1. Starving yourself
Oh, the classic! It makes sense on the mathematical front – less calories in vs calories out leads to weight loss... but not quite!
Consuming too little calories can put the brakes on your metabolism as the body slows down all its processes. Also, during ‘starvation’ dieting, you’re not only losing fat mass, you’re also losing lean muscle mass. You do NOT want to lose lean muscle, as it is a very active tissue that helps keep your metabolism up while dieting.
At a minimum, you need to consume enough calories each day to match your resting metabolic rate.
2. Drinking a lot of juices and smoothies
Packed with calories
When you consume freshly squeezed juice, you are just getting natural fruit sugar (fructose) and water, without any of the fiber. It may seem like a weight-friendly option, but juices are actually pretty high in calories. Fructose acts just like refined white sugar in the body, so your body actually experiences a very similar effect to sugary soda.
Leaves you feeling less than full
Liquid meals are very quickly absorbed through the gut, providing a large sugar rush to the body. They also don’t leave you feeling full for very long either, making you want to consume additional calories sooner than you would if you had consumed a more solid meal.
Consider eating more solid meals and cutting down on liquid meals.
3. Drinking diet soft drinks
Scientific studies show that those who consume more diet soft drinks are more likely to gain weight. Turns out that the body can’t really tell the difference between artificial sweeteners and regular sugar. Oops!
Artificial sweeteners, like regular sugar, can cause an insulin spike in the body. What this means is that the artificial sweetener triggers your brain to think that calories are coming, and then when they don’t, you crave more carbs.
In another strike against diet soft drinks, artificial sweeteners have been shown to change your gut bacteria in such a way that promotes more fat storage.
Please note that artificial sweeteners are still recommended for diabetics over regular white sugar because they do not contain carbohydrates that raise blood sugar.
4. Skipping on sleep
I can not emphasize enough how important sleep is for your health and weight loss efforts. During sleep, your body goes through the most repair and rejuvenation. The majority of your lean muscle building and appetite hormone regulation is taken care of during the sleeping state. Inadequate sleep upsets your hormone balance, which decreases leptin (a hormone that makes a person feel full) and increases ghrelin (a hormone that triggers hunger).
Getting less than 7 hours of sleep sets you up for lowered impulse (aka food craving) control and compromised metabolism the next day.
5. Rewarding workouts with unhealthy treats
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you've earned an extra slice (or two) of pizza after that intense spin class or extra lap around the track, but the habit of post-workout food rewards can quickly become a stumbling block on your journey to weight loss. A single donut can easily erase that entire HOUR of hard work at the gym! Every calorie counts.
6. Going overboard on cardio
Your training program should consist of a combination of cardio and strength-building exercises. Strength training helps build lean muscle, which is an important factor in healthy weight loss.
Tip: Remember to factor in rest days in your weekly routine to prevent burnout or injury. You might be extra motivated because you have a wedding or vacation coming up and you find yourself doing intense workouts every day or more than once a day. However, you should be aware that overdoing the exercise can harm your body.
On rest days, you can do lighter forms of activity that will help you maintain the habit of daily movement, such as light yoga, a bike ride or a brisk walk.