Friday, July 27, 2012

Six Weight Loss Mistakes

As part of my usual routine on SparkPeople of browsing through the various articles looking for one to catch my eye, I found one titled, "6 Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid."  That certainly caught my eye. The article addresses 6 areas where people can get confused and present 6 things to remember about each area. Without further ado, here are the 6 keys, along with my own comments on them...

1.) Slower is better - Do you ever see those ads/infomercials on TV about the next big weight-loss gadget?  Do your eyes light up at the thought of losing 20 pounds in 45 minutes using the GLRX-Extreme-CorePunchMaster-Fitness 3500 II?  Are you filled with anger when Ms. Six-Pack declares, "I lost 10 pounds in just 2 minutes, and now ALL the guys stop to watch when I walk by"?  Do you ever notice the fine print at the bottom of the screen which say something to the effect of, "We know you'll never read this, but these results are not normal for most people.  Just send us the 29.99/month for the next six months"?  For most people the answers are "yes, yes, no."  The point is, a slow and steady weight loss is the way to go.  Aim for a half-pound to two pounds each week.  Do an search on your favorite search engine for "rapid weight loss" studies.  Studies show that Ms. Six-Pack is likely to gain all that weight back.  I am quite happy whenever that number on the scale drops even a small amount. I'll take steady one-pound or one-half-pound weight loss each week if it means I am treating my body right. Since I started my getting fit journey in 2009, I have lost 60 pounds. I didn't lost it fast. I made slow, steady, consistent steps that continue to pay off today.

2.) Everyone is different - This is a shocker, isn't it?  Everyone is different!  Not everyone loses weight at the same rate and in the same places.  Person A and Person B eat 2000 calories a day and burn 300 calories a day but will NOT lose the same amount of weight.  A may lose more than B.  B gets upset.  Have you been in this boat before?  I can remember taking a look around SparkPeople and seeing people who joined the same day I did losing more weight than me.  Did it make me a little jealous?  Maybe a little, yeah.  Did it make me upset?  No.  The fact that I was eating better and exercising more benefits my life, even if the scale did not reflect it.  More energy, less stress, and better sleep cannot be quantified but are important changes that take place.  Don't get hung up on ____, who has lost X more pounds than you.  My thought was (and still is), "Just do what I need to do, and let the scale take care of itself."  In other words, stay on track, and there will be results.

3.) Weight loss is rarely constant from week to week - Our bodies are strange.  If you need proof, just look at your uvula.  You could do the exact same thing you did last week yet lose no weight.  You could even gain a little weight.  Huh?  How does that happen?  Our bodies don't follow a formula.  They work how they work, which is little comfort for someone at a plateau.  We just have to trust that we are making progress even if the scale says otherwise. Too much can happen even over the course of a week with water weight and food and building muscles vs. burning fat.  Again, the focus for me needs to be to keep doing what I have been doing, and I will reach my goal.

4.) Weight loss is not immediate - Exercising yesterday will not mean weight loss today.  Too many people fall for this one. Yeah, you lost two pounds after your workout, but that's just water weight.  Weight loss takes time and commitment.  The goal is to lose "fat" not water.  Be consistent with exercise and with keeping track of your nutrition.  I know keep saying this, but if you focus on changing your lifestyle to eating healthier and getting regular exercise, there will be results.  They may not come immediately.  But they will come.

5.) Setbacks are normal - Repeat this one.  Setbacks are normal.  And again.  Setbacks are normal.  If you need to, say it again.  Setbacks are normal. Starting out 3 years ago, I knew one would come eventually, but despite that I still got a little down on myself.  However, you can always replace that setback with a positive (i.e. you're wearing smaller clothes than before).  So while the scale showed a setback, I can take heart in knowing that clothes are fitting better and I look skinnier in them.  Setbacks will happen, but they will not last.  Remember, attitude is just as important to success as ability.  Bounce back from setbacks and persevere.

6.) Eating less isn't always better - Ah, the paradox of weight loss.  We think it is simple - eat less to weigh less.  This, however, just is not the case.  Dieters restrict themselves to X calories per day, expecting rapid weight loss.  Unbeknownst (I like that word) to them, their bodies can go into "starvation mode," slowing their metabolism down.  This of course precludes any weight loss and actually can lead to weight gain, because your body will hang onto every calorie.  SparkPeople calculates a daily calorie range based on current weight, goal weight, and your goal weight date.  Your mission is to hit that range every day - even if it seems like a lot of food.

You can find the main article here. Have a look, and see what mistakes you may be making.

-D

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