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You can’t pick up a magazine without reading the latest “quick and easy” way to live healthy and get fit. Everyone has a different opinion on what is the best and right way to do it. This can often lead to a lot of confusion for women as they are bombarded with different solutions to their health and fitness problems. I’m a firm believer that there is no quick fix to getting fit and healthy. Getting yourself to where you should be is about making long-term lifestyle changes to exercise regularly, eat nutritious food and sustain it over the long-term. Having said that, I see a lot of common mistakes that women make that sabotage their efforts toward weight loss and getting fit. Here are my top four:
Exhausting yourself at the gym for hours on end could actually be hindering your weight loss results. I see this all the time with women who want to get results fast. They think that the more they train, the quicker results will come. However, this can actually have the opposite effect on the body. Overtraining can raise your body’s cortisol levels (your stress hormone), which can lead to weight gain. Overtraining puts your body into fight or flight mode, meaning its protection mechanisms will actually prevent you from effectively burning fat. Your body thinks it needs to store body fat for resources later.
Restricting and bingeing
I say this all the time and I’ll say it again. Deprivation diets don’t work. Any results you do achieve aren’t maintainable long term. When you put yourself on a calorie restrictive diet, you don’t provide your body with enough nutrients to function properly. This can completely mess with your metabolism and hormones. It’s so important to eat healthy nutritious food that not only gives you energy to workout, but that also helps you get through day-to-day life. By dieting and depriving yourself, you miss out on essential nutrients, leaving you worn out, tired and sick. This often results in giving up or going on a big binge, which leads to more weight gain. Remember, it’s important to make healthy living a lifestyle.
Alcohol is probably one of the worst culprits that will make you gain weight or prevent you achieving your fitness goals. Some people don’t realize just how many calories their alcoholic beverages contain. They’re all completely empty calories too. Having a beer and wine is just the same as having a soft drink. If you have too many drinks, this leads to feeling not so great the next day and often going for those greasy hangover foods.
Eating “low fat” foods
I see a lot of people assume that because something is labelled as low fat, it’s healthy. I’m not talking about natural low-fat foods like veggies and fruit; I’m talking about the processed “low-fat” foods like crackers, breakfast cereals and “low-fat” dairy products. Most of these products contain sugar or other fillers to make them taste good. So, while they are lower in fat, you are essentially still consuming high calories. Sugar provides no nutritional value to your body and spikes your insulin levels. Read the ingredients labels carefully and see just how much sugar is in the foods you think are good for you.
I always promote the message that getting fit and healthy should be about finding a lifestyle you can maintain. There are no quick fix solutions and it should be about creating a balance that works for you, not anyone else.