Losing weight is the most popular New Year resolution for most people. I, myself, have lost weight (and gained it back!) several times in my life. Finally, after many ups and downs, I was able to recognize the mistakes I was making. It is noteworthy to mention that most of those mistakes were due to the advice of so called “experts”. By recognizing my mistakes, I was able to lose weight for good and my friends ask me about my weight loss secrets!
Here are the 7 largest mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1: Stop counting calories! Instead, count your sugar intake.
Not all calories are the same. 100 calories from a cookie is not the same as 100 calories from broccoli. Our bodies process a cookie and broccoli differently because they don't have the same nutrients. The explanation for this can get pretty complex, but basically, our bodies need 20-25 gram of sugar per day (more if we do extremely physical exercise).
What most people don't realize, is that there are hidden sugars everywhere in the foods we consume daily. As an example, there are 13 grams of sugar in 1 cup of milk! A can of Coca Cola (12 oz) is packed with 39 grams of sugar! There are even more hidden sugars in processed foods but it’s important to look closely at all things you consume- from fruit juices to yogurt.
Why do you need to count your sugar intake? Because high amounts of sugar force the body to produce insulin. When your insulin level is high, it signals the body to store fat instead of burning fat. It also causes inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.
Mistake #2: Thinking that replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is a good thing.
People don't realize that, when they start using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, they are simply replacing bad stuff with slightly less bad stuff. The problem with artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, Sweet 'N Low, etc.) is that our bodies cannot process it. Our bodies think that these sweeteners are toxins so they simply go to our liver to be eliminated.
Our livers have several functions, including eliminating toxins and processing fats, so when there is an excess of toxins introduced into our bodies, the livers are forced to eliminate them or we would die. It may not be an issue when we were young but our livers become less effective over time.
When your liver is on overload eliminating toxins, it can't function properly to process fat. This is why it is hard for some people to lose weight even after they switch to artificial sweeteners.
Contrary to popular belief, Agave is not a healthy replacement for sugar. The best thing for your body is to keep track of your sugar intake and use raw organic honey or Stevia when looking for a sweetener.
Mistake #3: Believing that fat makes people fat
This myth is dangerous and must stop! Our bodies need fat to function properly. Not all fats are bad. (You don’t have to be scared to use natural plant-based facial oils and body oils as they will not make you fat!) The truth is that sugar makes people fat. Change your diet from high carb/ low fat to low carb/high fat. Eat more good fats such as avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds. Avoid trans-fat (this is the bad fat!)
Mistake #4: “Cheating” on your diet
Most experts say to have “cheat” day on your diet but I do not agree. We generally use the word “cheat” if we do something bad. I prefer the word “reward”. Reward yourself for being good and sticking to your goals. When you create a reward system you are able to recognize the good in yourself. Subconsciously, you give yourself the encouragement to keep making better choices. If you love cupcakes, reward yourself with a cupcake after 5 days of sticking to your diet. Doesn’t reward sound better than cheat?
Mistake #5: Thinking only of big change and quick results
Most people start their weight lost program by cutting out every bad thing and starving themselves. When we starve ourselves our bodies will switch to “survival mode” and begin to store fat instead of burning it. You need to start small. Make small changes that become a habit for 2-3 weeks and then continue to adjust to achieve your goal.
For example, if you want to lose 30 pound and you consume about 120 grams of sugar a day, then you need to start with a small goal of reducing your sugar intake in half (60 gram a day) for 2-3 weeks. After you have succeeded this first goal, you can adjust again by cutting that 60 grams a day in half to 30 gram a day (which is closer to an ideal daily sugar intake).
It’s true that you may lose weight faster when you simply cut everything bad out of your diet but you won't change your bad habits and, eventually, the weight will come back again. The key is to break your progress down into smaller goals (rather than focusing on one large goal) and work on succeeding at one small goal at a time.
Mistake #6: Forgetting to exercise
You will lose weight faster when you exercise. It’s a plain and simple truth. As Jack Lalane (the godfather of fitness) says
"Exercise is King. Nutrition is Queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom."
You don't have to exercise 5 days a week. Start with a smaller goal like twice a week – and work your way up to doing more.
Mistake #7: Forgetting the most important reason to lose weight
You have to know the reason why you want to lose weight. Ask yourself some questions. Are you ashamed of how you look? Or, perhaps, you do not love yourself as you are. If you come up with an answer that is based on fear or shame or guilt, it will not be a big enough reason to keep you motivated for the long haul.
Pick a reason based on love. Most especially because you love yourself and you want to be healthier for YOU.
Image via www.louisehay.com
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