There are thousands of people every year that make their New Year’s resolution to lose weight. THIS is the year you are going to shed those pounds, fit into your skinny jeans, and strut your new physique at work. This is the year you cut out all fast food, excess sugar, and finally work out the recommended amount every week. Yet, it never fails that come February, most people are out of the gym, back on the couch, and stuffing that ice cream into their mouths. So, what happened? You were SO incredibly motivated and excited about your new goals, but then when it came down to actually taking the steps to reach those goals, your motivation tanked. Why is that? Is it possible that you are sabotaging your own weight loss? That seems absurd doesn’t it? You are the one making those goals so why would you want to ruin them? Well, chances are you don’t even know you are doing it! Here is a comprehensive list of possible reasons your weight loss goals keep hitting the wayside and tips on how to prevent it from happening to YOU this year.
1. Too big of goals with unrealistic timelines
Weight loss isn’t a “quick fix.” It took a good couple of years to put that weight on; it’s not going to all come off over a few months. The key to making and reaching your goals is to start small. If you cut everything out at once you end up feeling deprived and more than likely will give in and give up. Look at your goals and ask yourself just how attainable they really are. Maybe cut out soda one month and then once your body is adjusted to that, cut out your pizza addiction the next month. Make little goals that are realistic and achievable. If you fail with one goal, just make a different one and make a note to yourself to try that again next month. Don’t make a goal to drop 20 pounds straight off the bat because chances are you will start to feel defeated when you aren’t seeing that drastic change right away.
2. Focusing on quantity over quality
When people are looking to lose weight, they often say, “I need to cut back on my calories.” In reality, they may be eating the recommended amount of daily calories, but they are probably just getting their calories from the wrong foods.
Don’t try to deprive yourself. That is the first wrong step people take when trying to better their health. Don’t skip meals, don’t count calories, don’t pass on that cookie that you are craving so much to eat that you have drool puddles on your office papers (it’s okay to splurge on little treats once in awhile!). Skipping meals makes you feel sluggish and run down. You are missing opportunities to nourish your body with the vitamins and minerals you are supposed to consume every day. Skipping meals also puts your body into ‘starvation mode.’ This can make you ravenous at your next meal and cause you to ingest more calories than if you would have eaten when you were hungry the first time around.
3. Sticking to a strict eating schedule
Aside from skipping meals, you also don’t want to have strict eating routines where you eat 3 meals every day and nothing else. That approach may work for some people, but for others, maybe not so much. Often you may need a healthy snack midday to keep your blood sugar up and energy levels soaring. Your body knows what you need more than your mind does. Listen to it. Slow down while you are eating and listen to the cues your body is giving you. It will tell you when you’re full, and it will tell you when you need a little snack to keep you going. Don’t ignore those signals.
4. Assuming that since you worked out today you can sit all day or eat whatever you want
Just because you work out during the day doesn’t mean that you can just sit the rest of the day. It doesn’t quite work like that. Research has proven that there is a direct link between the amount of time you spend sitting in a day and your risk of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even suffering from premature death. These statistics hold true even if you get the recommended amount of exercise in daily. So do yourself a favor and move that glorious body of yours! Stand at your desk at work instead of sitting, take walk breaks, stretch, jump, dance, whatever you want as long you’re moving!
Desk job? Try these simple exercises you can squeeze in while at the office to get your heart pumping!
Exercising also doesn’t mean you can devour those candy bars or that extra helping of pizza. It’s okay to splurge once in a while, but if you are trying to lose weight, it’s important to realize that you are burning those calories to put yourself at a deficit that day. In order to lose weight, you have to take in fewer calories than you burn. So put that snickers back on the shelf because you deserve something more nutritious to nourish your body!
5. Relying on quick, easy meals
There’s a reason that quick packaged meals are usually not the healthiest for you. Packaged food products usually undergo more processing and can contain artificial ingredients, added sugars, and chemicals you have never heard of. A good rule of thumb to go by when buying groceries is if there are more than 5 ingredients and you are getting to the point where you can’t pronounce them, don’t buy it! Try to keep the ingredients list under 5 because this ensures that you are know what you are eating and it’s not all filler. Unless of course 2 or 3 of those ingredients are sugars, then it may be best to pass up if you don’t want a blood sugar crash later on! Another rule, if it doesn’t have a label, such as fruits and vegetables, it’s free game! Stock up on those bad boys because they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Using the excuse that there just isn’t enough time to make healthy meals during the week? Start preparing everything on Sunday! Make enough meals to get you and your family through the week. Chop all the veggies, organize the fruits, separate all the meals into containers so they are ready to just pop in your car in the morning or in your kid’s lunch boxes on their way to the bus. A prepped meal is a happy meal!
6. Not switching up your diet
When you eat the same foods day after day, week after week, you may be missing out on important nutrients. If certain vitamins and minerals aren’t in the foods you’re normally eating, then you will inevitably become deficient in them. Not to mention that it can just become boring! And if you get bored with your food you are more apt to cave to unhealthy cravings. So break out of your comfort zone! Try new foods you were afraid to try before… Eggplant, parsnips, artichoke (DELICIOUS by the way), rutabaga, bok choy… All not as common vegetables that have plenty to offer you nutrition-wise and taste pallet-wise.
7. Trying to follow workout trends
Every year seems to bring with it new fitness trend that everyone has to jump on to be considered “with it.” In 2014 HIIT (High intensity interval training) hit the circuit with a bang, boasting faster weight loss and leaner muscles than any other workout could provide. Then in 2015 body weight training became the top fitness trend, letting people know that they didn’t need equipment to reach their dream bod. Just their own body resistance. Weight training and every yoga imaginable also really stepped up its following. As for 2016, well that’s still coming into focus. Fitness experts predict that it will be the same trends as 2015, but with more people tracking it electronically. See those smart watches, fitness trackers, and GPS and heart rate monitors? In a lot of people’s minds, if their watch didn’t “track” it, it’s like the workout didn’t even happen! Which is, obviously, not the right way to look at things.
Regardless, just because everyone else jumped on a fitness trend, doesn’t mean that you have to! I recommend giving them a try to see if you really enjoy it, and if you do, by all means exercise it up! But if you don’t, don’t feel like you have to continue doing those workouts to fit in with your friends. Find an exercise that works for you and stick with it to get the best results.
8. Repeating the same workout at the same intensity
Now, if you finally found the exercise that you love and works for you, make sure not to just repeat the same workouts day in and day out, especially if you are looking to lose weight. For example, if you enjoy running, don’t simply run at the same pace for 30 minutes every day. You may lose a little weight in the beginning, but your body and muscles will eventually become accustomed to that workout and it will stop being as effective. So change it up! Throw in some high-speed interval workouts, a few long runs, and some exercise drills such as butt-kicks or skipping. Don’t forget about cross-training! No matter what your favorite exercise is, it’s good to switch it up at least once or twice a week. For instance, biking, rollerblading, weight lifting, yoga, and kick boxing all work different muscles and will be sure to keep your muscles guessing! This is good because worked muscles are growing muscles!
9. Not maximizing nutrients
Did you know that the way you prepare certain vegetables determines whether or not you are getting the most nutrients out of them? It’s true! For instance, if you eat tomatoes raw, you are getting less lycopene than if you would have cooked them first, since cooking releases more lycopene. Carrots are also better cooked because it breaks down their rigid cell walls and allows you to better retain their nutrients and beta carotene. Broccoli on the other hand is better eaten raw. It is said to contain cancer fighting properties that are in significantly higher quantities when eaten raw. So dig up some research on your favorite vegetables to make sure you are preparing them correctly to get the most nutrient bang for your buck!
10. Punishing yourself for slip-ups
Everyone has days where their motivation tanks and they eat everything in their path. Or maybe you just got swamped at work and with social activities that you didn’t have time to fit in your workout. It’s normal. Life happens. The important thing is to not dwell on it and just move on because you know what? Tomorrow is a new day! Start with fresh spirits and you’re more likely to keep pushing in the right direction.
11. Not making exercise/diet a priority
You can’t just assume that your weight will drop off by itself from making a few tweaks to your daily routine. Losing weight is a serious commitment and should be treated like one. It shouldn’t feel like a chore to you, though! That’s why you have to experiment with foods you like and exercises you LOVE so living and eating healthy becomes an EASY and essential part of your normal routine.
12. Not drinking enough water
Water is essential to life. The average human body is made up of roughly 50-65% water. That’s a lot of water! Often people mistake their feelings of thirst for hunger and end up overeating as a result. Experts recommend to “drink the recommended amount of 8 cups of water per day,” but every person is different. How much you need to consume all depends on body weight, physical activity, and diet. That recommendation is good guidance to go by, but don’t beat yourself up if you are under or over that because everyone is different and has different hydration needs. Just sip water throughout the day, and remember that if you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
13. Relying solely on FAD diets or “tricks” to lose weight
There are many websites or products out there that claim to be “miracle workers.” “Use these pills or this product and you will have drastic weight loss!” Or stating that taking something every day, like a pill or a juice, will reduce your cholesterol levels. Now, the claims they make MAY be accurate, but only when used in combination with an active lifestyle AND healthy diet. Nothing is a quick fix, and you have to adjust your whole lifestyle to see the weight loss you want.
14. Not lifting weights
When you are trying to lose weight, most people focus on cardio more than anything else. It would be beneficial to note, however, that muscles burn more calories than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. So focus on adding weight lifting into your routine because for every pound of muscle you have, it burns 6 calories a day to sustain itself. Fat only burns 2 calories. That may not seem like much, but after a high intensity workout, those muscles are activated for a good chunk of the day, meaning they are burning more calories while you are resting. Sounds pretty great, huh? That’s because it is.
Yes, muscle does weigh more than fat so if you are losing fat but also lifting weights, you may not lose any weight. Don’t get discouraged if this happens because you will still be healthier none-the-less, which is really your overall goal.
15. Negative thoughts, negative thoughts, negative thoughts!
You are your worst critic! You won’t be happy if you are constantly telling yourself that you are going to fail. Stop putting yourself down, stop comparing yourself to others, and just stop all negative thoughts! You have to believe in yourself and have confidence that you are going to achieve your goals. Envision what you want. It’s been proven that envisioning yourself succeeding in a task makes you mentally stronger and more capable of dealing with setback or weakness when it tries to creep in. Also remember to keep positive and motivational company! You want friends that are going to build you up rather than put you down. And remember, YOU’RE PRETTY GREAT! So, keep on keeping on. You will get there someday!
Recognize any bad habits in this list that you may have? It’s never too late to change your life! Stay positive, stay motivated, work hard, and of course, stay rooted. 🙂