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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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