Starving yourself does not lead to weight loss. Instead, your body’s natural protection mechanism kicks in to keep you from starving to death. Your body uses as little calories as possible to fuel your movements so that if you truly are trapped in the wilderness without food, you will survive until help arrives. If you are reading this, chances are you are not abandoned in the woods. Fuel your body. Eat. Fill your refrigerator and cupboards with healthy foods and eat them throughout the day. Pack enough food for lunch and snacks at work to keep a rumbling stomach at bay and let your body know it is free to use all the calories it wants to fuel your activities.
Quit Focusing on It
Instead of focusing on weight loss and all the obsessions that come with it including calorie-counting, intense workouts, weight and body measurements, focus on ways to be healthy. Eat foods that are good for you and make a difference in your well-being. Focus on moving more throughout the day instead of only during your workouts. For instance, walk your dog instead of letting him out on a lead; push mow your lawn instead of riding a tractor; use the stairs instead of the escalator. These small changes add up and your focus becomes your overall health instead of your weight loss. Will you lose weight, too? Yes, and it will be easier than you think.
Lift Heavy Weights
Are you living under the misconception that lifting heavy weights will bulk you up or add numbers to the scale? This myth may be holding you back from weight loss success. Lifting heavy weights challenges your muscles to the point they have to make changes. Your muscle tissue grows. Your metabolism speeds up and now, even at rest, your muscle tissue is burning calories to sustain itself. You will not develop huge, bulky muscles by lifting heavy weights. Your body will slim and tone and be perfectly you!
Eat After 6
Another weight loss myth that keeps you from reaching your goals is thinking that you have to eat all your daily calories before 6 PM. If you are like most of the working public, you may not even get home until then. Weight loss is a combination of adequate calories to sustain your life and physical activity to burn off excess calories. Speak with your doctor regarding the best number of calories for your body, but as a simple way to determine how many you need, add a zero to the weight you desire. For example, if you want to weigh 140 pounds, consume approximately 1400 calories each day. This does not include intense workouts. In which case your calorie consumption needs to be increased. If you have not reached your desired number of calories by 6 PM, eat dinner and enjoy it. Maybe even have a snack after dinner and blow this myth away!
Snack on Nuts
If you avoid nuts because of their high fat content, you may be depriving yourself of a delicious snack. Nuts are full of fiber, so you feel full. They also provide essential protein for muscle-building. Plus, nuts improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk for diabetes. Still not convinced? A portion of the fat from nuts does not get absorbed by your body so enjoy this snack to stave off hunger and help you lose weight.
Workout Smarter, Not Harder
Do not attack your workout with the idea of burning off the lunch you ate. Exercise at a moderate to high intensity for 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Add in between 20 and 30 minutes of strength training, and you are finished. Listen to your body and do not overexert yourself to the point of injury of exhaustion. When you exercise at this level, you may crave food as a reward which will blow your weight loss efforts.
Allow yourself a cheat meal once a week. Eating a meal that you enjoy does not have to sabotage your weight loss efforts. It may do just the opposite. When you know you can have that restaurant hamburger at the end of the week, you are more likely to stick with your healthy eating plan throughout the week. This leads to weight loss and better health.
Avoid Skipping Breakfast
Skipping meals does not lead to weight loss. When your body is not fed at certain times, it slows down your metabolism to sustain your life- just in case the next meal is hours away. This is especially true of breakfast after your metabolism has gone to sleep throughout the night. Wake it up and make it work for you by eating a healthy breakfast every day.
Stop Cutting Carbs
Avoiding carbs leaves you without enough energy to workout. In addition, you may be irritable, lethargic, and unproductive at work and at home. Since weight loss in a combination of diet and exercise, you need to eat a variety of foods which includes carbohydrates. These carbs should be healthy ones such as whole grains, rice and oats to supply the fuel for your workouts. Carbs should not be the focus of your meals, but you can include them into each meal. For example, yogurt with granola, grilled chicken and quinoa, or a tofu stir-fry with rice.
Don’t Count Calories
As an alternative, focus on making healthy food choices. Eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full. Your body will let you know when it has consumed enough calories. Simply pay attention to it.
Quit Telling Others
The support of family and friends is important to your weight loss goals, but sometimes you need to stop talking about it. Keep it a surprise and let your weight loss unfold as you progress instead of posting or talking about each pound lost. This pressure may curb your efforts, and if you hit a plateau, frustration delays success.