Weight loss – something that really steps up a notch this time of year as everyone starts thinking about the summer and generally having to wear fewer/smaller clothes. I get asked about it all the time – what’s the best way to lose weight, how do I lose fat around my tummy, should I go on a detox….?

 

There are no two ways about it….losing weight is hard work. During the first couple of weeks it can seem like a breeze. You’re full of motivation, enthusiastic about making changes and feel like nothing can possibly stop you in your tracks. Plus, weight loss usually comes easily in those early days.

 

However, once reality kicks in, the diet, the exercise, the weight loss can all get a lot harder to maintain. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In my experience there are a few key weight loss mistakes which I see people making, and addressing these can make a big difference to the final outcome.

 

So, if you’re thinking about embarking on a bit of a healthy kick over the next few months, make sure you take notice….

 

MISTAKE #1 = YOU’RE EITHER ‘ON’ OR YOU’RE ‘OFF’

When you’re on a diet you’re very very good. Your body is a temple. No-one and nothing is going to throw you off track. But when you’re finished with it and you’re ‘off’ a diet you’re very very bad! The result is weight that is constantly fluctuating which means you’re rarely in a happy place with your body. So, there needs to be a middle ground – a place where you’re focused on continual improvement and long-term change, rather than chasing the rush of the quick fix. Choosing a couple of things to focus on at a time is sustainable. Dieting? Not so much.

 

MISTAKE #2 = YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

This is you if you say stuff like ‘I have to have sugar’ or ‘I don’t have time for breakfast’. You’ve created certain beliefs that are always going to hold you back. This is also you if you’ve ever uttered the words ‘I did XXX diet before and that worked really well so I’ll just do that again’. It only worked if you kept the weight off…if you’re back where you started having already done that diet once, twice, ten times, IT DID NOT WORK!!!!

 

So, before you embark on lifestyle changes, open up your mind first and believe that change is ALWAYS possible. Be willing to change the way you view things and be ready to try a new approach. Yes, it takes work, but belief and mindset have to come first.

 

 

MISTAKE #3 = ONLY CONSIDERING DIET AND EXERCISE

When you want to lose weight, you can’t do that successfully without also considering other lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep and self-care. If you are highly stressed, not sleeping enough and not taking care of yourself day to day, it’s going to be a whole lot harder to lose weight (particularly around your tummy).

 

Stress and lack of sleep will make your body release more cortisol. If that happens then your body is more likely to hold onto weight. And you’re more likely to eat lots of cake when it all gets a bit too much. So, as part of your planning (see mistake 4) make sure you take this into account as well and make the necessary changes to reduce stress in your life.

 

MISTAKE #4 = NOT HAVING A PLAN

I’m a big fan of having a plan, particularly when it comes to making sure you achieve what you want to with your diet and fitness. It’s all very well deciding you’re going to eat better and/or exercise more, but you need to know how you’re going to do that.

 

For example, you might know that you need to work out 4 times a week, but you’ll soon get stuck if you don’t reorganise other parts of your life to ensure you’ll fit it in, and if you don’t quite know what exercise you’re going to do. At the start of each week write down what sessions you want to do (including what kind of session its going to be – run, class, weights, gym) and when you’re going to do them so you can arrange your week accordingly. Similarly when it comes to nutrition, you need to know what changes you want/need to make and how you’re going to do them.

 

MISTAKE #5 = YOU STICK TO STEADY STATE CARDIO ONLY

Cardio is great – it makes you feel like you’ve had a great session, it gives you ‘calorie burn’  and it’s probably pretty familiar to you. Weight / resistance work on the other hand may not be something you’ve done before, BUT if you want to make changes to your body it has to be a really important part of your routine. Long, slow cardio stresses your body and can encourage you to hold onto fat. Weight training on the other hand will help you to build and tone muscle and is a sure-fire way of getting you closer to the results you really want to see (and a lot more quickly!)

 

MISTAKE #6 = YOU CUT TOO MANY CALORIES

Cutting lots of calories may seem like the obvious choice when you want to lose weight, and if you want a quick boost or aren’t losing enough, cutting further is really tempting.

 

However, cutting back too far can just slow your metabolism – your body ends up burning muscle to make up for the lack of calories (and more muscle means your body is burning more calories every single day), plus your body starts to think its going into starvation mode and it holds onto fat as much as it possibly can by slowing your metabolism even further. In the short term you may get some weight loss, but this will just get harder and harder as your metabolism continues to fall. Not to mention the fact that once you start eating normally you’ll pile on the weight even more quickly (hence why so many people end up even heavier than they were before they started dieting). Focus instead on quality – plenty of protein, veg, good fats and slow release carbs, as well as getting in plenty of water too!

 

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking lots more about How to Lose Weight Successfully so look out then for more, but also make sure you send me any questions that you have in the meantime. I hope you all have a really great day!

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