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.