Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top 10 Weight Loss Mistakes, How to Lose Weight

Today I want to talk about the top ten mistakes that people make when they’re trying to lose weight.

If your weight loss regimen or your weight loss goal is stressing you out, and you are stressing over the number of calories you’re eating or you’re stressing over what the scale says every morning or something, you want to recognize that when your body is releasing a lot of stress hormones and you’re really stressed out, your body is not in a fat-burning mode.
If you are trying to lose weight, one of the very worst things you can do is stress yourself out over trying to lose weight. Now of course we as humans naturally stress ourselves out over things, we’re hard on ourselves, but if you recognize that stressing yourself out is preventing you from losing weight, that will also help you place importance on relieving yourself from stress.
The next mistake is to fall into the trap of wanting instant results, instant gratification- I want to lose 20 pounds in one week. There are definitely some weight loss regimens and different cleanses and things like that that have claims that they are going to help you shed anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds in a week, and while there are definitely some health benefits to some of these cleanses and some of these weight loss regimens probably actually can help you lose that much weight, I just want to point out that “easy come easy go” and the other way around.
If you are losing 10 pounds or 20 pounds in a week, you just want to recognize that this probably not real sustainable weight loss. So most people aren’t just trying to lose weight for a week and then go back to the way they looked, you want to have a sustainable weight loss goal, you want to be on a general trend of losing weight in a health way. This tip is just pointing out that if you’re going for that instant gratification or instant results, it’s probably not going to have a sustainable or healthy outcome.
Doctors in general will recommend that losing one to two pounds per week is healthy weight loss, and losing much more than one or two pounds per week is probably not so healthy, and also is going to result in excess or flappy skin as your body is actually losing weight more quickly than your skin can readjust and tighten.
The next mistake is extreme calorie restriction. Now while restricting your calories or reducing the number of calories you’re consuming will help you lose weight, and while a lot of people can afford to cut back on the amount of calories that they’re eating, if you are on a starvation diet, or you are not eating at all or really severely restricting your calories, not only are you going to be losing fat, but over time you’ll be losing your muscle mass as well, and that’s going to make you weaker and diminish a lot of your strength and stuff, in addition to leading to nutritional deficiencies and leading you to a state that’s pretty unhealthy and pretty unsustainable in terms of not only helping you keep the weight off but helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle. So while calorie restriction in and of itself can be useful in losing weight and in dieting, extreme calorie restriction and starving yourself is a mistake if you’re trying to lose weight.
So when you think about losing weight, what do you think of? Arguably most people think of diets, or dieting, going on a diet, but really in truly while dieting and adjusting the foods that you eat can certainly help prevent you from gaining excessive weight that you might be gaining on a different diet, it’s actually the exercise that helps you to burn fat. So of course eating a healthy diet is very very important and we’ll get to that later, but exercising is crucial, and if you’re expecting to lose weight just by changing your diet and without exercising, it’s certainly possible but it’s really not nearly as affective as making sure that you’re getting 30-40 minutes of good -breaking a sweat, your heart is beating- exercise at least 3-5 times a week.
So on the flip side of that coin, this next mistake is depending solely on exercising to lose weight without changing your diet. Now again it certainly is possible that you could not change your diet at all, and start exercising and actually lose some weight, but it’s important to recognize that as long you are eating foods that promote the storage of fat- so empty calories and high sugary foods, high fatty foods- your body is fat-storage mode and in order for your body to be in a fat burning mode, you’ve got to be burning more than you’re eating. So if you’re not adjusting your diet and you’re not eating a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods, then your exercising may just be kind of like helping you stay at the same weight or maybe you’re still actually losing weight, but you’re not going to have any real significant weight loss if you’re not adjusting your diet to be more healthy and to eliminate foods that are causing you to gain weight while you’re trying to lose weight.
So when I talk about healthy foods or avoiding foods that cause us to gain weight, I want to bring up the idea of the empty calorie again, and I’ve talked about this in previous videos. When I first heard the term empty calorie, which often describes things that are really high in fat or really high carbs like potato chips, “Oh it’s just empty calories…”
It has this notion like they’re just calories that disappear, they just kind of dissipate into the air and go away. Well no, that’s not what an empty calorie does at all.
Basically an empty calorie just means that it’s empty of nutrition, it doesn’t actually contain any nutrients, or any protein or any of the nutritive elements our body needs and so really that calorie is turning straight into fat. So some calories we eat, our body turns to energy and some calories we eat, your body has nothing to do with it but turn it into fat.
So what is an empty calorie? Maybe it’s easier to think about what is a whole, natural food and I’ve done videos on this as well, but foods that contain whole grains, of course fruits and vegetables which in themselves they are a whole food, these are things that are very nutrient-dense, those calories you ingest them, your body uses them, that’s turning into the energy that’s helping you run later that day. Whereas when you’re eating refined sugars, refined carbs, hydrogenated or highly processed oils, these are empty calories. Basically that’s your junk food, your fast food, there’s like I said another video about this as well, but this mistake is eating the wrong things, you’re still eating empty calories, you’re still eating things that are causing you to gain weight and it’s definitely not going to be helping you to lose weight.
The next mistake is going on a low fat or no fat diet. The truth is our bodies need fat to make things like our brain cells; in fact all of the cellular membranes of every cell in our body contain a layer of fat, so it’s really important that we are incorporating good. healthy fats into our diets. So that’s omega-3 fatty acids, avocados have a lot of really good healthy fat in them. If you are under the impression that fat in equals fat on your body, I just want to point out that most of the weight that is on our bodies is actually coming from carbs, so you hear about a beer belly or about eating potato chips.
When we are eating carbohydrates and especially when we’re eating refined carbohydrates, or processed foods, that turns directly into fat. So you can just kind of look at that bag of potato chips and picture it on your belly, but if you’re feeling like “Oh no I can’t eat any fat, I’m trying to eliminate fat from my diet,” that’s a big big weight loss mistake. Not only is it going to be unhealthy for you, but it’s not really helping you lose weight. What you want to do is be focusing on reducing the amount of empty calories, of refined carbohydrates from your diet, and really having a balanced diet all the way around without eliminating any one thing from your diet at all.
The next mistake is to rely on the nutritional claims made on the packaging of foods. So there’s Diet Coke, there’s fat-free this, there’s almost always a fat-free or diet version of any unhealthy food that you find, and there’s a couple things I want to point out. A) A lot of times whatever they are doing to the food to make it “fat free” or “sugar free” is often way less healthy for you—so we’re talking about artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and these different short cuts that companies can do to their food so that they can put that claim on there, doesn’t necessarily make it a healthier food for you.
Secondly, it’s really easy for us to see something like “diet” or “low fat” and our brains to go “Oh this is going to help me lose weight or this is a health food.” But a Diet Coke is still NOT a health food, it’s going to spike your blood sugar and make you hungry, it’s going to have a lot of artificial sweeteners in it which have their own slew of health problems. So it’s kind of a decision for us to just recognize that just because it has a nutritional claim doesn’t mean it’s healthy for me or doesn’t mean it’s going to help me lose weight. In one of my previous videos about whole and processed foods, I said that whole, natural, healthy foods don’t make nutritional claims because they’re just plain nutritious, and that kind of comes in here as well, which is that we don’t want to be relying on nutritional claims made on a packaging when it’s still a processed, unhealthy food.
The next mistake would be turning to some kind of prescription or over-the-counter drug or supplement that’s claiming it can help you lose weight. Fen Phen a couple years back was a really big one that ended up with really bad results and going off the market and everything. So I’m not real familiar with a whole lot of the different drugs that are out there now and certainly your doctor could let you know if there are some that really can help you with healthy weight loss, but in general I would say turning to over the counter drugs or anything like that is not a good idea, because we don’t really know exactly what all the different side effects are and in a lot of cases the side effects they do know about are bad enough already, but ultimately they just don’t always know what the long terms effects of a lot of these drugs are, and that is really scary to us when looking at our health down the road. And also I don’t believe that most of these drugs are going to give you the sustainable, prolonged weight loss that most people are looking for. By far the best way to lose weight in a healthy sustainable way is exercising and altering your diet to contain more healthy nutritional foods, and relying on drugs to do it for you is probably just going to make it worse.
The last mistake that I want to address is going “on a diet” in general, which is that you’ve maybe put yourself in a mindset of “I’m going to go on this extreme diet for this amount of time and I’m going to lose all this weight,” and it may work, you may go on that extreme diet and lose a lot of weight but its really, probably not very sustainable, and as soon as you go back to living your lifestyle the way you’ve been living it up until now, all that weight is going to come back. So this tip is about getting out of that “in a diet” “on a diet” mindset and just recognizing that simple, sustainable changes to your lifestyle and to the way that you’re living on a day-to-day basis are going to go a lot longer in helping you lose weight and keep it off looking down into the future.
So the diet mindset makes us feel like “I’m going to be starving all the time and its going to be really horrible;” just the word “diet” in general brings up a lot of pain for a lot of people. So if you can realize that you don’t have to go on some extreme diet to lose weight, you can actually make small, sustainable changes to your lifestyle that are going to help you lose weight and keep it off and you will be on your way to losing weight sooner than you even know.