Rethink Your Approach to Weight Loss
Losing weight is hard, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are having trouble shedding pounds and keeping them off, and you’re jumping from strategy to strategy by taking weight-loss advice online, it’s time to rethink your approach to weight loss.
Let’s look at some common weight-loss strategies that could sabotage your efforts -- and help you find strategies for making healthy changes to your routine.
Trying to lose weight too fast
You might be thinking, “I want to lose weight fast!” You’re not alone. Many people feel that way. But losing weight too quickly is one of the worst things you can do because it usually motivates you to resort to unhealthy practices.
For example, you might embark on a running program and try to run your body fat off. But by doing so, you may lose muscle mass and inadvertently slow your metabolism. If you take it to the extreme, it’s almost impossible to lose any weight because the body goes into survival mode and starts holding onto every calorie as if its life depends on it.
Plus, your energy levels will plummet along with your motivation. Strength training may be a better choice. That’s because muscle burns more calories than fat anyway, and training your muscles against resistance can speed up fat loss while reducing muscle loss. You get the benefit of stronger muscles, too.
Skipping meals might seem like a quick fix for weight loss, but it can have serious consequences on your health. From sluggish energy levels to weight gain, skipping meals can do more harm than good. But how?
When you skip meals, your body goes into “starvation mode.” Your metabolism slows down and your body starts to conserve energy. This means when you finally eat, your body will store those calories as fat instead of burning them off.
Not only that, but your body also craves high-calorie, sugary foods to make up for the lack of energy it’s getting. This can lead to overeating and weight gain.
Skipping meals can also affect your energy levels. When you don’t eat enough, your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to function properly. You might feel tired, irritable, and sluggish, making it hard to focus on your work or daily tasks. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and stress levels.
Another risk of skipping meals is the impact on your blood sugar levels. When you don’t eat, your blood sugar levels drop, which can lead to feelings of lightheadedness, shakiness, and even fainting. This can be dangerous if you’re driving or operating heavy machinery.
Finally, skipping meals can lead to nutrient deficiencies. When you don’t eat enough, you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs to function properly. This can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, which can have a negative impact on your overall health.
Fad diets are also a problem because they’re not sustainable. Fad dieting is the practice of following any weight-loss regimen that has been in vogue at some point and quickly falls in popularity when it’s no longer trendy.
The problem with fad diets is that usually they’re not based on science or facts but rather on what’s hot at the time. For example, if you see celebrities or famous athletes promoting a new diet plan and becoming popular online, chances are it will be your next “it” diet, too.
But really, do you know if the diet works? Have there been randomized controlled trials conducted to prove its effectiveness? What happens when your favorite celebrity moves onto another trendier program? Will you follow suit again without question?
As tempting as it may be to join in with these celebrity-led movements, it’s best to look further into research before jumping on board. These diets often aren’t based on evidence-based recommendations. If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
Juicing can be good for you, but it’s not a substitute for a healthy diet. It’s a way to get a boost of nutrients, but it should not be used as a primary method for weight loss. While juicing can help you consume more fruits and vegetables, it can also lead to weight gain if you’re not careful.
Juicing can be a convenient way to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables in one sitting, but it can also lead to more calories than you realize. Many store-bought juices are high in sugar and calories, which can contribute to weight gain if you consume large amounts.
Plus, juicing removes the fiber from fruits and vegetables, which can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels and leave you feeling hungry soon after drinking a juice.
Another problem with juicing as a weight-loss strategy is that it can be restrictive and unrealistic to maintain over the long term. A diet that relies solely on juice can be difficult to stick to, leading to feelings of deprivation and restriction. This can make it hard to maintain weight loss in the long term.
A better weight-loss approach is to focus on a balanced diet that includes various fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. This can help you feel full and satisfied and provides a range of essential nutrients to support health. Plus, regular exercise, proper hydration, and enough sleep can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Getting hung up on the scale
The scale is a misleading measure of progress, especially regarding weight loss. The first thing to remember is that losing weight is not about the number on the scale; it’s about how you feel. Losing weight for health reasons and appearance are two very different things.
If you’re only focusing on losing as much fat as possible (and therefore weigh yourself daily), chances are this practice isn’t working well for you, as it rarely works well for anyone. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers and measurements, but it’s not a healthy approach to physical or mental wellness. It can also lead to unhealthy weight-loss practices.
Overeating protein at the expense of other nutrient groups
At one time, high-protein diets were popular for weight loss. Protein is an essential nutrient, but remember that protein isn’t the only thing you need. While a diet high in protein can be helpful for weight loss (and muscle building), it doesn’t mean you should eat as much of it as possible.
Protein is in many foods, such as eggs, fish, poultry, dairy, and plant-based sources, such as lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy. It’s also available in supplements like whey protein powder if you cannot get enough from your diet alone.
Protein helps build and repair tissue within the body. However, this doesn’t mean that overeating protein will lead to weight loss on its own. Instead of focusing on getting more protein into your diet at the expense of other nutrient groups (carbohydrates or fats), focus on adding more vegetables or whole grains, so that you don’t miss important vitamins and minerals associated with these foods and keep your diet balanced.
Ignoring how you feel in favor of how you look
The scale isn’t the only indicator of how you feel. It’s also important to focus on how you feel in addition to what the number says. Your weight fluctuates by several pounds each day, which can cause stress or anxiety if you’re fixated on it. The true measure of success is when your body and mind are aligned, not just with one another but also with your lifestyle choices.
While it’s tempting to let a desire drive you for quick results, this approach often leads people down dangerous paths that have the opposite effect: no weight loss at all or even more weight gain. It’s better to get on board with the idea that getting fit takes time. There’s no need for perfectionism here -- good fitness and weight-loss practice should be enjoyable rather than burdensome.
Focus on moderation when trying to lose weight
If you’re trying to lose weight, remember there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead of going for extremes, try practicing moderation instead.
Eat a balanced diet. A well-balanced diet can help keep your energy up and prevent cravings for unhealthy foods. Balanced meals should include protein, carbohydrates, and fats in the correct proportions for your body type (as recommended by your doctor). Online tools can help you develop a personal eating plan based on your age, gender, and activity level.
Eat slowly and mindfully so you get the most enjoyment out of each bite and are satisfied with less. Balance it with quality sleep, stress management, and balanced workouts. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased food cravings, as well as fat storage, due to decreased levels of leptin (the hormone responsible for giving us feelings of satiety).