5 Crucial Mistakes Preventing You From Reaching Your Health Goals
I hear you, You've tried everything!
You've cut calories until you can not function, you're basically eating nothing but lettuce.
You're doing endless cardio.
You can't even look at a sweet unless you gain pound.
If this is you, you need to read on!
The diet industry has us conditioned to believe that we should be eating like sparrows. The fewer the calories the better and with this we will reach our goals.
Unfortunately as you've maybe found out, this is not the case. The only one winning with this approach is the diet industry who pray on individuals like us to line their pockets and keep on purchasing the *crap* that they have us believing will help us reach our goals. (insert angry face emoji).
Change these 5 mistakes and get the results you want!
1: Not Drinking Enough Water
Most of us simply do not drink enough.
Our bodies are 60% Water with muscle mass being 75% water, and fatty tissue being 23%. Our bodies need water for survival, it doesn’t get much simpler than that. Every cell, tissue and organ needs water to function and the more water we consume the more efficiently the body is going to operate. The body uses water to regulate temperature, to digest food, to eliminate toxins and waste. We also lose water in all kinds of ways such as breathing, sweating and movement.
Hungry or Thirsty?
We usually don’t notice that we are thirsty until we have a very dry mouth or throat and at this point dehydration has already set in. Dehydration causes our energy levels to drop, and the brain sends out signals looking for energy but we don’t normally think about being thirsty, we automatically reach for a snack to give us a quick energy fix.
In this sense we are treating the outcome of dehydration, the energy drop instead of treating the cause - dehydration.
Sipping on Water
We need to sip constantly, not drink lots in one go and then none for hours. Our water supply needs to be constantly topped up, so we can function optimally - remember even the smallest of activity uses water so we are using water constantly and it needs to be replaced constantly too!
How much water should you drink daily?
The daily recommended water intake is half your body weight in lbs, so if you weigh 150lbs you should be aiming for 75flozs of water daily AT LEAST. If you sweat a lot, you exercise, or if its hot weather you should be aiming for more.
Diet is a word that has been used for decades to describe a phase of our lives where we want to lose weight, drop a dress size or some other form of health kick.
Normally when we start a diet it has a definite start date, usually a Monday, and a definite end date - usually when we achieve our goal whether it be a certain size, lose xlbs, fit in the dress for the wedding.
After we have achieved said goal, the diet ends and we go back to normal eating.
During this phase we are in a phase of restriction, whether it be through calorie counting, food group exclusion, eliminating all our favourite treats.
Why this does not work?
1- The start and end date means that dieting is a temporary solution to your problem. It means that after a certain period you will return to your old regime, the one that caused you to start the 'diet' in the beginning, the one that is causing you to feel unhealthy, hate what you see when you look in the mirror.
2- During the restrictive period when you are cutting calories, You are actually causing your body to go into hibernation mode- Think a bear storing food to use when they don't have any. As humans this means our body slows our metabolism so we don't require so much food and we store food as fat for the next famine- starvation phase aka calorie restrictive phase.
3- After we go back to our normal regime of eating we have a slower metabolism so we gain weight quicker, and so usually end up gaining more weight than we lost on our 'diet'.
4- During our restrictive phase we have inevitably lost muscle mass, which has also lowered our metabolism which means more of no.3!
5- Our natural instinct when faced with restriction or being told that something is off limits is to crave more of it! Think back to when you were a child and told you could not have something or could not do something, you automatically wanted it more!! As adults we still have the same tendencies, so when faced with restriction or eliminating foods from our ‘diet’ we crave them.
Have you ever been caught in the cycle of YO-YO dieting? This is why!!
Diets lead to decreased muscle mass and a decreased metabolism, which ultimately will keep you trapped in the dieting cycle over and over again.
3: Focusing On Low Fat
Low fat food has been a huge focus for decades when it was believed that to lose weight you needed to eliminate fat from your diet.
Unfortunately this was false information, or partly false information.
We do not need to focus on removing all fat from our diet, but instead we should be focusing on reducing our consumption of saturated fats and trans fats- the fats that have been manufactured such as margarine.
Unfortunately with the focus on low fat, the processed food industry started removing fat from products and labelling them low fat. These low fat products usually have an increased sugar content instead which is actually worse than fat but that’s another story.
Our bodies need fat for basic functions, producing the fat burning hormone being one of them! Yes we need to eat fat to be able to burn fat!
The fat we consume should be healthy fat and from natural sources such as nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados.
Are you guilty of following the low fat diet?
4: Not Eating Enough Protein
For decades the main focus of our meals have been carbohydrates as this was deemed necessary for energy and protein was overlooked.
Firstly, yes our bodies do need carbohydrates for energy but not in as big a quantity as we believe. If we continue to eat a higher quantity of carbohydrates than we require for energy they get stored as fat(keeping the process simple).
When we adjust the focus of our nutrition to a more protein based diet, we reduce the quantity of carbohydrates we consume and our bodies will start to burn stored fat as fuel.
Protein is essential for repairing the damage caused to our bodies through daily activities and exercise. All physical activity causes micro tears in our muscles which our bodies require protein to repair.
The quantity of protein we need varies depending on our physical activity levels but a good guide is 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight.
PROTEINS help you feel full and satisfied.
● You should have protein at every meal
● Pick your favourite go to’s - eggs, fish, tin fish in water or brine etc
● Avoid pre-packed processed meats
5: Prioritising Cardio
Gone are the days of Jane Fonda workout videos where the focus was jumping around for 1 hour leaving your rosey faced and breathless!
Walking, running, or machines which help you incorporate cardio are great but these do not help you build lean muscle mass.
Building lean muscle mass is crucial to keep our metabolism high.
As we get older we lose muscle mass naturally- atrophy. This process starts from as early as 25 years old, when we lose muscle mass our metabolism also slows which means we gain weight more readily - sometimes coined ‘the middle age spread’ and as we age the effects can greaten due to hormonal changes associated with menopause.
It is crucial to our health that we include muscle building exercise into our daily routine to help prevent this cycle, boost our metabolism and have a structural strong body too. If we do not have strong muscles we are more likely to be prone to falls when we get older which could result in broken bones amongst other things.
NB: If we include cardio on a calorie restricted diet we also risk losing muscle mass as our bodies will break down our muscles for fuel, weakening our bodies and lowering our metabolic rate too.
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