It is the beginning of March and if you are like most of us, you have already given up on your New Year’s Resolution. Studies show that most people don’t stick to their resolutions past February. Don’t be one of them this year. If you have already given up your fitness and weight loss goals, it’s time to refocus and plan for success. Avoid the most common mistakes in your weight loss efforts and make this the year that you reach your goals! The following are the “Top 5 Fat Loss Foul Ups.”
1. “Starving” the weight off. Restricting calories too severely or skipping meals is one of the worst things that you can do. This strategy will give you immediate weight loss and gratification, but your body will adapt to this very quickly and slow down your metabolism in response. The result will be “yo-yo” dieting syndrome and a body that now burns fewer calories. Don’t skip meals and never skip breakfast. Eat a healthy breakfast within 30 minutes of awakening and eat a small meal or snack every 3-4 hours.
2. Cutting out certain “food groups”. “No carb” or “No fat” diets are not only ineffective, but they are dangerous to your health. There is no need and no benefit to completely cutting out fats or carbohydrates, as a certain amount of both are necessary to good health and even fat-burning. Instead of focusing on the things you have to eliminate, focus on eating more vegetables, more fruit and more lean proteins.
3. Focusing on weight and not bodyfat percentage. Too many people focus on the scale and what it says. The scale can only tell you how much you weigh, but not what that weight consists of. There is a huge, huge difference between being 160 lbs and 35% body fat, or 160 lbs and 16% body fat. Have your body fat level tested regularly so you can be sure that you are losing fat and not muscle and water.
4. Relying on “diet” drinks and processed foods. Don’t make the mistake of using diet sodas, fat-free potato chips and diet microwave meals as a way to lose weight. This is one of the most unhealthy things you can do and ineffective for long term weight loss. Many diet foods and drinks have dangerous chemicals and additives that are suspected of causing thyroid problems and even cancer. Stay away from processed foods and stick to wholesome natural foods and snacks like fruits, nuts and vegetables; so you can lose fat AND be healthy.
5. Neglecting resistance training. Don’t wait until you lose the weight to begin your resistance training program. Resistance training is the best way to build and maintain muscle tissue, which is the key to long term weight control and fat loss. Muscle is the furnace that burns calories in the body and is the reason why men typically have a much easier time losing weight than women. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day, even at rest. Both men and women can build muscle at any age, so don’t wait to start building muscle and start speeding up your metabolism. Start today.
Scott Baumann is the co-owner of Fitness Together in South Miami and Coconut Grove. “Where excellence in personal training meets privacy and luxury.”