How to Lose Weight Chapter 1

Why Am I Not

LOSING WEIGHT?

In theory, losing weight should be easy: Watch what you eatwork up a sweat, and reap the rewards. But what happens when you feel like you’re doing everything right, but the number on the scale just won’t budge?

The good news: Even if you’ve given up on your weight-loss goals in the past, you can change your results by changing the way you think. We equate weight loss with superhuman discipline and deprivation — but truthfully, getting healthy shouldn’t be miserable.

Instead, focus on what you have to gain from your weight-loss plan: feeling stronger, finding a workout you enjoy, learning to fuel your body the right way, and creating a healthy lifestyle. There will still be challenging days. But with an effective plan in place and a support system to cheer you on, you can not only nail your weight-loss goals, but also keep the weight off for good.

BEACHBODY’S ULTIMATE GUIDE TO WEIGHT LOSS: CHAPTER 1

scaleitup

Why Am I Not

LOSING WEIGHT?

scaleitup

BEACHBODY’S GUIDE TO WEIGHT LOSS: CHAPTER 1

In theory, losing weight should be easy: Watch what you eatwork up a sweat, and reap the rewards. But what happens when you feel like you’re doing everything right, but the number on the scale just won’t budge?

The good news: Even if you’ve given up on your weight-loss goals in the past, you can change your results by changing the way you think. We equate weight loss with superhuman discipline and deprivation — but truthfully, getting healthy shouldn’t be miserable.

Instead, focus on what you have to gain from your weight-loss plan: feeling stronger, finding a workout you enjoy, learning to fuel your body the right way, and creating a healthy lifestyle. There will still be challenging days. But with an effective plan in place and a support system to cheer you on, you can not only nail your weight-loss goals, but also keep the weight off for good.

Can’t Lose Weight?  |     How to Start    |    Make it Easier    |     What to Eat   |   Weight Loss Workouts   |    Maintain My Weight Loss

EIGHT
WEIGHT LOSS

MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE

Losing weight takes work, but the rewards are worth it: a healthier heart, a smaller risk of chronic diseases, more energy, and checking yourself out in the mirror (and liking what you see), just to name a few.

But when you’re putting in the work and still not seeing the results you want, well, that’s mind-numbingly infuriating. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. I constantly hear from frustrated dieters who are following their diets to a T, cutting calories, working out regularly, and still not losing weight.

Probe a little deeper into their diets, fitness routines, and general lifestyles, though, and it becomes pretty obvious why their efforts aren’t paying dividends. Here are some of the most common mistakes dieters unknowingly make to sabotage their weight-loss progress — plus how to correct them for better results.

EIGHT
WEIGHT
LOSS

MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE

Losing weight takes work, but the rewards are worth it: a healthier heart, a smaller risk of chronic diseases, more energy, and checking yourself out in the mirror (and liking what you see), just to name a few.

But when you’re putting in the work and still not seeing the results you want, well, that’s mind-numbingly infuriating. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. I constantly hear from frustrated dieters who are following their diets to a T, cutting calories, working out regularly, and still not losing weight.

Probe a little deeper into their diets, fitness routines, and general lifestyles, though, and it becomes pretty obvious why their efforts aren’t paying dividends. Here are some of the most common mistakes dieters unknowingly make to sabotage their weight-loss progress — plus how to correct them for better results.

Having unrealistic
expectations

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but to be successful at any weight-loss plan, you have to enter it with realistic (and healthy!) expectations. Most importantly, that means patience: You didn’t put on all the extra weight in a week or month, and you aren’t going to lose it all in a week or month either. And that’s OK.

“Often, I see clients get impatient and, if they don’t lose weight almost immediately, they change their regimens,” says Wesley Delbridge, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “However, they may have been on the right path to begin with; they just needed to give it more time.”

Even worse, when people (mistakenly) declare their current diets as worthless, they generally tend to move to diets that are more restrictive, putting them on a fast track for yo-yoing and a host of metabolic issues. We’ll get to those next.

Having unrealistic
expectations

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but to be successful at any weight-loss plan, you have to enter it with realistic (and healthy!) expectations. Most importantly, that means patience: You didn’t put on all the extra weight in a week or month, and you aren’t going to lose it all in a week or month either. And that’s OK.

“Often, I see clients get impatient and, if they don’t lose weight almost immediately, they change their regimens,” says Wesley Delbridge, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “However, they may have been on the right path to begin with; they just needed to give it more time.”

Even worse, when people (mistakenly) declare their current diets as worthless, they generally tend to move to diets that are more restrictive, putting them on a fast track for yo-yoing and a host of metabolic issues. We’ll get to those next.

Not fueling
your body properly

Super low-calorie and elimination diets — like those that are probably clogging up your social media feed right now — ignore the fact that food is fuel, and calories and often-maligned carbs and fat are required for you to live and breathe… let alone lose weight in a healthy way.

“Because our body weight is regulated by multiple systems, starving ourselves activates the body’s protective mechanisms to defend our body weights,” says Ethan Lazarus, M.D., a board member of the Obesity Medicine Association. “One of these mechanisms is dropping the metabolism as low as possible. In general we recommend, unless under medical supervision, not keeping your calories below 1,200 calories per day.”

Meanwhile, it’s important for those calories to come from a blend of healthy carbs, protein, and fat, says San Diego bariatric surgeon Julie Ellner, M.D. While whole-food sources of unrefined carbs are vital to keeping energy levels up so that you can crush your workouts, fiber (from those carbs) as well as protein and fat are vital to keeping you feeling fuller, longer. Fat also helps regulate your hormonal health, and protein is vital to building lean muscle mass, the primary determiner of your metabolic rate, Ellner says.

Unless you have a diagnosed food allergy or sensitivity and are working with a registered dietitian, it’s best to leave the elimination diets alone. After all, research presented at the 2017 American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention annual meeting showed that gluten-containing foods generally have more fiber and micronutrients than processed gluten-free foods; this helped promote overall health and showed lower type 2 diabetes risk during 30 years of follow-up in study participants without Celiac disease.

Not fueling your body properly

Super low-calorie and elimination diets — like those that are probably clogging up your social media feed right now — ignore the fact that food is fuel, and calories and often-maligned carbs and fat are required for you to live and breathe… let alone lose weight in a healthy way.

“Because our body weight is regulated by multiple systems, starving ourselves activates the body’s protective mechanisms to defend our body weights,” says Ethan Lazarus, M.D., a board member of the Obesity Medicine Association. “One of these mechanisms is dropping the metabolism as low as possible. In general we recommend, unless under medical supervision, not keeping your calories below 1,200 calories per day.”

Meanwhile, it’s important for those calories to come from a blend of healthy carbs, protein, and fat, says San Diego bariatric surgeon Julie Ellner, M.D. While whole-food sources of unrefined carbs are vital to keeping energy levels up so that you can crush your workouts, fiber (from those carbs) as well as protein and fat are vital to keeping you feeling fuller, longer. Fat also helps regulate your hormonal health, and protein is vital to building lean muscle mass, the primary determiner of your metabolic rate, Ellner says.

Unless you have a diagnosed food allergy or sensitivity and are working with a registered dietitian, it’s best to leave the elimination diets alone. After all, research presented at the 2017 American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention annual meeting showed that gluten-containing foods generally have more fiber and micronutrients than processed gluten-free foods; this helped promote overall health and showed lower type 2 diabetes risk during 30 years of follow-up in study participants without Celiac disease.

Making every
workout a cardio one

When most people embark on a weight-loss routine, the first thing they turn to is the treadmill. Most of them call it the “dreadmill.” And while hating your workout is a huge problem in itself, it can be more beneficial for weight loss if you take the emphasis off of steady-state cardio and focus more on strength training.

According to one large-scale study from the Harvard School of Public Health, people who spent 20 minutes per day strength training gained less belly fat over the course of 12 years compared to people who logged the same number of minutes doing cardio.

“Even if following a healthy diet for weight loss with adequate protein, we don’t lose 100 percent fat,” says Lazarus. “We lose part body fat and part lean body weight, and losses in lean body weight can result in the metabolism slowing.

“Strength training — whether with weights, yoga, Pilates, or any other resistance-based workout — is important to preserve lean body weight and metabolism. Think about it: Weight training gives your body a bigger engine. That bigger engine burns more gas getting you around town,” Lazarus explains.

Cardio can certainly be a part of your routine, but work to incorporate strengthening activities such as weight-lifting sessions and bodyweight circuits into your routine several times per week. Bonus: By building muscle, you’ll burn more calories during every run.

Making every workout a cardio one

When most people embark on a weight-loss routine, the first thing they turn to is the treadmill. Most of them call it the “dreadmill.” And while hating your workout is a huge problem in itself, it can be more beneficial for weight loss if you take the emphasis off of steady-state cardio and focus more on strength training.

According to one large-scale study from the Harvard School of Public Health, people who spent 20 minutes per day strength training gained less belly fat over the course of 12 years compared to people who logged the same number of minutes doing cardio.

“Even if following a healthy diet for weight loss with adequate protein, we don’t lose 100 percent fat,” says Lazarus. “We lose part body fat and part lean body weight, and losses in lean body weight can result in the metabolism slowing.

“Strength training — whether with weightsyogaPilates, or any other resistance-based workout — is important to preserve lean body weight and metabolism. Think about it: Weight training gives your body a bigger engine. That bigger engine burns more gas getting you around town,” Lazarus explains.

Cardio can certainly be a part of your routine, but work to incorporate strengthening activities such as weight-lifting sessions and bodyweight circuits into your routine several times per week. Bonus: By building muscle, you’ll burn more calories during every run.

Trying to change
everything at once

Going on a diet sounds like it’s just one simple change. But, in reality, following a diet and weight loss plan involves shopping for new foods, learning new recipes, changing how you spend your time after work, potentially getting up earlier for workouts, increasing your step count, fighting cravings for your typical fare, drinking more water, and so much more.

That’s a lot to take on at once, and can leave many people feeling overwhelmed.

That’s why a habit-based approach can help, especially for those who have a history of going on and off diets. A review from experts at the University College London’s Health Behaviour Research Centre shows that habit formation is vital to making changes that are sustainable for years to come. We should focus on changing one thing at a time, and practicing that change until it’s really cemented — this may take more time than you expect, and that’s OK! — and then work on the next one.

Some good examples of healthy changes to kick things off:

Trying to change everything at once

Going on a diet sounds like it’s just one simple change. But, in reality, following a diet and weight loss plan involves shopping for new foods, learning new recipes, changing how you spend your time after work, potentially getting up earlier for workouts, increasing your step count, fighting cravings for your typical fare, drinking more water, and so much more.

That’s a lot to take on at once, and can leave many people feeling overwhelmed.

That’s why a habit-based approach can help, especially for those who have a history of going on and off diets. A review from experts at the University College London’s Health Behaviour Research Centre shows that habit formation is vital to making changes that are sustainable for years to come. We should focus on changing one thing at a time, and practicing that change until it’s really cemented — this may take more time than you expect, and that’s OK! — and then work on the next one.

Some good examples of healthy changes to kick things off:

Not eating according to your
hunger and satiety cues

Down with the clean-plate club! Or even eating a set number of meals each day. These sorts of external regulations on food intake ignore the fact that your body already has a pretty fine-tuned way of regulating food intake: hunger and satiety. The catch-22 is that many of us have lost touch with how to recognize and honor these sensations.

“Paying attention to how each bite makes the body feel is critical to getting in touch with how much food we actually need, as well as what types of foods make us feel good and energized versus fatigued,” Ellner says.

She recommends eating when you are slightly hungry and to stop eating when you are slightly full. Although a 2014 Public Health Nutrition review suggests intuitive eating is a better tactic for weight maintenance versus weight loss, it has been shown to improve mental health and physical health factors other than body mass index.

Whenever you find yourself gravitating to the kitchen or your desk’s snack drawer, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Oftentimes we eat out of habit, boredom, and stress. As you eat, nixing distractions such as the TV, computer, and phone can really help you hone in and recognize when you’ve eaten just enough, Ellner says.

Not eating according to your hunger and satiety cues

Down with the clean-plate club! Or even eating a set number of meals each day. These sorts of external regulations on food intake ignore the fact that your body already has a pretty fine-tuned way of regulating food intake: hunger and satiety. The catch-22 is that many of us have lost touch with how to recognize and honor these sensations.

“Paying attention to how each bite makes the body feel is critical to getting in touch with how much food we actually need, as well as what types of foods make us feel good and energized versus fatigued,” Ellner says.

She recommends eating when you are slightly hungry and to stop eating when you are slightly full. Although a 2014 Public Health Nutrition review suggests intuitive eating is a better tactic for weight maintenance versus weight loss, it has been shown to improve mental health and physical health factors other than body mass index.

Whenever you find yourself gravitating to the kitchen or your desk’s snack drawer, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Oftentimes we eat out of habit, boredom, and stress. As you eat, nixing distractions such as the TV, computer, and phone can really help you hone in and recognize when you’ve eaten just enough, Ellner says.

You don't really know
what you're eating... or why

“When people track their food intake for the first time, they are usually shocked to see what they are really eating throughout the day,” says board-certified family and bariatric physician Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

So, if you’ve never tracked your food intake before, now’s the time. You don’t have to do it forever, but tracking every single thing you eat for as little as a week can help to raise awareness of what you are eating and where you are getting excess calories or sugar, Nadolsky says. Make sure to track everything — those little taste-test bites you take while cooking or handful of candy from your office-mate’s desk add up, and often to more than you think.

Plus, if you add a “notes” column to your tracker or food journal, writing down how you felt prior to each meal can help you learn how your emotions, energy levels, and food schedule plays into what you eat. For instance, if you write down: “I worked through lunch, and then my blood sugar completely crashed and I felt super shaky” after your “candy bar” entry, that gives you a lot more information as to what will help you ditch your daily 2 p.m. vending machine run, says Delbridge.

You don't really know what you're eating... or why

“When people track their food intake for the first time, they are usually shocked to see what they are really eating throughout the day,” says board-certified family and bariatric physician Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

So, if you’ve never tracked your food intake before, now’s the time. You don’t have to do it forever, but tracking every single thing you eat for as little as a week can help to raise awareness of what you are eating and where you are getting excess calories or sugar, Nadolsky says. Make sure to track everything — those little taste-test bites you take while cooking or handful of candy from your office-mate’s desk add up, and often to more than you think.

Plus, if you add a “notes” column to your tracker or food journal, writing down how you felt prior to each meal can help you learn how your emotions, energy levels, and food schedule plays into what you eat. For instance, if you write down: “I worked through lunch, and then my blood sugar completely crashed and I felt super shaky” after your “candy bar” entry, that gives you a lot more information as to what will help you ditch your daily 2 p.m. vending machine run, says Delbridge.

Not getting enough
quality sleep

For some reason, people love to brag about how little sleep they get. But just because you can “power through” on scant sleep, it doesn’t mean you can thrive that way — especially when it comes to weight loss.

“When we sleep, body fat makes two important hormones, leptin and adiponectin. Leptin is our body’s best natural appetite-suppressing hormone, while adiponectin is helpful in making our body respond better to insulin,” Lazarus says. “That means, after inadequate sleep, in addition to being tired, which we all know is every dieter’s worst enemy, we will be hungry and crave carbohydrates.”

Hence why in one study participants who got two-thirds less than their normal amount of sleep for eight nights ate an extra 559 calories per day, and those who slept their normal amount ate about 118 calories less per day.

Poor sleep can do more than drive up your caloric intake. In one small study in Annals of Internal Medicine, when dieters slept for only 5.5 hours versus 8.5 hours, there was a decreased fraction of weight loss as fat by 55 percent, and an increase in loss of fat-free (lean) body mass by 60 percent.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 sleep seven to nine hours per night. If you consistently get less than that — 35 percent of American adults don’t get this amount, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — it’s time to make sleep a priority.

Stop treating sleep as a negotiable or the first thing to go when things get busy. To set yourself up for success, plan your sleep (establish a regular sleep schedule), and then schedule everything else on your to-do list around it.

Not getting enough quality sleep

For some reason, people love to brag about how little sleep they get. But just because you can “power through” on scant sleep, it doesn’t mean you can thrive that way — especially when it comes to weight loss.

“When we sleep, body fat makes two important hormones, leptin and adiponectin. Leptin is our body’s best natural appetite-suppressing hormone, while adiponectin is helpful in making our body respond better to insulin,” Lazarus says. “That means, after inadequate sleep, in addition to being tired, which we all know is every dieter’s worst enemy, we will be hungry and crave carbohydrates.”

Hence why in one study participants who got two-thirds less than their normal amount of sleep for eight nights ate an extra 559 calories per day, and those who slept their normal amount ate about 118 calories less per day.

Poor sleep can do more than drive up your caloric intake. In one small study in Annals of Internal Medicine, when dieters slept for only 5.5 hours versus 8.5 hours, there was a decreased fraction of weight loss as fat by 55 percent, and an increase in loss of fat-free (lean) body mass by 60 percent.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 sleep seven to nine hours per night. If you consistently get less than that — 35 percent of American adults don’t get this amount, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — it’s time to make sleep a priority.

Stop treating sleep as a negotiable or the first thing to go when things get busy. To set yourself up for success, plan your sleep (establish a regular sleep schedule), and then schedule everything else on your to-do list around it.

Not staying active outside
of your workouts

Hitting your workouts is great, but for optimal results, you shouldn’t limit movement to your workouts, says Nadolsky, noting that it’s your total amount of daily activity that truly matters for weight loss. Unfortunately, research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that regular exercisers tend to spend just as much time planted on their keisters compared to those who skip their workouts.

Try integrating what Nadolsky calls “exercise snacks” throughout the day. Once per hour, get up and walk around your office, perform a single set of (bodyweight) squats, or just enjoy a few standing stretches. Take a walking meeting, ditch the escalator for the stairs, or use a basket rather than a shopping cart when picking up a couple of things at the supermarket.

Not staying active outside of your workouts

Hitting your workouts is great, but for optimal results, you shouldn’t limit movement to your workouts, says Nadolsky, noting that it’s your total amount of daily activity that truly matters for weight loss. Unfortunately, research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that regular exercisers tend to spend just as much time planted on their keisters compared to those who skip their workouts.

Try integrating what Nadolsky calls “exercise snacks” throughout the day. Once per hour, get up and walk around your office, perform a single set of (bodyweight) squats, or just enjoy a few standing stretches. Take a walking meeting, ditch the escalator for the stairs, or use a basket rather than a shopping cart when picking up a couple of things at the supermarket.

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