A lot of us spend years and years trying to get it right and get rid of the extra fat were carrying. Have you tried fad diets from atkins diet to herbal life to the paleo diet? Are you frustrated after investing a lot of money with many failed attempts to lose the weight?
I am keenly familiar with the struggle, I spent 6 years of my life yo-yo dieting, losing 10, gaining 15, losing 20. I would go on restrictive diets, cut out fruits and dairy, do the classic low carb diet and could never understand why nothing was changing. I made some changes this past year dropping 23 pounds of fat and a gaining a good amount of lean muscle with hard work, persistence and some key things that kept me progressing each month. If you’ve been playing the fat burning fight for a long time there are most likely a few key mistakes you are making that is hindering your progress.
Here are some common mistakes
- Not eating enough protein – protein does a lot more than just build and repair muscle tissue, it increases satiety at meals which will help you feel less hungry throughout the day. Unlike carbs, if you eat too many you feel hungry soon after again because they digest quickly and create a rise in your blood sugar and release of insulin. Protein on the other hand is digested a lot slower and requires more energy for your body to assimilate therefore burning more calories when consuming it. Protein also helps with your glucose levels, blood lipids and muscle to fat ratios. By incorporating protein at every meal including your snacks you will definitely notice a difference in your body composition over time. Good snack ideas are 2 hard boiled eggs, a protein shake, Greek yogurt or a low sugar protein bar. You should be eating every 2-3 hours and each of these meals should contain some protein ideally 25-30 grams.
- You think healthy food is calorie free– No matter how healthy a food is, if you eat too much of it, you can still gain weight. The most common example is nuts, seeds and peanut butter, although they do have a lot of omegas, nutrients and health benefits they contain a lot of calories. This is not to say you shouldn’t have any at all, just limit yourself to a handful of nuts or 2 tbsp of peanut butter. Try not to keep a bag around the office because you may be tempted to eat more.
- Not eating enough– It sounds logical that in order to lose fat you should cut your calories and that the more you cut the more you lose. However, that’s not the answer, by cutting calories too low you will cause you metabolism to slow down. That’s one side effects of eating too little the other is your body will begin to use your hard earned muscle as fuel and go into a catabolic state, you don’t want this. The best way to create a calorie deficit to lose weight is to gradually cut 400-500 calories from your maintenance caloric intake in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week.This will keep you losing at a gradual pace, you will have more energy because you won’t be on a low carb diet and won’t risk putting the weight back once you lose it. You can find calorie calculator online that will determine your maintenance intake based on your weight, height and activity level then you will create a deficit from there to lose fat
- Not sleeping enough – just like stress elevates your cortisol levels, not sleeping enough will do the same. When you’re not getting a good quality sleep your insulin sensitivity will decrease. You can’t expect your body to live off of 4 hours of sleep then go to work and perform a workout after, your body simply cannot recovery. Sleeping 7- 8 hours a night is crucial, try to avoid consuming caffeine in the evening especially if you are sensitive to it.
- Not weight training properly –In order to build lean muscle and burn fat, you should be performing high volume (meaning many sets) of compounds movements such as squats, deadlifts, presses and pull ups. These exercises all utilize more than one muscle group at a time which means they burn more calories overall. This is not to say you shouldn’t perform isolate exercises such as leg curls, leg extensions and bicep curls, they are good to tweak any lagging body parts. For example – if you feel like your rear delts are underdeveloped you should perform rear delt flyes with a lot of reps and sets to help develop them if your front and lateral shoulders are more developed.