3) Not Exercising Enough
To truly lose weight we have to create a calorie deficit. Therefore we have to focus on burning enough calories each day and week to drop weight. One pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. So to lose one pound of fat a week you must burn 500 more calories than you consume each day.
To burn calories, I tell clients that you can do this in multiple ways. One way is by having an active lifestyle. This is important and it does count in the calorie burning equation, however, things like chasing your kids, gardening, and everyday movements will not usually be enough to help lose weight and keep it off.
Another option is to exercise the old fashioned way. I recommend 3-4 days of resistance training each week. Resistance training is important for challenging and protecting lean muscle and increasing your metabolism. Resistance training should involve the larger muscle groups like the legs, back and chest. Make sure you give your body a day of rest in between each full body session.
In addition, you also need to focus on aerobic exercise like jogging, biking and fast walking. Aerobic (cardio) exercise is great for the heart and lungs and using your lean muscle mass to burn calories. I recommend getting 4-5 aerobic sessions in each week at 20-30 minutes per session.
4) Exercising Too Much
We live in a society where most people assume more is always better. I often get this question asked, “can I exercise too much?” The answer is, “yes, you can!” No matter what your goals are, too much hard exercise can be counterproductive. Why? The right amount of exercise with proper nutrition can help your muscles burn fat at a high rate. However, excessive exercise and calorie burning can actually prime your body to store fat. The body can only burn fat for a short period of time. Our body has a survival mode where it will try to hold on to fat for survival. When you exercise too much or for too long your body will stop burning fat and actually shift to breaking down muscle. When we lose muscle we actually lose our ability to burn fat. Muscle is also linked to our metabolism so this will slow down as well. A large calorie deficit of 1000 or more will sacrifice muscle and most likely cause you to store more fat. Try to stick to the 500 calorie deficit per day. This will allow you to lose more fat and hold on to more muscle long term.
5) Eating Too Much
Eating excessive calories is probably the number one reason people are not losing weight. With the rise of fast foods and unhealthy foods everywhere we turn it is no wonder that obesity has affected our population so much. It is said that Americans today eat 30% more than they did 20 year ago. Food is sold in bigger containers, and portions in restaurants have increased as well.
When you eat more than your body burns these calories will most likely be stored as fat. The most effective way to treat overeating is to focus on eating less food but not starving yourself. Focus on eating smaller portions, but also eating fewer calories. An easy way to do this is to eat smaller more frequent meals, and control the size of the portions you are getting. In addition, you should aim to have less fat in your meals (fat is higher in calories than protein and carbohydrates) and concentrate on getting leaner proteins, and more fruits and veggies. These natural foods will fill you up and be used efficiently for energy.
6) Not Eating Breakfast
If you want to really lose weight and keep it off you must eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for many reasons. Studies show that people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be overweight.
The average 8 hour sleep burns 450 calories. You must try to eat within 60-90 minutes after waking. Adding breakfast is what starts your metabolism up and prepares it to burn the rest of the day. If you skip breakfast your metabolism slows down and your blood sugar drops. You will increase hunger, have less energy and most likely store fat. You will crave high sugar, high fat foods, and tend to crave calories late at night. A recent study from the Weight Control Registry out of those who lost at least 30 pounds and maintained it for at least one year ate breakfast every single morning.
Part 3 coming soon!