Are you sabotaging yourself? Most likely you are. Here are 5 common ways you may be sabotaging your weight loss:
Extreme Calorie Restrictions
Calorie restriction is the universal method of losing weight, but if you go too far, you may actually gain weight. Typically, a 300-500 calorie deficit is a healthy number to aim for. Unfortunately, more is not always better. Common issues that arise from regularly eating fewer calories are:
- It can lower your metabolism because your body is trying to remain in homeostasis.
- It can cause nutrient deficiencies
- It can cause fatigue, which leads to increases in appetite.
Too Much Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is one of the favorite staples for losing weight. Aerobic exercise is any activity performed for a continuous duration of time (20-60 minutes) with the intent of keeping the heart rate elevated. Examples of aerobic exercises are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and rowing. It certainly will contribute to weight loss, but to an extent. Aerobic exercise when done to excess, increases cortisol hormone in the body, which contributes to the breakdown of muscle tissue. Less muscle means less fat loss. Also, you will not be improving your body composition and aesthetics if you are losing muscle mass. A question I am asked frequently is, how much aerobic exercise should I do? Instead of asking how much, ask what type? High intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best form of exercise to help you lose weight. Also, you will only need to do this type of exercise 2-3 times per week to obtain the benefits. High intensity interval training involves any exercise where you work at 100 percent effort for a short duration of time followed by periods of rest. Usually sprinting for 30 seconds and walking for 1 minute and repeating that 6-10 times in considered a good High Intensity Interval Training session. How does high intensity exercise increase your metabolism? This type of exercise increases exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means your body is trying to replenish itself for an extended period of time after completing the HIIT exercise. More EPOC translates to more fat burning. Also, HIIT improves cardiovascular fitness more efficiently than a continuous hour of aerobic exercise.
Not Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep at night is a big culprit when it comes to creating obesity. Without enough rest, your metabolism will crash, and you will be experiencing increased appetite. Simply put, you’ll be consuming more calories and burning less. Sleep is crucial when it comes to permanent weight loss because our body repairs itself during sleep. If on a restricted caloric diet, not getting enough sleep will contribute to further breakdown of muscle tissue. Sleep helps to keep your metabolism primed.
Not Weight Training
Many believe that weight training will make them bulky. This is far from the truth. It is actually the opposite. Increased muscle mass, burns more calories, and improves your metabolism. When losing weight on a calorie deficit, muscle mass will be lost without weight training. In essence, you will be smaller but with the same body composition you started with. You will have the same shape and looking in the mirror will be frustrating. One pound of muscle mass also has less volume compared to one pound of fat. You may be heavier from weight training, but much smaller. I have clients that have lost 2-3 inches on the waist and hips, but did not lose a pound. Considering this, the scale is not the always best indicator of the changes happening in your body. Body composition, which is the percentage of fat and lean muscle mass, should give you a better understanding of the changes that are occurring.
Not Drinking Enough Water
As a fitness professional, I am surrounded by people that consume sports supplements to help lose weight. Most of the time these supplements are a waste of money and will not affect your metabolism as significantly as drinking adequate amounts of water. Water is the number one weight loss supplement. Consider that your muscle is about 79% water, dehydration can surely impede your metabolism. Water is an important for all body functions, so drink plenty of water to keep things working efficiently.
Weight Loss is a daunting task for many, but knowledge is power. Take a look at your habits and create a plan to break bad ones and create good ones. Do not starve yourself, remember to get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and find time to weight train to prevent yourself from losing muscle mass. Take one step at a time and you will find success.