Slimming down is challenging. I have made ALL of these mistakes in my life while on the road to results. Are you practicing any of these?
1. Going Full Throttle
Most of us “go hard or go home” when it comes to investing energy into a new plan. This mentality sets most of us up for failure, and is especially not a good tactic when it comes to exercising. If you are spending 90 minutes or more in the gym almost every day of the week, it’s too much. You’re increasing your risk of burn-out, setting the stage for a plateau, and wasting time. No one needs to exercise that much for results unless you are an endurance athlete training for a performance event.
Do 30-45 minutes of strength training 2-4 days per week. Do interval training 1-2 days a week for 10-20 minutes. Go for a walk several days per week. Rest 1-3 days per week.
What I do:
2-3 full body strength training workouts per week for about 25-45 minutes; ~300 burpees a week as my interval training (split up to ~4 days); 3-4 one-hour moderately paced walks per week
2. Trying to do Everything Perfectly
This approach is automatic for many people, so do not feel bad if you are perfectionistic. It’s because we are not familiar with gradual change, and it’s also because we think that if we are not perfect, we won’t get results.
The good thing is there IS room for making mistakes. The thing that you may not want to hear is that there is only a little room for making mistakes if you want to see results. Behaviors must be consistent.
For example, if you are trying to drink enough water, exercise every day, not eat any sweets, not drink any alcohol, make home-cooked meals every day, eat a ton of veggies, etc, you are planning to fail. If most of these behaviors are not already engrained in your routine, you aren’t going to practice every new healthy behavior 100% of the time from the get-go.
Pick one or two new habits and practice them consistently for several weeks, or until you are confident enough to add another new habit.
What I do:
When I fall off-track, I focus on just two main habits. Now, there are about 10 success guidelines that I practice almost all the time to maintain the results I’ve achieved over the years. If I have a horrible weekend (or week, or month), I immediately re-focus on drinking enough water and getting adequate lean protein at every meal. I do this to reset my brain and body for a few days, and then I focus on a couple more habits.
3. Splurging Too Often
If you don’t fall into the “trying to do everything perfectly” category, you likely fall into this category. Moderation, right? Well, anyone who has made a significant improvement with their body knows that you must be VERY consistent while allowing a treat once in a while. Moderation is for maintenance. Consistency is for results.
Have something that’s not on your “healthy food plan” (however you define it) about 3-4 times per week. Make sure it is small.
What I do:
I define a treat as anything with added sugar; alcohol; anything high-carb/low-fiber(white-flour based, sweets, etc); any meal that I eat past 80% full; and anything fried. My goal is to have any of these things less than 4 times per week.
4. Drinking Alcohol for Your Splurges
Getting tired of belly fat not going anywhere, despite exercise? Give up the alcohol. Seriously. The liver breaks down alcohol. The liver also breaks down fat. The liver cannot breakdown as much of your body fat if it is processing alcohol. Also, drinking alcohol increases the likelihood that you’ll a) drink more, b) eat unhealthy food with it, c) miss out on nutrients because you’re replacing calories with alcohol. I could give you a dozen more reasons, but you get the point.
I’ve seen many women refuse to give up their wine. They do not see the results they expect. They continue to work out hard and follow a clean, nutritious meal plan, all while refusing to sacrifice the alcohol. It’s temporary! You can add a little back in after you get your results. If you absolutely refuse to make a temporary sacrifice, then I recommend one glass of wine or one serving of straight booze (like vodka or whiskey) no more than three times a week. Don’t expect to see significant results, though.
What I do:
I gave up alcohol for the first 12 weeks of this year, and again several times throughout this year for 4 to 8 consecutive weeks. It made an incredible difference, especially considering I was doing everything else consistently. My belly fat finally decreased significantly! I busted through my plateau.
5. Eating a Low-Fat Diet
Fat does not make us fat. Not necessarily. Extra calories put pounds on, and these extra calories often come from refined grains and alcohol. Some fats are helpful! Actually, omega-3 fats HELP us burn fat. These fats are found in fatty fish and accelerate lipid (fat) metabolism in the body. This is one of the many benefits to getting your omega-3 fats. Also, eating enough fat helps the body to feel satiated. Have you tried to go on a low-carb diet, while also decreasing your fat intake? Guess what happens? You end up going overboard with carbs or fat eventually. Or if you have amazing self-control, you’ll feel constantly deprived and/or lethargic.
Make sure most of your meals and snacks have healthy fat. You will feel satiated, possibly eat a smaller quantity of food, and not be hungry again for hours.
What I do:
I am conscientious about eating healthy fat every time I eat. My options include nuts, nut butters, seeds, oils, avocados, low-fat or full-fat plain dairy, oil-based salad dressings, a little bit of cheese, etc.
Here are the next 5 mistakes.