Ten most common weight loss mistakes:

I found this excellent article on Runner’s World and thought I’d share it with you, in a bit more of a condensed form. Runner’s World is an excellent site – it’s not just about running, there’s loads of weight loss tips and recipes on there too. So here are the ten most common mistakes that people make when they are wanting to lose weight. I must admit I used to do a few of them!

  • The fat-burn zone:  Running slowly to stay in the ‘fat-burning zone’.

The body might use up more fat when you are jogging rather than running hard, but the amount of calories you burn during your workout will be lower. Your metabolism increases after your run for 24-48 hours, depending on how intense your run was. Even if you aren’t burning as much fat at the time, you will burn more in the long run by working harder.

  • Weight watching: Going on the scales every day.

You need to look for long term trends rather than fluctuations. Your weight can change from day-to-day due to water retention etc. Weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day. Remember: muscle weighs more than fat, so you may be getting slimmer without losing weight.

  • Popping pills: Taking appetite suppressants or pills to increase metabolism.

Research has failed to provide any conclusive evidence that these pills actually work. Also, if you read the packet it says that they work in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. So what’s the point?!

  • The after burn: Not eating after your run in the hope that you will burn more fat with the metabolism increase.

Research shows that if you eat a combo of protein and carbs after you run, you recover better and increase your performance next time. You’ll end up being leaner in the long term.

  • Running for treats: Rewarding yourself with unhealthy food after your run.

You won’t make any changes to your body if you run for half an hour then have a massive chocolate bar. Remember it’s a lot easier to consume calories than burn them! Just think of what all that hard work is for. Is it really worth it for a measly bag of crisps?

  • Running on empty: Going on a run first thing in the morning without breakfast.

You can eat as much as you want the night before, but it will all be used up by the next morning from keeping you alive in your sleep. Your energy stores are low, so your body will go into starvation mode and you won’t get the metabolism increase. AND your performance will be affected. Eat breakfast! I normally have porridge, but something like beans on toast has loads of slow-release energy to keep you going.

  • Cutting calories: Eating a super low calorie diet in the belief that your body will have to use up its excess fat.

The body will go into starvation mode. It reacts to the situation by clinging to all the fat in stead of burning it for energy. Your body will burn more when it is fuelled properly.

  • Energy drinks: Using energy drinks to fuel short runs.

You shouldn’t have to drink these if you are eating sufficiently before your runs. The energy stored in your muscles from this should keep you going for up to two hours of exercise. You only need these energy boost products if you are planning on running for longer than this.

  • Reducing fat intake: You want to lose fat from your body, so you lose it from your plate.

You don’t want to restrict essential fats from your diet as well. It’s fine to restrict saturated fats, but you still need to eat monosaturates which you get from things such as oil and nuts. These help your body to recover after runs and maintain performance.

  • Working at 110%: Training super hard and fast.

You need to make sure that your body gets the occasional rest day to help muscles repair. By overtraining you are not only putting your muscles at risk, but you can create hormone imbalances. I usually have 3 days on and 1 day off so that my body gets a break.

So there you have it, my condensed version of the 10 most common weight loss mistakes. As I have said before, the most important thing to stick to is a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. It’s really that simple.


3lb Off. Gym On!

I got on the scales this morning and I’ve lost 3lb this week! So happy with myself, and I hadn’t done any exercise either.

Today I got my gym membership sorted. As I said yesterday, I was aprehensive about the whole thing. I arrived in my gym attire and looked through the door to see lots of people on treadmills and weight machines, the sound of the feet on the treadmill was not appealing. However this nice guy showed me around and told me how to use everything which boosted my confidence a lot. It was all really good, except there was this one really scary room on the top floor full of massive weights, with lots of hench looking guys staring at me as we walked in. Fortunately, I don’t think that I’ll ever be going up there.

After my induction I was on my own! I started off on the rowing machine, after 20 minutes on that I had burnt 200 calories. Excellent. Then I moved onto the cross trainer. I didn’t like that so much. It wasn’t one with the arm bits to, so it was a lot of work on my legs. I managed an unenjoyable 20 minutes on that too. Then I went downstairs to the treadmill – it was the moment of truth to see if my shins could handle it. After 20 minutes on that, I came to the conclusion that they are well on their way to being back to normal! Very happy and I burnt another 200 calories on that. All in all, I think I burnt about 600 calories in 60 minutes, which I am very happy with!

I can officially say that I love the gym! Hopefully the weight will start flying off! I’ve got 11lb to go before I’ve lost my first stone. I’ll be going back to do the same tomorrow in my break between lectures.


Gym nerves!

Thanks to my very generous Mum and Dad, I finally gained the funds to buy that gym membership that’s been on my mind for ages. I have booked my induction in for tomorrow. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to start feeling good and boost my weightloss, but I’m somewhat aprehensive!

Ok, I might be overweight but I don’t weigh 30 stone, so I’m not worried about that.

I haven’t been running for a while, but I’m not unfit. The thought of exercise doesn’t make my skin crawl, it actually quite excites me. So that’s fine too.

I’m just scared because I don’t know what I’m doing!

I haven’t been a member of the gym before, I normally just go out running on the farm roads at home or at the beach. I like being alone! There are no intimidating muscle men watching and waiting behind you for your machine. No massive mirrors show you how gross and hideous you look compared to the gym buffs around you. There aren’t hundreds of knobs and buttons that you have to press before you even get started. You can just run.

I’m having my induction tomorrow, I’m just praying that I’ll remember everything I’m shown. I don’t want to be that annoying new person at the gym that doesn’t know what they’re doing, but I guess everyone has to start somewhere. I’m just so excited to start shedding the pounds!

Shin Splints: Runner’s Hell.

Never did I think that I’d be miserable when I wasn’t out running, but that magical feeling has come and I am actually enjoying exercise. Every day I get the craving to go outside and breathe in the cold Southsea air and actually do some good for my body. But no. Just when I started running 5K 5 times a week, I get shin splints. And they are hell.

It’s been 6 weeks since I last went for a run (excluding any painful walk/jogs) and I think I’m going a bit stir crazy. I’m the sort of person who likes to go out and do things with my time and be active, yet I’ve been wasting my days away watching Gossip Girl and becoming overweight. I’m starting to get restless.

Basically, shin splints are pain that you get in your lower legs from the impact on the ground when running and doing other sports. This article on Runner’s World explains it really well if you think you might have it. They result from inflexible and worn-out calf muscles putting strain on your tendons, causing them to tear. If you provoke the problem even more, it can lead to tiny stress fractures in your shins. Sometimes, if the pain isn’t too bad, it’s possible to ignore it and run through it. However, it’s important to know that if it is persistent and growing pain, do not try and run through it. That’s what I did, and now I can’t even climb up and down stairs without pain, let alone go running.

After thinking that I could run through the pain, I am now having endless trips to the doctors to get drugged up on painkillers, and I am having to have physiotherapy and possibly some scans to see if I have fractures. Not fun.

My advice would be to run on as much grass and softer surfaces as possible, and avoid concrete. (Hard I know, especially when you live in a city like me). If you are suffering, ice your legs for 15 minutes a couple of times a day, and take regular anti-inflammatorys such as Ibuprofen. Shin splints are most common in beginners and people that have just started running again as they try to increase their distance and speed too quickly. Even if you feel fit enough to run further and faster, it’s important to build up your distance slowly, maybe add an extra half-mile each week. It sounds like a waste of time, but trust me, it’s not. You don’t want to be out of running for as long as I am!