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The world of fitness, dieting and nutrition can seem incredibly confusing some of the time. Scrap that – a lot of the time.
With so many different diet plans, training regimes, TV shows promoting healthy eating and hundreds upon hundreds of weight loss and diet gurus, it’s a minefield of information out there, and wading your way through, trying to find the best approach can be a pure uphill struggle.
The main issue is that there are so many myths out there surrounding weight loss. It’s not surprising the vast majority of people are confused.
With that in mind, this article cuts through the myths and deals in pure fact to help you avoid making these 5 epic weight loss mistakes.
1. Not Counting Calories
Calories aren’t the only thing that matter when losing weight, but they are the most important factor. By not counting them, you’re simply guessing your food intake and chancing poor results.
To lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you burn. It doesn’t matter what type of diet you follow – vegetarian, low carb, high protein, paleo, raw food, etc., you need to be in a calorie deficit to burn fat.
Eliminating certain foods or food groups may help to lower your calorie intake, but it may not be enough.
2. Missing Macronutrients
Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats. Some weight loss diets focus on eliminating, or at least severely reducing one of these three (usually fat or carbs.) This is a huge mistake though.
Getting rid of protein is the biggest crime here. Protein is essential as it helps to build and repair muscle tissue and plays a role in hormone and enzyme production. Protein is also thermogenic, meaning it digests slower and burns calories in the process.
Like protein, fat is also essential and is useful for hormone production and recovery and immunity purposes. While fat may be calorie-dense, with each gram of fat containing nine calories, you do need at least a small amount of fat in your diet.
Carbs may not be essential in the same way as protein and fat, as your body can make carbs from the other two macronutrients, but cutting out carbs will make most people feel severely lethargic, and can cause a metabolic slow down. You might lose weight very quickly going no-carb, but progress will soon plateau.
3. Performing Hours of Cardio
Cardio is great for adding a little extra calorie burn, but too much can be detrimental.
Traditional steady state cardio, such as a long run, 45 minute cycling session or a steady plod on a machine at the gym is a highly inefficient way to lose fat. Your body becomes accustomed to so much low intensity exercise, feels like it doesn’t need to maintain muscle mass and actually starts burning this rather than fat.
You might lose weight, but it won’t be the right type of weight.
4. Ignoring Weight Training
Behind diet, weight training is second in the weight loss hierarchy.
“Won’t weight training make me gain weight and get all big and bulky?” you cry. Fear not, weight training is an incredibly useful tool for shedding the pounds and looking leaner and more defined in the process.
5. Not Tracking Anything
Without a food diary or workout log, how do you know you’re progressing?
It’s easy to forget exactly what you ate at breakfast, how many pushups you did in your last session, or what your energy levels were like on your last low carb day if you don’t write anything down.