There are many things we thing we’re doing for the best, but here is where you may be going wrong:
Excess sugar in any form will contribute to weight gain, as it generates the release of insulin which encourages the body to lay down fat stores. Stocking up on ‘diet’ products and not reading the labels (both foods and drinks alike) can also mislead you into eating high sugar/ sweetened contents that actually do not keep you full for long. The products may even contribute to additional cravings! There are plenty of low-calorie food/drink options, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
Try to eat whole foods, not processed foods; Whole foods have fibre which prevent you from overeating, keeping you fuller for longer on fewer calories. Just because a food is low in calories doesn’t mean it’s high in vitamins either- nutritional quality is important. Diet drinks can be high in calories and a whole food alternative could keep you fuller for longer; Use your calories carefully, don’t waste them.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports. It includes things like the energy expended walking to work, cooking, shopping, cleaning and fidgeting. When your NEAT is low, energy output can end up lower than energy input (calories consumed). When there is no additional sporting exercise being had, this most likely is contributing to the weight gain or maintenance you are seeing. Not moving enough on a day to day basis may require an increase in your daily step count (aim for a daily step goal of 8-10k a day).
Creating movement habits by setting aside time specific to achieving your goal is a good way to increase daily NEAT. For example: ‘I will leave for work half an hour early and walk instead of drive.’ or ‘I will make a conscious effort to take the stairs instead of elevator this week.’ or ‘I will go between standing and sitting when working from home.’ Morning is a good time to utilise for extra steps and even a workout if you find evenings too consuming and tiring.
Not adopting a long term approach to weight loss
If you are serious about losing weight for good, realism is your friend. Discipline and determination are mindset qualities that will help your journey, but realism and patience are also important. There is no ‘magic pill’ to lose weight. So unrealistic expectations will just send you relapsing back to old unhealthy habits. Think long term! Creating habits that contribute to a healthy lifestyle allows you to maintain successful results long term; Habits such as scheduling and prioritising training sessions to fit in with your working day.
Fad diets can also be classed as a short term approach to weight loss. The BDA defines a fad diet as the kind of plan where you eat a very restrictive diet with few foods or an unusual combination of foods for a short period of time and often lose weight very quickly. However, most people then get fed-up with the restrictions, start eating more, choose less healthy foods and pile the pounds back on.
Overestimating calorie burn
If the amount of energy you take in is less than the amount of energy you burn you will lose weight. However, if this is calculated incorrectly you can fall into an overestimating trap and you won’t get your desired results.
Hitting your daily step goal and planned workouts will help keep this in check, providing you are sticking to your calorie deficit. Another point to mention is over emphasising aerobic training with no weight training, without considering maximum calories burnt. Yes aerobic training may burn more calories in 1 hour (depending on intensity), but what about the calories you continue to burn after weight training? Studies have demonstrated that after a weight-training workout, metabolism can be boosted for up to 38 hours post-workout. Weight training also contributes to muscle growth, and more muscle requires more energy equating to more calories burnt even at rest. Weight training also tends to have a positive effect on sleep, a factor that contributes to successful weight loss. Ideally, a combination of weight training and aerobic training are optimal for weight loss.
‘Guesstimating’ calorie intake
Tracking apps are not 100% accurate, and certainly not feasible long term. However, by not tracking what you eat in any way, especially when starting a weight loss plan, you are basically guessing your calorie intake. This will only limit your understanding of what is truly going into your body. How are you going to lose weight when you don’t know what you are roughly consuming? Tracking your calorie intake SHORT term will educate you on this process and highlight the potential pitfalls of weight loss and maintenance of goals . Eventually, you will have a good grasp on portion control, understanding when your body is thirsty and not hungry , managing cravings, using calories with maximum nutritional value and recognising comfort eating to name a few. This knowledge will support you long term to maintain your fitness goals.
Accountability can be vital when trying to achieve any goal in life, and along with expertise your chances are greatly improved. Contact us today for advice and guidance on your fitness goals: Contact PGPT