by Matt Weik
Remember when you were young and could eat just about anything and your metabolism would simply do the rest? Ultimately, never seeming to put on weight no matter what you ate? Well, for many of us, those days are long gone and we look down wondering where our feet went. Dad bod. Damnit. How did we let ourselves get this far? Well, it didn’t happen over-night—that’s for sure. But, just because you feel like the end of the world is coming due to your poor choices, not all hope is lost. However, you need to make sure you aren’t falling into the trap set out by the seven deadly sins below. These sins could easily cause your weight loss progress to start pumping the brakes, if not have you coming to a complete stop.
1. You’re not tracking your intake
Do you have any idea how many calories you are consuming on a daily basis? Do you even know how many calories you need in order to lose weight? The best starting point is getting that figured out. Once you get your maintenance calories, you can easily remove 250-500 calories from your daily intake to kick-start your weight loss journey.
However, if you aren’t tracking your calories, it’s impossible to know how much you ate as well as the macronutrient breakdown. If you wanted an easy solution to this problem, just an app called MyFitnessPal and simply log all of your foods. The interface is extremely easy to use and follow along. Everything is simplified with explanations and gives you images/graphs of your progress. You can also scan barcodes of food packages you are consuming and simply change to the serving size you ate. It takes what can turn into a boring journal into something fun and educational.
2. You’re listening to the wrong advice
How many of you have tried a diet that you heard from your friends or online somewhere? I’m sure there are a lot of hands raised. Stop listening to all of this quick fix dieting techniques that simply have you yo-yoing back and forth with your body weight. Losing weight isn’t a fad, it’s a lifestyle. Stop listening to all the noise about “lose 10 pounds in 24 hours” and all the infomercials you see on television and on internet ads. They don’t work, and what might appear as successful weight loss will have you regaining the weight in the blink of an eye.
Simply change your eating habits, start exercising or increase the intensity if you are already active, and stay consistent. You don’t need to be some genetically gifted freak to see results through these changes. Everyone has the ability to lose weight, yet many fail because they are listening to the wrong advice and aren’t staying consistent with their nutrition and workout regimen.
3. You’re surrounding yourself with the wrong people
If you surround yourself with five overweight people, you’ll be the sixth. It might sound harsh, but that’s the reality for many. We tend to default to what’s around us. When friends are out on the town grabbing something to eat and enjoying themselves with some beverages, you probably tend to mirror their actions when with them. Rather than grabbing a healthy choice at the place you stopped to grab a bite, you got the greasy, fatty, carb-filled choice with a sugary alcoholic beverage to wash it all down. This is a recipe for disaster.
Surround yourself with people you want to be. This doesn’t mean you need to change who you are, but if you want to be a better businessman, you want to hang around with successful businessmen. If you want to lose weight, you surround yourself with those who have gone through the process and are now at a healthy weight. Notice how I said “healthy” and not skinny—there’s a difference. Look at your inner circle and if you need to make some changes, do so. It might sound mean or rude, but it’s your life and if you want longevity with your life, you need to pay more attention to your health and remove all of the bad influences.
4. You’re creating a whole new meaning to the term “cheat meal”
People get cheat meal confused with cheat day. They think it’s ok to eat whatever they want for an entire day because they ate healthy six out of the seven days during the week and they hear it’s ok to have a cheat meal. While it’s ok to splurge a little, going an entire day overindulging is going to backfire on you. It’s ok to have a night in with your spouse and have a movie and pizza, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole pizza either. Have a couple slices to indulge yourself and then fall back in line. Much of eating healthy and losing weight has to deal with choices and self-control.
Consuming unhealthy foods for an entire day can ruin all the progress you made during the week. If you cut out calories from your diet every day so you could potentially lose weight each week, yet you have a cheat day that you go over your caloric intake, those calories you cut out earlier in the week were for nothing since you replaced them with one day or poor nutrition. The day you plan on having a cheat meal, work your calories and macros around the cheat meal. If you know you’re going to have pizza, drop carbohydrates from some of your other meals to compensate. A cheat meal isn’t meant to overconsume and ruin your hard work during the week. It’s a way to have a good relationship with food and maintain your sanity and life.
5. You’re not eating enough
If you aren’t eating enough calories during the day, not only will your metabolism slow down to try and preserve life since it believes you’re starving and it doesn’t want to use up energy, but every little thing that you consume your body will want to store in an attempt at “survival.” The key is to consume calories that are just under your maintenance where you’d maintain your weight and then removing 250-500 calories each day.
Not consuming enough calories is a sure way to feel sluggish, lazy, and wind up in a brain fog all day long. Having your calories too low is not healthy and not something you want to do as a last-ditch effort to try and crash diet your way to a number you want to see appear on your scale.
6. You’re eating too much
Eating too much is a no-brainer. But, something most people don’t consider is eating too much healthy foods as well. Just because a food is healthy does not mean you can eat an unlimited supply just because it’s not considered an unhealthy food choice. Too much of anything is never a good thing—including water (yes, you can actually die from drinking too much water).
Maintain a healthy balance even with nutritious food options. Portion everything out correctly and don’t go overboard. If you feel like you’re always hungry when eating healthy, try consuming items higher in fiber like apples or broccoli to help you feel satiated versus starving. These also make for great snack items in between meals or at night when you’re craving “something bad.”
7. You’re only focusing on the number on the scale
Everyone loses weight differently. This comes down to where you lose the weight from, to how quickly the weight comes off, and if you’re putting on any lean muscle mass in the process that could make the scale “lie” in essence. Stop focusing on the number you see on the scale and pay more attention to how things are fitting. Are your pants a little looser? Are your shirts a little baggier? Are people complimenting you? That’s a big one since we see ourselves every day, so little changes to what we see in the mirror aren’t as easily detected. Friends who see us once a week or as little as once a month can be a great judge of how you are progressing.
Sometimes you will see the number on the scale go up. This can happen when lean muscle is put onto your frame. No, it’s not a reason for panic that all hope is lost and you’re all of a sudden putting on body fat for some reason. Take it day by day as you can also fluctuate water weight very easily in a 24-hour period. So, pay less attention to what the scale is telling you, and more attention on how you look and feel. If you see more definition, then you know you’re moving in the right direction.