Sometimes I think back to when I was a kid…and try to remember how many out-of-shape people I saw. I definitely don’t have a steel trap, but I kinda think there weren’t that many. I also don’t remember going out to eat multiple times per week. My mom actually cooked meals (not five-star quality, but definitely prepared with a lot of love). So what gives?
Why do I look around now and see so many adults (and a scary number of kids) looking so unhealthy?
Without going into a full-on debate about society and the government…I have come up with a list of 5 reasons why people are too heavy, and can’t lose stubborn body-fat.
The good news is ALL 5 mistakes are easily fixed!
The bad news is that you will have to break some serious habits to correct the problem(s).
Before I dive into the 5 Most Common Mistakes That Prevent Fat Loss…I’d like to throw out an important concept:
Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should!
Let that sink in for a minute.
You’re gonna see that is a common theme in most of the mistakes.
Alrightie, let’s get started.
You Skip Breakfast
I’m sure you’ve heard it over, and over, and over. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Well, it’s true.
I’m gonna make 2 bold predictions here…
If you skip breakfast, you have a high body-fat percentage.
In my 20 years of being a Personal Trainer, if a new client tells me that they don’t eat breakfast…almost every time that client’s body-fat percentage is at least 10% higher than it should be.
I can literally count the number of times on one hand when that was not true.
If you skip breakfast, you have the serious munchies in the late afternoon/early evening.
Like if it’s not glued down, it’s gonna be in your belly kind of muchies.
How did I do…am I right?
You need to eat breakfast EVERY DAY.
And it should be within the first 60-90 minutes after you wake up.
Your body is in a fasted state all night long, and if you wait too long to eat in the morning…your body shifts into survival mode. And that means your body will store your body-fat…not burn it for fuel.
Most people skip breakfast because they are trying to save time.
That’s just a terrible way to shave a few minutes off your morning.
If you prepare ahead of time, eating breakfast will literally take you less than five minutes.
Caution: it’s gonna be hard to start doing this if you’re not already eating breakfast.
You may feel full after a few bites, or even nauseous.
But you have to start somewhere.
I don’t care if it’s an apple and almond butter at first, you need to start eating in the morning.
It WILL get easier after a couple weeks.
And then you can start eating a larger breakfast.
Alrightie…one down, four to go.
You Are Sleep Deprived
Most people that I meet, don’t sleep long enough.
They think that 5 of 6 hours is plenty.
You need 7-9 hours per night.
If you have been working out hard, you need closer to 9 to help your body recover.
Lack of sleep causes your hormones get all out of whack, and your body treats this problem as a stressful situation…which then makes you store body-fat.
I also believe regular sleep is just as important as the number of hours.
As in you should try to go to bed around the same time each night (say 9p) and wake up around the same time (like 6a).
You’d be surprised at how early you can go to bed if you shave some time off watching TV and browsing through Facebook.
Again, it won’t be easy…but what’s more important: getting healthier or checking out what 500 of your closest friends did today?
I have faith in your decision.
You are Dehydrated
This is another common mistake that I see.
Sometimes it’s because you don’t drink enough (actual) water.
And sometimes it’s because you drink too much caffeine (which promotes water loss).
And a lot of times, it’s both.
It’s a perfect storm to be and stay dehydrated.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some caffeine (black coffee or a Tall Americano is my drug of choice)…
But you absolutely must drink water each and every day.
If you don’t, you will never be the fat-burning machine that you desire.
You should set a goal of drinking half your body-weight in ounces.
So, if you weigh 150 lbs…you should drink 75 ounces each day.
And if you drank 25 ounces of a caffeinated beverage, then you should drink 100 ounces for the day.
I’ll also make a friendly suggestion that you should strive to drink your water throughout the day, not all at the end…or you will not be getting much sleep at night.
It’s not hard to drink enough water, you just have to make a conscience effort to do it.
You can do it!
Drink A “Little” Glass Of Wine Each Night
When I point this mistake out to new clients, I get a lot of resistance.
“But I’ve read that it’s healthy to drink a glass of red wine each night.”
Ehhh….not so much.
The body treats alcohol very differently than anything else you put into your body.
It literally shuts down all non-essential metabolic functions (like fat-burning) until it metabolizes the alcohol and removes it from the body.
So you could do all the right things every day (exercise and eat clean)…then shoot yourself in the foot when you come home and enjoy that nice glass of wine.
It makes it even worse when you do it night in and night out.
You will never make any progress towards your fat loss goals.
If you absolutely must have a glass of wine, try limiting it to 1 night per week.
You’ll be surprised how good you feel after a couple of weeks…and your clothes will fit differently.
Btw, it doesn’t matter if it’s wine, beer, margaritas, shots, vodka, etc…it’s the alcohol.
It will be a challenge, but you got this.
Go Out To Eat More Than 2 Times Per Week
I don’t care which restaurant it is, and how healthy you order off the menu…
If you eat out on a regular basis, your body-fat will be higher than you want it.
Restaurants use too much butter, salt and other items to make their food taste good.
Some places are better than others, but even the best can’t beat a home-cooked (clean) meal that you prepared.
When you cook, you control what goes into your food.
And for the most part, you will have fresher ingredients than a restaurant.
Does it take work? Yes.
But isn’t your (and your families) health worth it?
If you learn some good time-saving strategies, you can prepare meals ahead of time…and you will be more successful.
It’s not really that hard to eat clean and healthy when you make it a priority.
And I’m not saying you should never go out to eat again…I’m just saying that if you are trying to burn body-fat, don’t go out to eat more than 1-2 times per week.
Ok, there you have the 5 Mistakes That Prevent Fat Loss. If you can eliminate them, your reward will be a lean and healthy body.
If you need help making improvements, and you want to maximize your fat loss potential…I encourage you to Register for my Fitness Jumpstart Program. During this 30-day program you will get all the tools and accountability you need to look and feel better than you have in years!
Sean Millhouse is the owner of Fitness 101. He has been an Ace-Certified Personal Trainer for over 21 years. Sean has helped thousands of Spring/Klein residents achieve their health and fitness goals.