Making mistakes when choosing our food or through our eating habits is understandable, due to media pressures and (sometimes) less beneficial eating traditions. And when it comes to losing weight, there are some frequent mistakes people are making in their efforts to achieve this purpose. I will go through some of these mistakes, so you can avoid doing /repeating them.
Before that, maybe is good to underline that losing weight is a good thing to aim for, if : 1) a specialist (doctor, dietician, nutritionist) recommends this to you, 2) you feel you are too heavy and not comfortable with how you move, breath, or live in general 3) you had a lighter weight in the past and you remember you felt better with that weight. Do not follow /aim to copy media promoted models, as it might not be necessary healthy to do it or even genetically impossible. So, when “finding out” that you should have a certain weight, or aim for a certain body conformation, please seek first a professional advice to see whether it is really the case.
Now, the mistakes:
- Getting hungry
While intuitively a drastic limitation of your food intake should lead to a weight loss, it is not always like this, for several reasons: 1) you might not be able to resist it and eat too much afterwards; 2) if you are able to resist it, then you will not get enough nutrients and your metabolism will slow down. Basically, the body is entering a survival mode which will also limit the weight loss
- Seeking fast results
If your target is to lose 2-4lbs or 1-2 kilos then you can do it fast, no issues here. If we are talking however about a larger weight decrease, than (if not otherwise advised by a competent physician) you should take it slower, in order to accommodate the changes with no side effects, neither for your body nor for your mind. Most probably the extra weight was accumulated during a longer period, thus getting rid of it too fast would be difficult (and dangerous). Slower means easier to maintain, thus sustainable, as a lifestyle.
- Diet binging
Somehow linked with above topics but not always as there are also diets which target longer periods of implementation and/or lack of hunger. The main issue with dieting is that usually it restricts/ removes things on the benefit of short-term results and sometimes ignoring the longer-term side effects. If restrictions have a medical cause than it is fine, otherwise balance should be used instead of restrictions. Dieting restrictions can be about a certain food type, color, or nutrient. Each could have negative effects on long run (a more detailed article on food diversification here).
- Following undocumented internet-based advices
This is quite simple: don’t jump on all “break-through” discoveries; if you believe a weight loss idea might work for you, test it first with a certified specialist.
- Weight loss pills/ getting slim products: just avoid them. I really believe there is no need to say more on this topic.
- Exercising without enjoying it and without considering how much is burned through that activity (during or afterwards).
Exercising is good, in fact is vital for an optimum functioning of our bodies. Find something you enjoy doing it, get a professional trainer at least for the first sessions, to avoid injuries and learn the correct techniques. Then try to corelate what you burn with what you eat. It might be the case that you do not burn so much in a certain training session, however you feel exhausted after it and eat more calories than you burned. This will translate into weight gain. Also combine cardio with strength sessions, this will improve metabolism and ensure maintenance of muscle mass.
- Not drinking enough water
Sometimes the hunger sensation is in fact thirst. There is an indirect correlation between level of hydration and fat accumulation. The more hydrated we are the less fat we accumulate, and vice versa, the more fat we have the harder is to proper hydrate ourselves. Drinking water before/during meals increase satiety and keeping ourselves hydrated during the day kicks off some false hunger sensations.
- Getting lot of healthy food and drinks without caring about the attached calories.
As in case of exercises, eating healthy food is vital for a healthy body. Still, only eating healthy food is not always enough to lose weight, as some healthy foods are quite rich in calories. For instance: smoothies, nuts, avocado, coconut pulp/oil, various seeds and dried fruits. Did you know that 2 packs, 200g each, of cashews/pistachios/peanuts/walnuts are covering the entire daily caloric need of a 65kg moderately active woman?
- Not having a regular eating schedule or having a lot of bites instead.
Without a regular meals schedule, you could lose track of the quantity eaten. It is true that mindful eating teaches us to listen to our body calls and not eat by a schedule if we are not hungry, however how many of us are willing to go on the mindful eating way? for those who are not, better stick with a schedule. Also, having many snacks or “only” bites/tastings could mislead you about the quantity of food eaten daily. With a regular meal schedule your need for snacks/bites should decrease, helping to keep a better track of the food you eat.
- Not getting enough sleep
Sleep and weight balance are deeply linked. Sleep deficiency inhibits the satiety hormone (leptin) and exacerbates the production of hunger hormone (ghrelin)… you can imagine the rest. Also, the glucose metabolism is altered which can lead to insulin resistance and then weight gain. Your availability to expend energy decrease, wherefrom weight gain. You feel energy depleted, so you crave for high energy content food (fats and sugars) wherefrom weight increase.
I am very curious if you experienced the above situations as well or heard about others facing them. There are other mistakes for sure, these came to my mind first so just wanted to share them with you. Thus do not hesitate to share with me other situations if you experienced them.