What you Need to Know: There are better and worse ways to lose weight. Unfortunately, I picked two of the worst ways on my first and only go-around with weight loss. I’m going to give you a couple of simple strategies for how to avoid the stupid mistakes that I did.
Your Biggest Mistakes When Losing Weight
I had no idea what I was doing, so I figured I would just follow along with what I saw on the news and heard in health class. I didn’t actually find out until years later that I went about losing weight the wrong way.
PLEASE, read this and you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.
Making the Wrong Sacrifices
To lose weight, I knew that I was going to have to make some changes and some compromises to my current lifestyle. I wanted to get results, but I was a little at a loss for what to do.
Then I remembered that in health class on and the news everyone was advocating for calorie restricted diets for weight loss. Saying that you just have to eat less of the things that you like to lose weight.
I thought, “Really? I can still eat the pizza, burgers, fries, desserts, chips, and pastries that I love and still lose weight? Count me in!
My Weight Loss Results
This method of weight loss totally worked, but I don’t recommend it for several reasons which we will get to in a minute. I ended up losing the 50 pounds in about 18 months. The only problem was that I became what was later coined by pop culture as “skinny fat.”
I was at the lower end of my average healthy weight, according to my height, but I still had a spare tire sitting around my stomach.
Mistake #1: Quantity Cuts without Quality Implements
You may have already spotted this one, but if you didn’t this may be a valuable piece of information for you. I kept all of the same starchy, sugar, low nutrient quality foods in my diet, but by cutting ⅓-½ off of my previous portion sizes I was able to lose weight.
What I didn’t know is that by keeping those poor quality foods in my diet, my body clung to fat. All that glucose, sugar, fast food, and the low quality starches that I was eating just ended up sitting on my body in all of the wrong places.
What I couldn’t figure out is how the fat managed to stay on me when I was playing basketball for 8-12 plus hours every week? Shouldn’t I have been burning that off?!
Mistake #2: Too Much Cardio
That brings in my second mistake: I was doing a ton of cardio but ZERO strength training. I didn’t begin to understand the value of functional strength training until one to two years later when I took my first strength and conditioning class.
So what’s the best way to correct those mistakes?
Correcting My Mistakes
As wild as it sounds, I would venture to say that 80-85% of my clients are under-eaters. I actually find very few of the people that I train in person to be over-eaters.
There’s a couple of things that under-eating does to your body…
– It slows down your metabolism: Your body is an intelligent machine. If you are giving it significantly less calories than it needs to function, it is going to slow your motor down to preserve fuel. It will slow down your metabolism and try to stretch those calories as far as it can.
– It can cause you to store fat: If your body doesn’t expect you to eat enough and it doesn’t know when you are going to eat next, it’s going to cling onto fat and store it for future energy use.
The bottom line is that when you undereat, your body adapts by conserving as much energy as possible. It’s a survival mechanism that our body uses to keep us alive, via preserving our calories and keeping our fat stores full.
Correction #1: Eat Right. Eat More.
What I found out is that you can slow your metabolism and store fat while eating clean OR while eating poor quality foods.
One of the best dietary choices that you can make when losing weight is to
Eat better calories, and eat more of those calories.
Quality calories from real foods like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins are high in nutrients but naturally low in calories. You have to eat more of them to sustain the body and keeping your metabolism burning on high.
Think of it like a fire. If you only throw some sticks on your fire, some crappy paper and kindling, and occasionally some lighter fluid, it’s not going to burn that big or for that long.
If you throw sizable, quality, dry wood on their regularly, you can keep that fire burning strong for hours. Focus on eating more real food, and the fat will fall off of you.
Correction #2: Train Your Muscles
By doing a ton of cardio (which I loved) I felt great all of the time but I wasn’t doing my body any favors. I burnt a thousands of calories every week, but wasn’t building any real muscle in the process.
I actually discovered later that all of those hours of cardio was burning through some of the previous muscle tissue that I had!
Why It is Important to Build Muscle
Think of muscle as your preferred calorie and nutrient storage system. When you train and fatigue your muscles, they get desperate for energy so that they can repair, rebuild, and grow stronger.
*Lifting an atlas stone for fun, during my workout
Would you rather have the calories that you eat go to muscle tissue or fat tissue?
Exactly! When you train your muscles they’ll use all of the calories that they can to enhance your muscles and help them recover.
Building muscle helps raise your resting metabolism, and is one of the best solutions for getting leaner and preventing fat gain/weight gain in the future.
Go lift some weights, do some body-weight exercises, or swing a kettlebell around to start building some muscle. You can do them in a circuit so that you get all that good cardiovascular exercise in at the same time!
There you have it! A couple of critical and easily correctable weight loss mistakes that I made, so that you don’t have to.