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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.