Bikini season is officially here! Everywhere I turn I see ads, slogans and people on social media working on that summer bod. But there’s something flawed in all of this, don’t you think? Why should we focus on feeling and looking good only during summer? Who are we doing this for – for ourselves, or for the ones who see us and (most probably) judge us? If you are doing it for yourself, then feeling and looking good should be your priority all year around if you ask me. And if you catch yourself that you’re doing this for the second reason, then there is something else hiding underneath the surface that you need to explore about yourself.
But let’s say you want to feel lighter, better and more confident in your bikini and summer clothes to make this article more focused. Many people find they struggle with weight loss and they don’t get the results they want as quickly as they would like. There might be many different reasons for this, and many of them can be unique to the person, but today I want to share 10 mistakes that people make very often when they want to lose weight quickly for the hot, summer months. I have listed them below and you’ll also find what you can do to avoid these mistakes.
Weight-loss does not happen overnight, and the most sustainable form of achieving your ideal weight is to find a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy and that you can see following long-term. I am not a fan of crash diets, as they always backfire. A drastic change in your diet and a hefty restriction on the foods we eat, will inevitably lead to binge eating and heavy cravings. If you’d like to have a tailored plan for weight-loss, one that suits with your lifestyle and specific needs, you can contact me to create one together especially for you.
- Doing too much exercise too soon
It has happened to the best of us. You start a new program, and are so motivated that you give it your all so that you can see results quickly. The problem is that when you overdo the workout you will feel sore for days, which will prevent you from working out effectively the next day. Skipping a workout on the other hand can lead to loss of motivation. Rest and recovery are just as important as exercising. The body needs time to recover and build muscle, so give it enough time to rest in between training sessions.
Don’t go cardio crazy either! While it’s true that cardio exercises can help shed weight, strength training is also important because it increases muscle, which on the other hand improves metabolism, which helps the body burn more calories when resting. Which brings me to the next point.
- Confusing weight loss with fat loss
Don’t get obsessed with the number on your scale! Ultimately you’re trying to turn fat into muscle. And muscle is much denser than fat, so you could be making great progress even if the number on the scale isn’t changing much. Pay attention to how your clothes fit you, to how you’re feeling. Exercise is important while losing weight as it helps the body retain a fit shape, so everything stays nice and tight 😉
- Not getting enough sleep
I have written about the importance of sleep in previous articles, but let me briefly summarize it here. Lack of sleep is linked with increased levels of cortisol – our stress hormone. Increased levels of cortisol lead to weight gain, especially around the abdominal area. Additionally, not getting enough sleep makes us more likely to crave high caloric foods the next day to keep our energy in tact. This does not help with weight loss either. Get your eight hours of sleep each day. It’s important for your weight, and emotional wellbeing as well.
- Not being realistic with your goals
You want to lose 10kg in 3 months but have been consistently gaining weight for the past year? Unfortunately the chances that you will lose that weight so quickly are not looking so good. It doesn’t mean you won’t lose the weight, just that you might want to give yourself a bit more time. You can achieve anything if you work hard enough and are determined. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Setting impossible goals will lead to disappointment and loss of motivation.
- Not drinking enough water
Did you know that we often confuse thirst with hunger? You might reach for a snack when your body is actually craving water. Hydration is important as it helps the body get rid of toxins, and speeds up metabolism, both keys to sustainable weight loss. Aim for 2lt of filtered water a day.
- Not eating enough / skipping meals
Skipping meals and not eating enough food is not a good idea for several reasons. One, it leads to overeating at the next meal, as you’re ravenous by that time. Two, it messes up with your metabolism. I am not suggesting you eat when you are not hungry, but to pay attention to the signals of your body. Third, you won’t have enough energy to exercise. As we mentioned already, exercise is an important part of weight-loss.
- You skip fiber-rich foods or an entire macronutrient
A lot of people are not getting enough fiber in their diet but fiber plays an important role in weight loss. It acts like a broom in the intestines, picking up debris and giving bulk to the stool. It helps the body get rid of toxins and improves digestion. It also makes us feel full after a meal, which reduces the chances of a snack soon after. Limiting a macronutrient to the minimum (hello carbs and fat) could also be a bad idea. Focus instead on nutrient-packed food. This means, real food, lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds and quality proteins.
- Too focused on protein
The most popular weight-loss diets are high-protein diets. There is this assumption that you can’t consume too much lean protein. The reality is that, as with everything, you can have too much of a good thing. In the case of protein too much of it can lead to constipation, and increased levels of nitrogen in the body. Animal protein also comes with saturated fat, so consider the whole package of your protein source. Eating too much protein in expense of fiber rich foods, can lead to the issues mentioned in the above point. If you do consume animal protein, limit it to one meal a day and reduce the serving size. Don’t forget that all food has some protein in it, so gram per gram by eating greens, nuts and seeds you are getting in what you need.
- You hold negative feelings for your body and appearance
We’ve all been there. Negative talk can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and it can sabotage all the good work we are doing. If you want to lose weight you need to stop body shaming yourself. Our thoughts are more powerful than we sometimes believe, so what you think of yourself matters a lot! If you keep telling yourself that it’s hard loosing the extra weight, or that it is hard to change your eating habits, guess what – it will be hard. So pay attention to your inner dialogue. Being gentle and loving towards yourself could be the last missing piece in manifesting this in your physical body.
- Doing exercises you hate or eating food without enjoyment
And in the spirit of the last point, enjoy the process! It is the journey that matters, not the destination per se. If you are enjoying the moment and feel proud that you’re doing something good for yourself by moving more and eating healthier, than the results will come. And they will be here to stay if you have made this journey a lifestyle you enjoy.