly as important as the types of food you eat.
- Donâ€™t put all your hope on the treadmill. Running is a good workout occasionally, but itâ€™s a terrible way to lose weight. And itâ€™s about as much fun as banging your head against the wall.
- Start lifting weights. Strength training and building muscle the most effective way to lose fat and keep it off.
- Make your workouts short, enjoyable, and fun. And donâ€™t forget to give yourself enough time to rest.
[box type=”important”]Stop following the popular advice that leaves you frustrated and gaining weight. Take these steps now and start building the body of your dreams today.[/box]