Weight loss can be tough at times. Sometimes you may feel like you are doing everything right, but still, the scale is not budging. You may be hindering your progress by following misguided, outdated advice, or common weight loss mistakes.
We are all susceptible to the idea of a quick fix to achieve weight loss success. The problem with this mindset is that it leads us to make common mistakes that eventually get in the way of our long-term weight loss goals.
Check to make sure you’re not making one of these 7 common weight loss mistakes.
The Scale must be wrong
You’ve been 100 percent faithful to your diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping well, yet the scale is not moving fast enough. It’s very common to feel like you’re not losing weight fast enough, one of the most common weight loss mistakes majority of us are guilty of is relying on the scale to detect our progress. Although it can be a helpful tool, especially for those looking to lose an excessive amount of weight, it can hinder weight loss. However, the number on the scale is only one measure of weight change. The scale cannot distinguish the difference between weight loss and fat loss. Even though you might be exercising and eating clean, the number might not go down because while you’re losing fat, you may also be gaining muscle in the process.
Additionally, weight is influenced by several things, including fluid fluctuations and how much food remains in your system. In fact, weight can fluctuate by up to 4 lbs. (1.8 kg) over the course of a day, depending on how much food and liquid you’ve consumed. If the number on the scale isn’t moving, you may very well be losing fat mass but holding on to water.
When the scale stops moving or is moving slow, measuring your waist with a tape measure and taking monthly pictures of yourself can reveal you’re losing fat, even if the scale number doesn’t change much. You may also notice your clothes are starting to feel looser especially around your hips and waist even though the scale is not moving the way you want it too.
You’re Only Doing Cardio
Cardio was once thought to be the go-to method for burning off that excess fat. But recent research shows otherwise. While it is true the cardio is great for burning calories, whether biking, running or swimming, it is only a small portion of maximizing your calorie burn. Cardio is the last tool in your coach’s tool belt for burning calories in a weight loss program. Your coach will prioritize weight training to help maintain or increase your muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your body’s fat-burning potential, and weight training will help you burn more fat faster. This will also mean you can do shorter workouts and get better results.
While diet alone can cause weight loss, a lack of exercise can lead to loss of muscle mass and lower metabolism. Exercising will help minimize the amount of lean mass you lose, boost fat loss potential and prevent your metabolism from slowing down. During weight loss, you inevitably lose some muscle mass as well as fat, although the amount depends on several factors the more lean mass you have, the easier it is to lose weight.
Exercising Too Much
You’ve been going hard in the gym 24/7, but the scale is not going down and might even be going up. There is such a thing as to much exercise, it is neither healthy nor efficient to force your body to burn more calories to lose weight. Over-exercising can cause problems:
- It can increase stress hormone production
- Increase water retention
- Decrease metabolic performance
- Increase in weight gain.
However, exercising several times per week is a sustainable strategy for weight loss.
Overestimating Your Calories Burned During Exercise
Are you working out to simply burn more calories? You may be in for some disappointment; recent research shows most people will overestimate the number of calories they burn during exercise. And to add more fuel to the problem, many people will use the “calories burned” feature on exercise equipment to monitor calorie burn. But it turns out most exercise machines may be overestimating your calories burned and by a lot. Plus, the older the machine the worse the accuracy is.
One simple way to ensure you are getting a more accurate picture of your caloric burn is to use wearable devices to get a more precise idea of calorie burn during your workout is. A heart rate monitor is a valuable tool. We strongly recommend that you go with a strap heart rate monitor versus a wrist or watched based heart rate monitor. We use the following 2 heart monitors with our clients: MYZONE MZ-3 Physical Activity Belt or Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor
Eating Too Few Calories
Your tired all the time, cranky, unmotivated, constipated and for some reason the scale is just not moving 1 lb. You’re eating a calorie restricted diet which means the weight should be falling off, right? Unfortunately, it is possible that you are eating too little. This will not only make it harder for you to achieve a healthy weight loss but can also cause other health problems.
We all have a set number of calories needed to simply be alive. Consistently going too low in your calories, can cause your metabolism to slow down and your body to begin preserving and entering survival mode. Hunger and feeling full aren’t the only indicators of whether you’re fueling your body appropriately. Fatigue, mood, motivation and healthy bowels are all signs of how a calorie restriction is affecting your body and weight loss.
The old adage, “More isn’t necessarily better”. Holds true for calorie restrictions. While you will usually lose weight when you run a calorie deficit, but if you find you just can’t lose those last few pounds, it’s possible you’re eating too little. Smaller deficits somewhere between 250-500 calories are often all you need to see sustainable weight loss. Plus, this won’t trigger your body to go into survival mode the same way, drastically restricting your intake often does.
Having Unrealistic Weight Loss Expectations
You’ve set out to on a journey to lose weight and want to hop on a program right away, but pause for a moment, if that program is preceded by any of the following words: rapid, quick, fast, it’s time to re-evaluate. Weight loss can happen quickly, but in general, it shouldn’t.
Your starting weight will be one of the biggest determinants of the rate at which you can expect to lose weight. Essentially, the more overweight you are, the faster you can lose pounds. However, if you’re closer to your ideal weight, the process becomes much slower.
It may seem obvious to most to set realistic weight-loss goals. But most do not really know what’s realistic? In a long-term weight loss program, it’s recommended to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Depending on your weight, 5-10 percent of your current weight may be a realistic goal. A 50lb weight loss journey will take about a year to complete. So, enjoy the process and stay focused on the end goal. Small weight loss victories will add up over time.