Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weight Loss Mistakes Most Women Make

You might have more motivation than anyone else to lose weight. You may munch on healthy snacks. You probably count calories. You try to exercise as much as possible. But still the number on the scale refuses to decrease. What are you doing wrong?

Here are seven dieting mistakes you could be making. While each one seems fairly innocent, added together they can really sabotage your weight loss efforts.

1. Consuming Too Many Calories
There are two ways to consume too many calories. First, you know your goal and repeated go over it. Or, you could have the wrong goal to begin with. How many calories should you really be consuming each day?

According to a recent study by the American Dietetic Association, only 11% of Americans correctly estimate their ideal daily calorie requirements. The rest overestimate.

Figure out the right intake for you and your activity level. If you think you should be consuming a maximum of 2,000 calories each day and the real number is 1,800, those extra 200 calories will cause you to keep 20 unwanted pounds.

2. Assuming You Are Burning More Calories Than You Actually Are
Most women are kept pretty busy. As a result, we assume our daily routine torches more calories than it really does. For example, a simple trip to the mall is usually quite the production. Schlepping kids in and out of the car, hauling shopping bags from one end of the building to the other and then unloading everything when you get home burns a whopping…400 calories. That is about a tenth of a pound. Not nearly the workout you imagined, huh?

While 400 calories is better than nothing, there are simple ways to make your every day activities more of a workout. Studies show short bursts of intense activity burn more calories. The next time you take the kids to the park to walk around, keep your normal pace for about five minutes. Then, for a solid minute, crank up the speed to a brisk walk. After the minute, take the pace back to a comfortable walk. Keep repeating this schedule and you’ll burn 30% more calories.

3. Not Being Mindful of Portion Sizes
By now, you have probably kicked most of your unhealthy eating habits. Your high-calorie snacks have been replaced with healthier options. However, just because the food is packed with nutrients doesn’t mean you can eat more of it.

Be mindful of the recommended serving sizes of the following healthy foods:
• A serving of chopped fruits or vegetables should be about the size of a baseball.
• A serving of nuts or shredded cheese should be about the size of a golf ball.
• A serving of rice or pasta should be about the size of your fist.
• A serving of lean meat should be about the size of a deck of cards.

4. Choosing the “Healthiest” Item on the Menu
Image this scenario. You and your girlfriend are at the mall shopping and swing by the food court for lunch. You make a beeline for the sandwich shop, opting for a nice, healthy turkey sandwich. Your girlfriend meets you at the table with two slices of pizza. Who has fewer calories? She probably does.

Your turkey sandwich has the potential to be healthier. However, the focaccia bread, cheese, and mayo pack an unhealthy punch.

Before going out to eat, check the restaurant’s website. Most dining establishments share nutritional information about their dishes online. At the very least, be familiar with the lowest calorie options at all your favorite restaurants. That way, you are always prepared if someone your with insists on making a quick pit-stop.

5. Buying Diet Foods
Many people see “fat-free,” “low-fat,” or “sugar-free” and think they have made a wise purchase. However, that is rarely the case.

Those diet foods often have the same amount of calories as – or just slightly less than – the regular version. However, instead of paying attention to the fine print, dieters trust the large-print marketing schemes. As a result, they feel more inclined to eat larger portions - usually twice as much as normal – of the food because it is “healthier.”

Instead, go ahead and purchase the full-fat version. Don’t totally deprive yourself of the food items you love. If you do, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Eventually you’ll cave; when you do, you’ll seriously overeat. Give yourself the occasional treat; just be mindful of the portion size.

6. Doing a Million Crunches
Most women want a toned tummy. To get it, they do a gazillion crunches. Sure, this will probably work – your ab muscles will be toned. But if you don’t burn the layer of fat keeping them hidden, no one will ever see your ab muscles.

To burn your belly fat, try interval training. Alternate between high intensity and toned down bursts of cardio activity. This will burn more calories – and fat – than a steady paced workout.

7. Not Counting All Your Calories

Are you a sampler? You grab a spoonful of dough while baking cookies. You snag a handful of popcorn from your husband’s bucket at the movies. You steal a corner of your daughter’s brownie while helping with her homework. Did you count all those calories? Sure, they might not be much. But added together, those unaccounted for calories can cause a lot of damage.

Try to avoid eating while you are distracted. Don’t eat your dinner in front of the TV. Walk away from the computer before getting an afternoon snack. And chew gum while you’re cooking. We tend to eat more when we are focused on other tasks.

Well, what do you think? Have you suffered any of these dieting set-backs? Could one of these situations be the cause of your unshed pounds?

Guest author Jane Allen is a health blogger. She regularly writes about various health, fitness and weight loss topics. Recently, she has been researching how B12 injections  can provide extra energy for interval training.

1 comment:

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