But for many of these individuals, losing weight is a serious challenge. You can try all of the fad diets and exercise gimmicks while making little-to-no change in your waist size. If this sounds familiar, perhaps you are making one or more of the following mistakes.
1. Focusing Strictly on Cardio or Strength Training
If you want to lose weight, you should include both cardio and strength training into your exercise regimen. Running, cycling, and engaging in other forms of cardio are great ways to speed up your heart rate, burn calories, and lose weight. But failure to incorporate strength training into your regimen is a serious mistake.
Strength training promotes the development of bigger, stronger muscles. While it also burns calories, its main effect is building muscle mass. When you have bigger muscles, though, your metabolism levels increase and your fat decreases.
A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise revealed that kettlebell exercises burn roughly 20 calories per minute, which is the same as running at a brisk pace. Whether you prefer kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, or gym equipment, add strength training to your routine for better results.
2. You are Drinking Soda
According to some reports, drinking just a single 12-ounce soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a year. Given the fact that many people drink multiple sodas daily, it’s easy to see why this is such a problem.
Soda is an empty-calorie beverage, offering more sugar than the daily allowance recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) but without any nutritional value in return. A typical 12-ounce cola contains up to 39 grams of sugar–and that’s not taking into account the plethora of artificial flavors, sulfites, and other ingredients.
And don’t assume diet soda is any better, either. It may have zero calories, but diet soda still contributes to weight gain. The San Antonio Heart study found that people who drink diet soda actually gained more weight than people who drank regular soda. Steer clear of soda or any other sweetened beverage–even artificially sweetened ones. If you are trying to lose weight, opt for good, old-fashioned H2O instead.
3. You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in weight management. If you don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of shut-eye, you’ll have a harder time losing weight.
According to one study, individuals who don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to snack on junk food, whereas individuals who do sleep enough are more likely to choose healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables. But that’s not the only way that sleep affects weight.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s sensitivity to insulin decreases. As a result, your body stores carbohydrates as fat instead of using them for energy. Normally, your body uses calories for energy, storing any leftover calories as fat. Lack of sleep interferes with this metabolic process, causing your body to store most calories as fat.
In addition to gaining weight, reduced sensitivity to insulin can also increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Here are some tips to improve your sleep duration and quality:
- Follow a schedule in which you go to bed at the same time every night.
- Remove distractions from your bedroom.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine for at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Unwind by lying in bed and reading a book before falling asleep.
- Take a warm bath or shower at night.
4. You Dine Out Often
There’s nothing wrong with splurging once in a while by dining at your favorite restaurant. But if you eat out more frequently than you eat in, you’ll have trouble losing weight.
Most restaurants prepare their dishes around one main purpose: flavor. They load their dishes with an excessive amount of sodium and sugar, disregarding the nutritional value. Those fried onion appetizers served at steakhouses, for instance, contain upwards of 1,000 calories and 162 grams of fat! Even if you split it between three other patrons, that’s still an enormous amount of calories and fat–and it’s not the good fat, either (we’ll get to that below).
5. You Aren’t Consuming Enough Good Fats
Dietary fat doesn’t necessarily contribute to body fat. While some fats encourage weight gain, others have the opposite effect by assisting in healthy weight management. The trick is knowing which fats are good and which are bad, planning your meals around the good type.
Steer clear of foods containing trans fat like partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said trans fats are “generally recognized as safe,” adding them to their list of banned ingredients in food products. Reports indicate that trans fat contributes to 20,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, most cases of which involve heart disease. But food companies have several years to comply with these new guidelines, meaning some foods at the supermarket still contain trans fat.
The good fats, on the other hand, consisted of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. While trans fat raises levels of LDL cholesterol, unsaturated fats have the opposite effect: the lower LDL levels. As explained in this article published by the DailyMail, healthy fats such as these facilitate weight loss by burning fat, regulating hormone production and boosting metabolism.
Losing weight isn’t easy, but with the right approach, you can successfully achieve your goals. For more diet and weight loss tips, contact us today.