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Three Weight Loss Mistakes and How to Easily Fix Them

Sep 4, 2008
If you are not losing weight, then you are doing something wrong. Lets look over some of the most common weight loss mistakes and how to fix them easily.

Most times when I get an email from someone saying they are doing everything right but still can't lose weight, it can only be a few things. Here are three of the most common weight loss mistakes. I'll cover a few more later in this article.

1. The ratios of protein to carbohydrates to fats (Basic Nutrition)
2. Mistaken identity
3. Lifting too light

For the first one, what I mean by the ratios of proteins to carbohydrates to fats is that most people only worry about total calories and fat. Now that's a good thing but you also have to make sure about the sources of your carbohydrates, the amount of protein and the types of fats your eating.

A great example is licorice. You look at the label and it says low fat. AWESOME! Not really. Now this is a silly example but if you ate 1700 calories of this "low fat" snack, you would get hit over the head with the sugar stick and have almost zero protein for you muscles to grow and recover on. You owe it to yourself to do some research on the basics of nutrition.

Now for the second one, mistaken identity. VERY often clients bodies respond fantastically to weight training but their trainers do not do bodyfat tests. Just measurements and weight. Then after a couple of weeks, they don't see a weight change because they have lost 5 pounds of fat and put on five pounds of muscle. The net change shows zero but, oh how far that is from the real story of what is going on with their bodies. Of course they feel a ton different but that damn scale plays a really heavy role on your motivation when you look down at it no matter how great you feel or how many dress sizes or belt notches you have gone down.

The third major weight loss mistake I see is clients lifting light. When they come in they say they "don't want to get big, so I'm lifting light". What a mistake. You couldn't be any more wrong with that approach. You lift weights to change the shape of your body and you adjust the speed of your training to elevate your heart rate to burn calories. Then you make up for any mistakes with a dash of intense cardio now and then. That's how it works but people lift light and their bodies laugh at them. If the weights are light then there is absolutely no reason for the body to respond to the training in any way shape or form. It's just a waste of time. You just have to remember that "heavy" is a relative term. If you have trouble lifting something on the 12th rep, then it's heavy for you.

The Max Heart Rate Question - Is Pushing To Hard A Mistake?

Some of the newer cardio machines mess people up a little when they are trying to figure out how heart rate comes into play. Sometimes the machine will tell you to slow down because your heart rate is too high (please note that I am talking about healthy trained individuals here). That can confuse someone into doing too many sub-maximal cardio sessions and keep them from working hard enough to see rapid results especially on the very beneficial high intensity interval training type sessions.

Your safe max heart rate actually changes with how in shape you are. A 37 year old who is in shape has a higher safe max heart than a couch potato of the same age. The machines at the gym are made to be super conservative and safe so no one gets sued and massively overweight people don't kill themselves. This is why I always put the machine on manual and adjust the intensity myself instead of letting the machine monitor and adjust according to my heart rate.

Once you are in shape and the doctor says you are healthy and safe, you should just push it hard whenever you want. Those poor gazelles in the wild don't wear heart rate monitors when lions chase them, that's just how nature designed us.

I'm Not Making Any Mistakes And I Still Don't Lose Weight!

Often I people will tell me that they have been working out harder than ever, eating a 40-30-30 diet (or whatever), then step on the scale only to find out they gained a pound! They say they followed all the instructions to the letter, their meals are VERY balanced and they're eating better this last year than they ever have.

Even when thing look great on the surface, there has to be a problem somewhere or you would be getting results. Maybe the protein intake is too low. Maybe you need to total the calories for all your activities and see if you are underfeeding for the work load you are doing. Another thing to check is when is the last time you took a break? Is your body catabolic and stuck with the fat burning because of a catabolic hormones ramping up from the workload?

I always try to go as simple as possible to track down where clients may be going wrong. Here are the most common areas:

1. Underfeeding
2. Overfeeding
3. Undertraining
4. Overtraining
5. Macronutrient Ratios
6. Balance between cardio, resistance training
7. Lifestyle stresses
8. Medical

Well that's it. I hope that helps a little in showing you where your weight loss efforts might be hitting the brick wall. We covered a LOT of ground and I put in links to several other resources for further reading if something looked similar to the weight loss mistakes you might be making in the box below.
About the Author
If your progress has stalled, where do you think your biggest weight loss mistake is? Let me know by posting a comment on the blog where you will also find further material linked inside the article here: Weight Loss Mistakes
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