Common Weight Loss Mistakes

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES

Weight loss is not easy.  It takes hard work, dedication, and sweat to lose weight and keep it off.   People did not decide to become overweight, but the changes in the environment have made it easier for us to have access to unhealthy food options and more sedentary lifestyles. 
It takes a long time to put on weight.  Keep in mind you might have seen an increase of a pound here or there, but making little changes helped keep it under control.  Then, out of nowhere, it became five or ten pounds or more, and it just does not come off that easily.  Let me explain why.
Every time you turn the corner, there is a new weight loss diet coming at you full bore.  You have heard all of them state the same thing about weight loss.   You can lose so much weight with this or that plan; this plan will increase your energy; that plan will work without dieting at all.   Did you know that if you Google "weight loss plans," or even "diets," you get roughly 86 million different pages!   No wonder why we are so confused about weight loss!  We are inundated with too much information, that weeding through all of them can be overwhelming.
Most of the time weight gain takes months, or even years, to add up.  There is no easy way to take it off either, no magic wand that can take the weight off and return you to your high school weight.  There are many weight-loss supplements that can help raise your metabolism which can help you lose weight, however, which product can you trust and who makes the best one?
Want to be lean and fit?  Then follow these five weight loss tips that the Pros might have kept hidden from you:
Top Five Mistakes
Mistake #1: Do you skip the most important meal of the day?
Breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day.  Not only can skipping breakfast seriously alter your metabolism for the day, but it can also lead to weight gain.  Eating breakfast in the morning sparks your metabolism, and helps you burn calories.  It takes energy to break down food, so your metabolism starts up and is maintained until you eat next. 
Recommendation:  Get up a few minutes earlier and have breakfast.  This can start your day off right.  Try to incorporate high-quality protein sources that provide good fats and carbohydrates that have plenty of fiber in them.   The fiber will keep you fuller for a longer period of time until you eat again.
Mistake #2: Not eating enough metabolism-boosting protein
The metabolism-boosting tissue on our bodies is muscle.  Muscles consist of water, trace minerals, and protein.  By adding protein, you are providing the body with the building blocks it needs to maintain adequate muscle mass.   Protein provides the body with essential and non-essential amino acids, which help build muscle and can help burn fat.
Recommendations:  To benefit from metabolism-boosting protein, it is recommended to eat 1gm or more per kg of bodyweight.  This will provide the body with enough protein to maintain proper muscle tissue.  In order to increase the amount of muscle you have, or if you are an athlete, then the protein requirements may go up.  It is recommended to talk with a dietitian to develop the right plan for you for optimal performance and weight loss.
Mistake #3: The workout you might be doing can lead to weight gain
That’s right, the exact workout you are doing might be leading to extra weight gain.  Before you stop reading right here, let me explain how your workout might just be the problem.
Not everyone prescribes the same type of program, and most utilize the staples: cardiovascular work and muscle strengthening.  Now, each one is important to the overall workout process, and both can help you lose weight.  However, there are some people who only prescribe one of the two listed above.   Most people think the more cardio they do, the better their weight loss results. Why is this wrong?  Read on to learn the secrets.
Cardio does do a lot of good for the body.  It helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system, helps to burn more calories in a 30-minute block, and can dramatically alter our lipid profile.  However, most people do not follow the typical guidelines of only 30-60 minutes in one workout.  Most people go beyond the 60 minutes, which then goes from fat burning and shifts to muscle burning.   Muscle is, by far, our greatest weapon.
The more muscle tissue we have, the more we use our fat during the workout, and after.   The exact workout that you are doing is eating this fat burning super weapon and might be leading to excess storage of fat.  Making sure that you are incorporating a strength training workout in with your cardio will help preserve your fat burning potential, and help you burn extra calories at rest. 
Incorporating strength training and increasing your protein intake (see #2) will help to keep your fat burning tissue in place, and help utilize that extra fat that is sitting around your abdominals or other areas of the body.
Recommendations: Incorporate the right type of strength program for you, to help men build more muscle and help women build metabolism-boosting lean muscle tissue.   There are many different plans and protocols that you can use to help maximize your strength training routine results and help you shed those unwanted pounds.  Talk to a professional to get guidance on the best program for you.
Mistake #4: Not feeding the “machine” right after your workout
Athletes know about it.  Strength coaches, dietitians, and sports nutritionists do too.  The timing of nutrition post workout is just as important as the rest of the day’s nutrition.  There is a small window of opportunity post workout to halt the breakdown of muscle, and help burn extra fat.  This window, commonly referred to as the anabolic window, is a time when the body is very sensitive to insulin.  Having a smaller snack with protein and carbs allows for greater breakdown and shuttling of the nutrients into the cells.   This allows your body not only to be better hydrated, but it also helps with refueling the body with essential nutrients you need to help build muscle and burn fat.
Recommendations: A small meal or snack that has the right combination of protein and carbohydrates within 45 minutes after your workout.   A great snack that provides the right combination of carbs to proteins is milk or a post-workout meal shake.
Mistake #5:  Do you overeat, or not eat enough?
This one could be, by far, the biggest challenge facing most exercisers and people looking to lose weight.   The fact is nutrition, and more specifically your calorie intake, is by far one of the most important steps in losing weight and keeping it off.   Confused?  Here is the easy explanation.
Calories are important to weight loss success.   Maintaining a caloric deficit is the normal way to lose weight.  However, not taking in enough calories can have detrimental effects on your weight loss success.  Your body’s basal metabolic rate determines the amount of calories you need in order to maintain your weight and daily activities.  To lose weight, you subtract enough calories from this number, and vice versa to gain weight.   There is no magic number, but what is typically recommended is about 500 calories per day, which for 7 days equals about 3500 calories, or one pound of fat.   This number is usually accomplished through a combination of diet and exercise.
Cutting your calories to dangerously low levels only creates havoc in your body.  Your body usually shifts into conservation mode, and starts metabolizing muscle and spares your fat stores.  This results in slower metabolism and higher fat stores.
Recommendations: Maintain appropriate calorie intake, but include three meals per day and possibly include healthy snacks.  Most meals and snacks should include lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and have more healthy fats including some moderate levels of some saturated fats, which can be beneficial to health.  Minimize the use of calorie-dense foods and baked goods since they include a lot of trans fatty acids, which has been shown to lead to heart disease and some cancers.   To find out where you are lacking in calories, keep a journal and write everything down that goes into your mouth.  This will show you where you might be able to increase in calories for optimal weight loss.
Losing weight, and keeping it off, takes hard work and dedication to stay on course.  Making sure you are eating correctly by incorporating the right foods, eating enough calories, not skipping meals, and eating at the right time will help you to keep your waistline slim.  Also, maintaining an active lifestyle by exercising regularly with the right strength and cardiovascular program will helpmaintain your metabolism-boosting tissue and keeping your fat burning at an accelerated rate.


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