Scientifically, losing weight boils down to a simple-sounding formula: burn more calories than you take in. However, anybody who has ever cut calories and ramped up an exercise plan in an effort to slim down knows it’s much more difficult than it sounds. All dieters inevitably make mistakes along the way—and most of the time they don’t even realize it. Here are some mistakes to avoid when trying to shed fat.
- Too much protein – Protein is important, but if you have too much, the excess gets stored as fat.
- Skimping on veggies – Many of us fall short of the recommended 2.5 cups daily. Work some into every meal, whether it’s sliced tomato on your morning toast or spinach on your turkey sandwich.
- Having just a big glass of juice for breakfast – Most juice raises blood sugar, so your body produces more insulin. You’ll get hungry and overeat later. Get in protein and fiber, such as eggs and whole-grain toast.
- Overestimating weight-loss rate – Most people shed a lot of pounds in the first couple of weeks of a program, a combo of carbs and water. It’s an artificially high drop, so don’t get discouraged when progress peters out.
- Slacking on shut-eye – Appetite and hunger hormones are greatly influenced by how much sleep you get.
- Considering workouts license to binge – One recent study in Marketing Letters found that people who were told a one-mile walk was for exercise ate about twice as much afterward as those informed the outing was for fun.
- Always doing the same routine – You can’t perform the same exercises over and over and expect the same benefits. To get better results, follow the FIT principle: Vary the frequency, intensity or time.
- Ignoring weights – Some who are getting started on an exercise program think they should stick with just cardio, but you need strength training to keep your metabolism revved up.
- Giving in to your energy drain – A top excuse for not exercising is that you’re too tired. Fake yourself out if you have to. Say you’ll walk for only 10 minutes and you’ll likely go longer. Exercise energizes you!
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