Losing weight and burning fat can be one of the most difficult things that many of us will do (or attempt to do) in our entire lives. On top of this difficulty, there is so much conflicting information out there about what we, as women, should and should not be doing. There is an overabundance of different diet plans and workout routines, leaving us questioning how we should or should not tackle the issue of weight loss.
We are told one thing one day then something completely different the next. You can ask one fitness expert for their advice, and be told the complete opposite by another fitness guru. One thing is for certain. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet and exercising is the biggest and most important step you can take towards reaching your weight loss goals. No matter how healthy you are eating, a lack of exercise can be detrimental to burning fat. On the other side of the spectrum, you can work out every day and still see no results if you have a poor diet that is high in fatty and sugary foods with too many calories per day. Let’s examine some of the most common mistakes that many women make in their mission to melt unwanted fat from their bodies:
- Too few calories – Are you aware that consuming too few calories per day can actually hurt the progress that you have made or are making in your pursuit of weight loss? For one, those who “starve” themselves often do not get the proper vitamins and nutrients that are needed for a healthy and active lifestyle. This can make it more difficult to get motivated to work out regularly. Eating less than 1,200 calories per day can also lead to increased stress levels in the human body. This creates an abundance of the stress hormone cortisol. This particular hormone causes and increase in the amount of visceral fat in the body, which is stored in the midsection, particularly the abdomen (the one area that most of us have to work the hardest to burn fat).
- Skipping aerobic exercise – Cardio workouts are, by far, the most important type of exercise when you are wanting to melt fat from any part of your body. Many women feel that this kind of high intensity training is too difficult and opt to skip it. They go for other methods like yoga, strength training, as well as others, which are great for you, but not necessarily ideal when wanting to burn fat. Even shorter intervals of high intensity exercise is better than no aerobic exercise at all. Research has shown that just 80 minutes of aerobic exercise per week can lead to higher levels of fat burning. This can be broken up into two 40 minute workouts or four 20 minute workouts, which may seem less daunting than an hour six days per week. If running is not for you, find cardio exercises that you enjoy and will be motivated to do, such as dancing, cycling, swimming, hula hooping, sports, or many others that you can find all over the internet. While aerobic exercise is needed, you should also be doing strength training, as it has shown to aid in burning fat when done alongside cardio. Also, when engaging in strength training, use heavier weights with less reps rather than lighter weights with more reps. Using heavier weights has shown to help burn more fat in research studies.
- Forgetting about portion control – Research has shown that women who eat more small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals are able to melt away fat much more easily and efficiently. If you are eating healthy yet are still consuming mass amounts of calories at each meal and throughout the day, then you may still be consuming too much for your body to ever burn off even with exercise. And we all know that these calories that do not get burned off are stored in the body as energy, also known as fat. Also, if you are looking to decrease your daily caloric intake, you should gradually reduce the amount of calories you consume until you reach your goal. A sudden drop in calories can be detrimental to shedding that excess weight and fat, and can lead to more stress and higher levels of cortisol.
- Dining out too often – When we cook at home, we know exactly what is going into our meals. Even healthier options at many restaurants are filled with ingredients that we may not even realize are there. Keep dining out to a minimum when you are on the track to weight loss.
- Skipping breakfast – This is another huge no-no if you want to burn fat. Skipping breakfast or even eating an insufficient breakfast can give you the opposite effect of what you want. It leads to more stress and cortisol, but more importantly, it leaves you hungry and craving more food later in the day. Those who skip breakfast often eat larger dinners, which is another no-no when trying to melt fat from your body. The best thing you can do is to get a large breakfast that is high in protein and add some fruits and vegetables to it. Then, have smaller snacks throughout the day and a small dinner, but again, don’t forget to get at least 1,200 calories per day.
- Going at it alone – Time and time again we can find ourselves disheartened and feeling very alone in our weight loss goals. Find a partner who has the same goals as you and stick by their side. They will help you in your low moments and you can do the same for them. If you don’t know anyone who is on the same page as you about getting rid of that excess fat, try reaching out to someone at the gym, join a class, or find a local interest group online. There are plenty of others out there just like you who are in need of a partner just like you to help keep motivation levels up.
- Stressing about results – Make your fat burning routine fun. Enjoy yourself and reward yourself for your achievements. Stressing can be one of the worst things you can do when trying to lose weight. It not only increases cortisol and visceral fat, but it can also be a huge motivation killer and cause you to feel depressed, which can lead to inactivity and overeating the wrong kinds of foods.
- Not drinking enough water – This is another tip that we hear all the time, and this one couldn’t be truer. Water is good for your body in so many ways and drinking plenty of it throughout the day can help you to feel full. Another point to consider is that when you are not drinking water, you are likely drinking another beverage that contains a large amount to calories, sugar, and even carbohydrates.