Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Tips: 5 Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Image: sundayhill /

1. Not eating enough
Less is not always more when it comes to food intake. If you eat too little, your body will hold on tightly to what you are giving it and you won't shed a pound.  In order to know if you're eating too little (or too much), logging what you eat it is paramount.  There are free websites available to anyone who registers (DailySpark or Livestrong) and there are paid websites like Calorie King.  All of these sites help you set a target and allow to you see if you are making it.

2. Only doing cardio
Without a doubt, cardio is great for burning calories and getting your heart in shape.
However, you're not just a heart in a body. Once you've reached the point where your body stops growing, it will start to slowly deteriorate. It doesn't have to be that way though. By simply adding a regular resistance training program, in addition to your cardio, you can maintain a healthy metabolism and strong bones.

3. Not getting enough sleep
Your body hates not getting enough sleep as much as you do. Lack of sleep makes your hunger hormone levels go wacky, and actually decreases the level of the hormone that tells your brain you are full.  The average American adult only gets about 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknight and 7.5 on the weekends, falling short of the recommended 8 hours.  (source)

4. Setting unreasonable goals
For the average American, setting a goal to lose 20lbs in one month is unreasonable.  You simply cannot safely create that kind of caloric deficit in that short a period of time.  Instant gratification does not exist in a healthy weight loss journey. It's not likely that you gained 20lbs in a month, why would you expect to lose it then?  Stick with the recommended 1-2lbs a week, and set a smarter (see: Don't set resolutions this New Year, set goals!) goal.

5. Feeling guilty about your food intake
Overate? Quit guilt tripping yourself and move on, it's doing you more harm than good. Excessive guilt over eating choices is indicative of a dieting mindset, and you may likely be depriving yourself of something you enjoy.  There are no bad foods or good foods, food is just food. There are however, bad portion sizes and good portion sizes.  Learning how to incorporate the things you love, be it cheesecake or chocolate, is an important step in learning how to manage your weight for a lifetime.