The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest trying to lose one to two pounds per week. However, some women can safely lose more than that if directed by a doctor. Once you’ve made your weekly weight loss goal, you can create a plan that helps you reach those goals. While it’s important to cut calories through your meal plan and include more exercise in your routine, there are some things you shouldn’t be doing because they can get in the way of successful weight loss. Here’s what not to do, according to experts at Family Circle magazine.
1 Cutting Calories and Increasing Exercise at the Same Time
Losing weight happens when you burn more calories than you consume, but experts say that slashing calories and moving more at the same time could backfire on you. You’ll lose some weight initially, but your body will go into starvation mode and your progress will stall. Instead, fill your plate with healthy fats, protein and complex carbs, which will fuel your body and help you exercise. You might also try overhauling your diet for a couple of weeks before changing up your exercise plan.
2 Doing Only Cardio Exercise
Yes, cardio is massively important to a weight loss meal plan. It burns calories and helps you get rid of flab to uncover the muscles beneath. However, you can’t rely on cardio alone to shape up and slim down. You also have to include strength training, which helps build lean muscle mass and boosts your metabolism for more efficient calorie burning. The Mayo Clinic suggests 30 minutes of cardio per day and two or three strength training sessions each week.
3 Going out to Eat after a Workout
You do need to refuel when you get done exercising, but you shouldn’t use your gym session as a license to have a giant smothered burrito or triple cheeseburger. You might feel like you can afford the calories, but the trick to weight loss is burning more than you consume so going out and eating a ton of food probably means taking in more calories than you just burned. Have a protein-packed snack that doesn’t exceed 150 calories or a meal that weighs in at about 500 calories.
4 Cutting All Carbs and Fats
Not all carbs and fats are created equal. There are good kinds of both and bad kinds of both. The right kinds will give you energy and keep your hunger satisfied so that you don’t get so hungry that you feel deprived and eat more than you should. Choose healthy fats from avocados, olive oil and salmon and complex carbs from fruits, vegetables and 100% whole grains.
5 You Don’t Need to Go Gluten-Free
Many women make the mistake of thinking that gluten-free is better for their health and can result in weight loss. However, most doctors will tell you that you shouldn’t go gluten-free unless you have a health condition that requires it. Many gluten-free foods substitute refined carbs or sugar to replace the wheat flour, which means the item probably isn’t that great of a choice for a weight loss meal plan. Focus on whole, healthy foods from each food group and you should see the results you want in no time at all.
6 Don’t Assume That You Need a Whole Hour to Exercise
If you feel like exercise is only worthwhile when you have a full hour to commit to it, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, small bursts of just 10 minutes at a time are just as worthwhile. If you find yourself short on time to work out, try doing high intensity interval training, which burns plenty of calories without having to commit as much time to exercise.
7 Forget the Juice Cleanse Trend
So many people talk about doing a juice cleanse to lose weight and get in shape. However, most experts tell you that it’s not necessary. You might lose a couple of pounds, but it will be mostly water weight, which will come right back once you return to your normal eating habits. Instead, fill your plate with lean meats, fruits, veggies, whole grains and low-fat dairy and you can eat foods you love and that fill you up without being stuck drinking only juice for days.
8 You've Got Have the Right Mind Set
All your intentions will be for naught if you don't make the commitment for change. Losing weight is more of a journey than a destination. Once you make the choice to do what's best for yourself, it's going to be a lifelong thing. You can't reach your goal weight and then go back to your old ways. You will only be successful when you are ready to commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise habits.
9 Planning is One of the Most Important Things You Can do
You can decide to lose weight, but without a plan it's never going to work out for you. Planning is one of the most important things you can do when you want to drop those extra pounds. That means making a menu so that you have healthy and delicious meals planned for the week so you aren't tempted to reach for unhealthy foods when you get hungry. It also means deciding when you are going to exercise and making it a firm part of your schedule.
10 Make a Place for Snacks in Your Day
You read that right! Just because you're trying to lose weight doesn't mean you can't snack. In fact, you should be snacking. Going too long without food only sets you up for a binge later so it's important to refuel every couple of hours. The trick is to choose the right snack. You want something with a healthy mix of protein, fat and carbs. String cheese, a handful of almonds or yogurt with berries are all great choices.
Which of these no-nos are you guilty of? What changes do you plan to make?