With my experience as a family doctor I know that most people can’t lose weight because they are not working in harmony with their body and mind. For example, going on a restrictive diet is not in harmony with your physiology, and 9 times out of 10 it leads to insignificant weight loss or weight gain further down the road. By eliminating these 6 mistakes you’ll have a much better chance of succeeding with your weight loss.
You Didn’t Set a Clear Goal
If you don’t make a decision about exactly where you’re going, how are you going to get there? Imagine attempting to go on vacation without knowing the destination, because you haven’t given it thought and come to a decision. When patients come to me for help because they can’t lose weight, my first question is “What do you want?” They often say something like “To be thinner“. This is really vague and it’s like saying you want to go somewhere hot and sunny for your vacation. There’s no clear destination! Your mind needs a definite goal to lock on to. Otherwise you have no focus, no reason to start taking action, or to continue taking it if you manage to make a start in the first place. A definite goal could be something like “I fit into my favourite jeans again and love the way I look!” This is a clear destination.
You Didn’t Create a Roadmap
Some people get the first bit right, and have a clear goal. But they still can’t lose weight. The next common mistake is not making a plan to get from where you are now, to where you want to go. Most people’s plan is ‘go on a diet and exercise more‘. Did that work last time? Why do you think it will work this time? Think of all the steps you take to make it to your vacation. There are more than 2 aren’t there? You need to create a step by step plan to follow to successfully lose weight. You might want to include the next 4 things in your plan. But you need to make this your plan, and you need to give yourself some time to work it out.
You Didn’t Identify Your Emotional Eating
Hands up if you ever eat when you’re not hungry. If your hand isn’t up I don’t think I believe you! You can’t lose weight when you regularly eat if you’re not hungry. These days food is constantly available, and as a result eating to satisfy genuine physical hunger isn’t the only reason people eat. People eat for many other reasons including boredom, stress, and unhappiness. All food eaten when your body doesn’t need it is destined for your fat stores. You need to know this is going on and make a plan of how to overcome this. This may be something you need to learn more about. A friend of mind put on loads of weight when he started working from home. When he needed a break he realized he was going to the fridge and eating. At work he used to have a quick chat with colleagues. This is eating due to boredom. His solution was to go out for a quick walk with his dog when he needed a short break from work.
You Didn’t Hydrate Yourself
This is perhaps the easiest thing you can do to improve your health and speed up your weight loss, but are you drinking eight glasses of water each day? There are two reasons keeping yourself properly hydrated helps you lose weight. Imagine a plant that hasn’t had enough water, it is wilting. This is you if you’re not hydrated. Now imagine that same plant standing strong because it’s had enough water. When you’re hydrated you have more energy. When you have more energy you move around more. And you can work out the rest! Not everyone realizes that early hunger and thirst feel the same – it can feel like you’re hungry for food. If you don’t realize this, and you haven’t been hydrating yourself adequately, you’ll end up eating more than you need, with obvious consequences. Keep hydrated, and then the hunger you feel is for food and not water.
You Didn’t Avoid Foods That Increase Your Appetite
Refined carbs, like white rice, sugar, fries and things made out of white flour increase your blood sugar dramatically, and very fast. High blood sugar is harmful to your body, so your body’s response is robust – it produces a load of insulin which brings your blood sugar back down quickly. The result is a rebound low blood sugar. This has you feeling really hungry, often only a short time after you’ve eaten. This drives you to eat more, even though you may have already eaten more calories than you need. Cut right down on refined and processed food,because people who eat a lot of this can’t lose weight. Eat whole foods instead.
You Didn’t Kick Start Your Fat Burning Enzymes
When people think exercise they often think about going out for a jog, or doing extended cardio workouts in the gym. This type of workout burns fat. But hang on a minute. If your body needs fat for this kind of exercise isn’t it going to make more available for the next time you do it? You body is highly adaptable. If you start doing something that needs fat, your body will make it available. This is why some people can’t lose weight even though they do a lot of cardio workouts, or they pile on a load of weight if they stop. When you do short bursts of high intensity exercise, e.g. like sprinting for 20 seconds 6 times with rest of 60 seconds in between, you don’t burn a lot of fat while you’re doing it. You burn glucose. However, you do burn fat for up to 24 hours after this kind of exercise, and you don’t encourage your body to lay down fat. If you’re exercising for the purpose of weight loss ditch the prolonged cardio workouts and switch to interval training.
Featured photo credit: Rain run/antony_mayfield via flickr.com