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Jamaica Health Tips Blog

January 2016

Five biggest mistakes we make when trying to lose weight

As the reality of the New Year sets in, many Jamaicans are eager to drop all the pounds they have packed on during the festive season.  Needless to say though, a lot of us will be in the same spot as we were last year or even the year before. Within a month or two many of us would have lost all hope in accomplishing our weight loss goal, mainly because we have made the very same mistakes year after year. Against that back ground, here are the five biggest mistakes we make when trying to lose weight;

  •  Working out too long

According to a research done by the University of Copenhage, a person who works out for 30 minutes a day will lose 40% more fat than someone who works out for a longer period. Shocked? Don’t be, this is because the longer you work out, your body will resort to using your muscles to fuel your workout. Remember fat is the fuel use to keep the muscles in the body active hence, the less muscle in the body the less fat you will burn at the end of your work out. In addition, the body reads exercise as a stressor, therefore when the body is stressed it will produces cortisol. Elevated cortisol due to long periods of exercise may lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, retention of fat around the mid-section and slowing down of the immune system.  In essence it’s best to do short high intervals work out for a maximum of 45 minutes a day. 

  • Not taking rest day(s)

Working out six to seven days a week does not give the body adequate time to rest. Rest plays a very crucial part in muscle recovery. Remember when you are working out you are not building muscles but rather tearing them down. This means that the body will need  time to heal and rejuvenate for your next work out. Another important part of resting the body is getting adequate sleep. Ever noticed after a good night’s rest, how flat your tummy looks? This is because during sleep your body produces hormones that burn fat.  According to a research published by Annals of Internal Medicine, getting less than seven hours of sleep can undo the benefits of dieting. As outlined in the study; 50% of weight loss by dieters who got adequate sleep were fat, while dieters who cut back on sleep loss less fat. The study even further explained that dieters who did not get adequate sleep were hungrier; they were also less satisfied after meals and lack energy to exercise. In summary working out 3-4 times per week and getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night should do the trick.

  • Starvation diets

Not eating enough food to provide the body with sufficient energy will put the body under stress and by extension slows down your metabolism.  This action also sends the body into survival mode, this means it will hold on to the existing fat and slows down the process of burning it so you won’t lose energy. It does this to prevent itself from starving and also providing energy to operate the vital organs. This very same reaction can take place when you restrict yourself from eating certain food; hence letting the body becomes deficient in certain nutrients. As stated by a dietitian who works at the Western Regional Health Authority, “No food is bad”. Just make sure you are eating in moderation while focusing on eating healthier, which is eating more natural foods. If you eat healthy 80% of  the time you will only need to work out 20% of the time. This means that what you put in the body is four times more important than any work out.

  • Not drinking enough water

Did you know that often times when you feel hungry you are actually thirsty? Drinking water is one of the easiest things you will ever do to lose weight. Drinking water aids in digestion of food, the proper functions of organs and also makes you feel full so you will eat less. Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism and hence reduces the burning process. There are countless reasons why drinking enough water is a vital part of any weight loss program, but more so it’s very important in the body’s daily function. Remember water is life.

  • Not doing exercise you love

Ever heard the saying, will power is a diminishing resource? All of us at some time in our life have set out to accomplish some dreams, but over time that level of will and determination fades in the distant. One factor that could combat such a thing when trying to lose weight is doing physical activities that you love. Dancing, Kickboxing, Running whatever that is convenient and not burdensome for you to do.
Most importantly it is vital to listening to your body, do not over-exercise, over-eat or vice versa, but rather do everything in moderation. Once you practice these five steps listed above you will realize that losing weight is not so difficult and burdensome after all. 

 Do you currently find it hard to lose weight? Leave your comments and share your experiences.