A lack of consistency may be the most harmful trait if you are trying to reduce body fat. But even if you are motivated and consistent, you need to make sure you aren’t getting sidetracked by common errors that will halt progress and are easy to avoid.
This article will highlight common pitfalls that get in the way of achieving a lean body composition.
Pitfall #1: Not Weight Training Properly
Training with weights is essential for fat loss because it will burn fat and calories, improve insulin sensitivity, and make you stronger. Strength training is preferred over aerobic training that is done on cardio machines such as a treadmill because it will produce a more favorable muscle building response, which raises your metabolism to support a leaner body composition.
Pitfall #2: A Sedentary Lifestyle Even Though You Work Out
If you have a desk job, you might not realize that you’re leading a sedentary life even if you work out regularly. You have to make a conscious effort to be as active as possible because when you sit for long periods of time, insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance drop, which means that your body isn’t burning energy effectively and is more likely to store it as fat.
Pitfall #3: Just Focusing on Exercise & Not On Diet
Many people believe that exercise is the key to fat loss—after all everyone tells us this from doctors to the media. In reality, diet tends to be the deal breaker when it comes to fat loss. Start by focusing on foods that reduce appetite and keep you full for longer periods—whole foods, vegetables, and protein tend to do the trick.
Pitfall #4: Not Creating A Sustainable Energy Deficit
Once people accept that diet is of top importance for fat loss, they make the mistake of slashing calories. This is a bad choice because it leads to a rapid loss of lean muscle so that the daily amount of calories you burn plummets. Over time, it becomes impossible to sustain an energy deficit and rebound fat gain occurs.
Pitfall #5: Eliminating Fat
Eliminating dietary fat may seem like a good idea at first glance, but when you understand the role of fat in the body, you realize getting too little of it is a bad idea. Dietary fat is used to produce hormones and build the outside lipid layer of cells, allowing for better insulin sensitivity and a higher metabolic rate.
Pitfall #6: Stress & High Cortisol Levels
Persistent stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol and cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar (bringing with it an insulin spike) so you have enough energy to get through a stressful situation. Unfortunately, high cortisol means your metabolism isn’t working right any more and it is associated with fat gain, particularly in the abdominal area around the middle.
Pitfall #7: A High-Carb Breakfast
High-carb breakfast foods are bad news because they trigger a large insulin response and elevate the relaxing neurotransmitter serotonin, which leaves you feeling low energy and hungry again soon after. Instead of cereal, bread, juice, and the like, opt for high-quality protein to reduce appetite and elevate the motivating neurotransmitters, dopamine and acetylcholine, for a productive, energetic day.
Pitfall #8: Using Food Labels To Shape Your Diet
Nutrition labels lie in a couple of ways. First, a Harvard study found that food labels significantly underestimate calorie counts on processed foods because energy calculations are based on the calorie content in unprocessed ingredients. Second, packaged food labels are advertisements. They’re written by crafty copywriters looking for the slogan of the moment to get you to buy the product. It’s marketing—not science.
Pitfall #9: Trusting The Media For Information
The media is notorious for distorting or misrepresenting weight loss and health research. Top stories and headlines are often fueled by ad copy or press-hungry scientists, looking for further funding. Media outlets are businesses, and their goal is to sell ads and increase readership, not scour respected scientific journals for relevant food and health information that will make a difference in your life.
Pitfall #10: Not Being Honest With Yourself
Obesity research shows that we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to losing body fat. We don’t face up to how much we eat, how much sleep we get, or how hard we exercise. Being honest with yourself will make things easier because you will finally be able to troubleshoot what’s really going wrong. If you tighten up your efforts and give it all you’ve got, the fat will start to melt away and you’ll get the physique you desire.