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7 Common Mistakes Most People Make In Losing Weight

7 Common Mistakes Most People Make In Losing Weight

Do you feel like you’re continually running on the treadmill, but not going anywhere? Weight loss is a lucrative industry and we are constantly presented with quick fix solutions that we desperately want to believe. According to data by Marketdata Enterprises, Americans spend over $60 billion dollars a year trying to lose weight. Before you empty your wallet to decrease your dress size, are some common mistakes to avoid.

1. You think there’s a quick way to lose weight.

If there were a pill that magically took off the pounds, we’d be living in a world without super-sized chairs in waiting rooms and seat belt extenders. The truth is, weight loss is hard. It takes determination, focus, and commitment to making healthier choices, even though it is often the less convenient or less enjoyable option. Over-the-counter options, such as green tea extract, often come with their own risks and side effects, and most of the options available are likely ineffective for weight loss. In addition, losing more than three pounds a week after a few weeks can increase your chance of developing gallstones, and being on a diet of fewer than 800 calories a day for an extended period of time can lead to serious heart problems.

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2. You assume all carbs are bad for you.

Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. In recent years, “low-carb” diets have grown in popularity, but the results are usually short-lived. A 2003 article in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low-carbohydrate diets have no advantage over traditional well balanced diets and that long-term restriction of carbohydrates can have dangerous side effects, including heart problems, osteoporosis, an increased risk of cancer, impairment of physical activity, lipid abnormalities, and even sudden death, if continued over a prolonged period of time. Eating complex carbohydrates, such as high fiber cereal and brown rice can actually help you lose weight by making you feel fuller while consuming fewer calories.

3. You think “low-fat” or “fat-free” means fewer calories.

Often these options mean just that: less fat. They do not mean fewer calories. To compromise for the missing fat, manufactures will add sugar in order to make the product taste just as good. This chart will show you popular foods where the “low-fat” option has almost as many calories as the regular version. Don’t be fooled by good marketing. Healthy cookies usually taste like “healthy cookies” for a reason.

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4. You believe eating healthy costs more money.
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    While eating healthy may seem more costly, there are a lot of factors to consider. It is cheaper and easier to grab a burger and fries from a local fast food establishment, but investing in your health can save you costly medical bills in the future. In addition, there are more affordable ways to make healthy food. Instead of French fries, chop up a potato, drizzle with a little olive oil, add some salt and pepper and bake. You now have a lower calorie, cheaper option, and lose none of the fiber that a baked potato provides. Furthermore, a lot of people believe that raw vegetables provide more nutrients than frozen or canned ones. This is also not true and frozen or canned vegetables are often cheaper than fresh produce.

    5. You skip meals.

    You may think that one less meal equates to fewer calories consumed, but skipping meals may just make you eat larger portions later in the day. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast weigh less than those who skip the first meal of the day.

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    6. You disregard the calories that come from liquids.

    According to a recent study, 21 percent of calories in an American diet come from liquids. Consider the following 16 ounce drinks—a Starbucks Hot Chocolate is 370 calories, a 16 ounce Dunkin’ Donuts Vanilla Bean Coolatta is 630 calories, and Jamba Juice Aloha Pineapple Smoothie is 290 calories. Even orange juice is 190 calories for 12 ounces. By swapping these beverages for water, you significantly reduce caloric intake.

    7. You don’t count the little things.

    The little things include “add-ons” such as salad dressings, coffee creamer, guacamole, and croutons. Just 2 tablespoons of Wishbone Chunky Blue Cheese has 160 calories and 17 grams of fat. Similarly, two tablespoons of Girard’s regular Caesar dressing has 150 calories and 15 grams of fat. Two tablespoons is small enough to be hiding under your sandwich bun or rolled up in your turkey wrap. Being aware of the ingredients in your food can help eliminate these hidden sources of calories and saturated fat. You can view other healthy alternatives here.

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    The formula for weight loss is simple: the amount of calories burned has to be greater than the amount of calories consumed. Benefits of maintaining a healthy weight include: increased energy, higher self esteem, and a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, and certain cancers. The best way to accomplish your weight loss goals is by old fashioned diet and exercise. Eat well balanced meals, increase your physical activity, ignore the late night infomercials,  and talk to your doctor or nutritionist about creating a plan of action that best meets your needs.

    Featured photo credit: Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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