You feel like you’ve done everything. You avoid gluten, sugar, processed foods, and “bad” foods. You run on the treadmill multiple times per week or follow “the best workout ever” plan from a health magazine. And you STILL can’t seem to get the results you want.
Putting in effort and hard work and getting nothing to show for it sucks...I know, I’ve been there.
I slaved on the treadmill and followed bland meal plans to a T, and got subpar results. There is nothing more frustrating than putting in tons of effort with little or nothing to show for it. Fortunately, I studied the science behind training and nutrition and discovered what I was doing wrong, and fixed it.
Now I am a trainer on a mission to help others use science based info to get the results they want.
As a trainer, I see people in this situation everyday. And I frequently see two mistakes that keep clients from losing weight, and often they think these things would help, or at least not hinder their efforts.
Mistake #1: Eating too much, despite the food being “healthy”
The fitness industry has marketed certain foods to be healthy or even a super food, ignoring the importance of the amount you eat. Some “super” or “healthy” foods, while nutrient dense, are still not great for fat burning due to their high caloric content, and thus should be consumed in moderation (at least when weight loss is your goal). Some common foods in this category include:
Avocado (200-300 cal)
Nuts (300+ cal for 15+ nuts)
Peanut Butter (200 for 2 T)
Granola (250+ cal for ½ cup)
Smoothies (300-500 cal in 10-20 oz)
Olive/Coconut Oil (200+ cal for 2 T)
Bullet-proof Coffee (200-600 calories in 6-8oz)
"Some “super” or “healthy” foods, while nutrient dense, are still not so great for fat burning"
None of these foods are very satiating (filling), and yet they range from 200 to 500 calories of your daily intake! These “healthy” foods are very easy to overeat on while snacking too. I’m not saying you should never eat these foods, but it may be beneficial to measure out these types of foods to ensure you are not overeating them, and you don’t necessarily need to make a point of adding them to your diet.
We tend to overestimate caloric content of our foods and this can inhibit your fitness goals, even if you are hitting it hard in the gym! Pre-measuring your food is a great way to become more aware of how much you are really eating. Buy your snacks for the week and portion them into zip lock bags and Tupperware containers. This is especially important for higher calorie options like those mentioned here. You may find in doing this that some of the healthy foods you have been eating are contributing to a much higher caloric intake than you thought.
The next mistake as become increasingly common, especially with the rise of purported health drinks like juices or vitamin water.
Mistake #2: Drinking your calories
As you saw from the smoothie, calories in drinks can really add up. This is bad because drinks typically do not make you feel full for very long and they are easy to over-consume. For example, 20 oz of Coca Cola or Venti Caramel Macchiato can be upwards of 300 calories! And if you consume alcohol weekly, those calories can add up as well. High calorie drinks should be avoided if possible, or consumed in moderation in order to reach your weight loss goal.
However, you don’t have to totally eliminate the foods you enjoy! Some great alternatives to soda could be going for diet or zero calorie varieties. Flavored sparkling water is another great beverage to have instead that have much fewer calories!
"You don't have to totally eliminate the foods you enjoy"
Unflavored black coffee has very little calories. It is typically what you add to the coffee that is going to add the calories. Using sugar-free flavored syrups or low cal almond milk are great options for flavoring coffee, that you can even get at Starbucks.
We all have social lives and a lot of the time they may involve, or even revolve, around drinking. However, alcohol negatively contributes to fat loss in a variety of ways, so it needs to be done in moderation, if at all. You can always offer to be the DD (no really, you can), or if you are drinking, you can go for lower calorie alcohol options such as:
Vodka with Diet Soda: less than 100 cal
Rum and Diet Soda: less than 100 cal
White Wine: ~100 cal
Miller Light, Budweiser Select, Coors Light: ~100 cal
With a little research, you can find a low calorie substitution to your favorite drink! Remember, even these drinks should be consumed in moderation though.
Making these small changes can actually have a big impact. Removing just 1-2 daily items in the 250-500 calorie range will be enough to reduce weight by up to a pound per week. So if you are making either of them commit to making the changes and you could see some significant results.
"Removing just 1-2 items could help you reduce weight by up to a pound per week."
If you are curious about a particular food or drink that you think is healthy, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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