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Watch Out for These 4 Weight Loss Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Watch Out for These 4 Weight Loss Mistakes You’re Probably Making

If you’re exercising or eating healthy and have little to show for it, you’re probably making one of these weight loss mistakes.

Here’s some advice for losing weight and keeping it off:

1. Stop Caving to Temptation

We live in a society that is built for your failure. With vending machines in schools, pastries at work, and fast-food restaurants on every corner, it isn’t easy to avoid temptation. It’s a lot harder to go to a sit-down restaurant and order a chicken salad than it is to go through a drive-thru and get a Big Mac. Additionally, you have to face pressure from friends, family, and co-workers.

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Here’s a scenario: You’re at a family gathering on a holiday, or in the break-room at work. Someone offers you something that you know you shouldn’t eat, so you politely decline it. Said person proceeds to berate you with questions like, “Why can’t you eat it? Are you on a diet now?” No matter what you say, they continue the interrogation, making you wish you could just disappear.

Sound familiar?

It’s amazing that packing a lunch of salad or black beans is considered weird, while eating processed horse meat is 100% socially acceptable. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to change it, so you’ll need to swim against the current.

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Below are a few ways you can make good decisions in the face of temptation:

  • Eat a high fat/high protein breakfast before you go to work. If you have a full belly, that doughnut isn’t gonna look as appetizing.
  • Pack your lunch. If you’re faced with questions from annoying co-workers, eat it in your car or at the park, instead.
  • Keep a bag of almonds, walnuts, or cashews with you at all times. It’s a much better snack option than what you’ll find in a vending machine.

If friends or family pressure you, say something like this: “Look: I know I’m eating different foods than usual, but I’m doing this because my past decisions made me feel bloated and exhausted. I’m trying to make better decisions so I can have more energy, be more confident in my body, and have a longer life with my children. It’s not easy to stay motivated, so I’d really appreciate it if you support me in this.”

If a person can’t support you, despite your explanation, stop hanging out with them. Toxic people are unworthy of your time and friendship.

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2. Avoid “Supplementing” a Crappy Diet

According to Forbes, the supplements industry made $32 billion in 2012. Despite this industry’s financial growth, research by the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that most supplements literally do nothing to improve your health or well-being. In actuality, there are only a small number of supplements that are useful. Fish oil, Vitamin D, and whey protein are the only three supplements I recommend. If you have followed a fitness plan successfully for at least a month, consider those three options. Otherwise, develop healthy habits that will increase your bank account and decrease your waist-size.

3. Don’t Chain Yourself to the Elliptical

If you spend every moment of your gym visits on a treadmill or elliptical, you are a “cardio hamster.” Please don’t misread me: cardio does have benefits, including stress reduction, relief from depression, and increased life expectancy. This doesn’t mean you should chain yourself to an elliptical and deny yourself a more comprehensive and effective fitness routine. Lift weights at least twice per week, because resistance training increases your metabolic burn for 36 hours after a workout. In other words, weight lifting will help you burn calories for many hours after exercise, while cardio only burns calories during the act of exercise. Perform some yoga poses once or twice a week for improved motivation and a better night’s sleep.

Putting all of those extra health benefits aside for a moment, don’t you think doing the same workout over and over again gets boring, in a hurry? Mix up your routine to keep exercise fresh and exciting.

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“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.” – Coco Chanel

If you’re convinced variety is for you, use this training template as inspiration for your workout planning:

  • Monday – Lift weights (lower body)
  • Tuesday – Jog, walk, cycle, or cardio of your choice
  • Wednesday – Go to a Yoga class or try one of these home yoga routines
  • Thursday – Lift weights (upper body)
  • Friday – Walk your dog, take a stroll at a park or downtown, or go on a hike
  • Saturday/Sunday – Rest and recover

4. Don’t Get Impatient with the Process

Fat loss doesn’t happen at the rate your mind demands, but rather at the rate your body allows. Practice patience, because your success counts on it.

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin

The biggest weight loss mistake of all is reading fitness articles on the Internet and failing to apply the content to your life. If you’re serious about improving your body, tell me in the comments how you’re going to take action today, not tomorrow or next week. Please share with your friends if you want them to avoid these mistakes, also.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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