We’ve all been there. Summer’s coming and you want to look great in that new swimsuit. The New Year is just around the corner, and this time is going to be different. Losing weight seems simple enough. Eat less, move more. Right? But how many of us have tried to lose weight, saw some success at first, but then progress stalled and we got discouraged and gave up, only to try again next time and repeat the same cycle over and over again. Dropping fat is not as simple as you might think, and these 3 biggest weight loss mistakes could be holding you back from kicking butt at slimming down.
3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes
Mistake #1: Burning the candle from both ends
Sleep has seen a huge upsurge in research lately, and it all points to the same thing. Americans especially are not sleeping enough, and it’s making them fat! Thirty-five percent of the adult population is sleeping less than the recommended 7-9 hours per night1. With decreased sleep, the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite are greatly affected. In particular, getting less than the recommended amount of sleep is associated with decreased leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite and influences metabolism, as well as an increase in ghrelin, a gastrointestinal peptide that stimulates hunger1. Making sure you’re getting enough sleep is the easiest way to ensure you are not curtailing your weight loss.
Mistake #2: Thinking that cardio is all you need
Resistance training is going to boost your metabolism far more than hitting that stair mill, elliptical, or treadmill.
The effect that adding resistance can have on weight loss is much different than endurance training (cardio).
Resistance training increases muscle mass, which in turn increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR)2. Your RMR is the amount of energy you need at rest. If you were to lie around all day, watching Netflix and chillin’, your RMR is the number of calories you would need just to stay alive. This number increases with the more muscle you have on your body. So, a higher RMR, means a higher energy need and makes it much easier to get to a calorie deficit and keep losing weight.
Resistance training also increases your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. After some higher intensity exercise, your body goes into a recovery period with a big increase in oxygen uptake. Your body is trying to get back to homeostasis, after you put it through the ringer, and this elevated oxygen consumption can go on for many hours (some research claims up to 38 hours after a very high intensity bout of resistance training)!2 To burn fat we need oxygen, and an elevated oxygen consumption from resistance training will have us burning fat for much longer than the 40 minutes on the stair mill! So pick up some dumbbells or resistance bands, or use your own body weight! Resistance training is not always just about lifting heavy. Your body weight is a great way to get the benefits of resistance training in a very safe way.
Mistake #3: Leaving veggies on the plate (or not having them there at all!)
Eating breakfast, getting enough protein, and making sure you’re getting those healthy fats are all very important in a weight loss journey. But missing out on the amazing benefits of whole, unprocessed, organic veggies can be detrimental to your goals. Veggies give us all of those benefits of vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients and enzymes that our body’s so desperately need, but are not getting enough of. However, it’s been shown that just adding more veggies and fruits into your diet are not going to help you lose weight4. It has to be done while reducing energy intake from other sources.
So why is eating more veggies so important in weight loss?
High nutrient density with low calorie density.
Veggies are high in nutrient content, but very low in calories, relative to their weight. That means that you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck, with very little added on to your total calories. You can eat a lot more, but not pack on more weight. So don’t go hungry, thinking it’s the only way to lose the weight. Eat more veggies, and watch the fat melt away!
3 common weight loss mistakes:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Focusing too much on cardio and not enough on resistance training
- Not letting nutrient dense food like veggies work with you in your weight loss goals
Try these tips to kick-start your weight loss journey:
- Eat protein dense foods at each meal
- Eat two fistfuls of veggies of all different colors at two meals per day
- Train with resistance at least 30 min/3 times per week
- Turn off all of your electronics (including that smartphone!) at least 1-hour before you plan on being in bed
If you’re struggling with your weight, have never tried or are nervous about resistance training, or have any other questions about your health, make an appointment with one of our Movement Specialists or Nutrition Coaches today, and start yourself on the path to wellness.
- Coughlin, J. W., & Smith, M. T. (2014). Sleep, obesity, and weight loss in adults: Is there a rationale for providing sleep interventions in the treatment of obesity?. International Review Of Psychiatry, 26(2), 177-188. doi:10.3109/09540261.2014.911150
- Paoli, A., Moro, T., & Bianco, A. (2015). Lift weights to fight overweight. Clinical Physiology & Functional Imaging, 35(1), 1-6.
- Tapsell, L. C., Batterham, M. J., Thorne, R. L., O’Shea, J. E., Grafenauer, S. J., & Probst, Y. C. (2014). Weight loss effects from vegetable intake: a 12-month randomised controlled trial. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 68(7), 778-785. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.39
- Kaiser, K. A., Brown, A. W., Bohan Brown, M. M., Shikany, J. M., Mattes, R. D., & Allison, D. B. (2014). Increased fruit and vegetable intake has no discernible effect on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 100(2), 567-576. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.090548