It’s funny how you can be doing something wrong for years and not even know that its wrong until someone points it out to you. For some of us, when we learn that it’s wrong we keep doing the same thing but the ones who are willing to learn from their new found wisdom will take what they’ve learned and use it to transform their lives.
Here are 9 mistakes that you might be doing to try to lose weight. I pray that if any of them apply to you, you use this new knowledge to motivate you to change.
1. You try to rely on will-power and motivation to help you stay on track. If we waited until we were motivated to exercise or eat well, we would be in big trouble. Motivation and will-power are great when you’ve got them but they don’t stay for long. These high emotional feelings are not sustainable. If they were, we would have reached our goals already.
Solution: Commit to your health program regardless of how you’re feeling; regardless of whether your motivation is high or low and regardless of how ‘pumped’ you’re feeling. Just like you wake up everyday and brush your teeth and shower whether or not you’re motivated, that’s the same category you want to put your health program into.
Also, stop believing that you’re lacking the motivation that others have. We wish we were as motivated as so-and-so. Just like you, they also have days of high and low motivation but the difference is that they don’t let it stop them.
2. You’re tying to lose weight through dieting only. There’s no doubt that dramatic changes in your diet will cause rapid weight loss which can be motivating. However, this weight loss is rarely sustainable and leads to a host of other issues. When you diet without exercising, you lose muscle mass. But muscle is what helps your body burn fat is if you’re losing it then your not burning as much fat as the person who is exercising.
Solution: Add aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, cycling or aerobics classes at least 3x per week and definitely add strength training to your regime.
3. You try to change too many things at once. Every time we start a new 21-day challenge we see people saying they’re to cutting out all of their processed foods, start exercising everyday and start meditation even through they have no track record for doing any of these let alone all three at the same time. They strategy rarely works and usually leads to frustration by day 4 or 5.
Solution: set the bar very low. This might not sound very inspiring but what would you rather. Commit to 5 minutes of exercise 3x per week and succeed or 30 minutes of exercise everyday and fail. I’m always choosing succeeding. Once you experience success then your confidence in yourself will increase and you can then build up to 10 minutes then 15. Remember, its about progress, not perfection.
4. You punish yourself for blowing your diet. Have you ever had a total pig out day and then punish yourself the next day by vowing not to eat. How well did that turn out? The combination of guilt mixed with starvation is the perfect recipe for disaster. All it does is take the situation from bad to worse.
Solution: If you totally blow it one day, 1. Repent—ask forgiveness for taking your eyes off you father 2. Recommit your plan to Him 3. Eat a healthy balanced meal.
5. You’re alway trying to find a solution. How many fitness magazines, DVD’s, and books do you have. How many different diets have you tried? How many different Facebook groups do you belong to. There’s nothing wrong to trying different programs but if that’s always been your M.O. and you’ve never actually stuck with any one thing long enough to see if it really works; or if you spend more time researching than actually doing then you’re stuck in getting-ready-to-get-ready-mode and will never get results because you will never actually start.
Solution: Do what you know to do. Move as often as you can; cut down your sugar intake; cut down your processed foods, artificial sweeteners and fried foods. They pray and ask God for the strategy or solution that will help to keep you on track. Trust that you will be led to the right support group; right person to talk to or right book. When you let go of your need to find the right solution and simply action then God will meet you right where you’re at.
6. You try to lose weight in your own strength. Think exercise is only about dieting and exercising? Think again. Losing weight is just as much a spiritual battle as it is a physical and emotional one. One thing most of us have learned (the hard way) is that we can’t fight a spiritual battle with physical weapons.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds~ 2Cor. 10:4
Solution: As you wake up in the morning, give thanks for a new day, submit your will and your appetites over to God and ask Him to take control of you day. As your day goes on, also rely on the word of God to sustain you. Try using breath prayers or scripture to help you as your day unfolds. Some common/helpful ones include:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Philippians 4:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ 1 Cor 10:13
7. You guess at how many calories you consume. Trying to lose weight without tracking your food intake is like trying to plan a road trip without a map. Maintaining a food journal is the best way help you learn about your eating habits, understand your triggers and help you identify why you are making certain food choices. It also helps you see in black and white why you may not be reaching your goal. People often say, ‘I don’t eat that much,’ until they see their own food journals that they have been underestimating their food intake. Food journaling takes all of the guess work out of trying to figure out just how many calories we consumed.
8. You stress and agonize about your progress. Did you know that stressing about your program can actually make you gain weight?
Chronic stress elevates our body’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone made in the adrenal glands, when the body is under stress. In chronic states of stress such as a hurried day coupled with a poor diet, excess cortisol stimulates glucose production. This excess glucose then typically end up as stored fat, especially in the abdominal area.
Solution: Take some time to plan out how you are going to reach your goal. Set a SMART goal,join an accountability group, track your food intake and your progress each week and once you’ve done all of this then relax and turn it over to God. Let go of all the anxiety associated with how long it will or won’t take; let go of the anxiety around whether or not you will be successful; let go of the times you may backslide and let go of your fears and doubts about sticking to it.
9. You sleep less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Studies report that inadequate amounts of sleep could increase the levels of the certain hormones associated with appetite and eating behavior. A study which followed 68,000 women for 16 years showed that women who sleep only five hours a night or less are one-third more likely to weigh more—up to 30 pounds over the course of the study—than those who sleep seven hours a night. Ghrelin, a metabolic hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. It stimulates appetite. Leptin, another metabolic hormone is produced in fat cells. It sends a signal to the brain when you are full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels decrease which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. It also conversely causes your ghrelin levels to increase which stimulates your appetite so you want more food.
Another factor affecting sleep and weight is this: when you are tired, your body will crave high carbohydrate and sweet snacks to keep you alert. Over a period of time, this results in weight gain.
Solution: Factors involved in not getting enough sleep are too numerous to get into here, but it’s important that identify your specific sleep challenges and make adjustments where possible to ensure a good nights sleep.
So there you have it. Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Begin changing them one at a time and I bet you will notice a dramatic change in your weight over time.