Here are 11, things that you should avoid like the plague if you want to get rid of unwanted body fat and build some muscle.
1. Skip breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Fact. Skipping it sets you up for a hungry morning and afternoon, and makes it more likely that you will over-eat later in the day.
2. Add sugar to tea/ coffee
When trying to lose body fat, sugar is NOT your friend. Being a highly addictive substance, it can seem hard to kick a sugar habit, but this is where your own motivation and desire for change must come in to over-ride your desire for sugar. Adding a teaspoon of sugar here and there during the day can do major damage to your efforts, and what's the point in making such a big effort just to have it ruined by a pesky spoonful of sugar?!
3. Drink fizzy drinks
You will not be lean for as long as you drink carbonated beverages. They are full to the brim of sugar, not to mention a long list of unpronounceable ingredients. If a carbonated drink is your only vice, keep it for your treat at the weekend, but habitual drinking of fizzy drinks is an absolute disaster when it comes to trying to lose body fat.
4. Eat out for lunch
Eating out for lunch can really hamstring your weight loss efforts, and doing so on a regular basis can really throw off the efforts of the rest of the day. Most of the time, food that is bought at the deli, restaurant, or take away is heavy on the salad, carbs, and fat. Protein content tends to be quite low, and sauces can have serious amounts of hidden sugar in them. It may mean changing a habit that you have had for a long time, but bringing a packed lunch to work is a key part of the puzzle.
5.Go heavy on smoothies
Smoothies and juices can be seriously laced with sugar, even if you make them yourself at home. When you are trying to lose bodyfat, confectionary and sweets need to out the window, and fruits need to become the new sweet for 90% of the time. A large apple can have over 20g of sugar, and a banana can have well over 10g. If 5g is a tea spoon, you can work out the damage a smoothiewith an apple, banana, and a few strawberries can do when taken as a regular meal in your diet can do.
6. Major in the minors
If you are truly ready to bring your body through a transformation, use the initial burst of motivation to get the right advice, and start doing the basics right. Majoring in the minors, such as starting to count the calories of everything you eat, weighing foods, looking for the best supplements, and blowing a small fortune in the health food shop are all fruitless wastes of your precious time, money, and motivation. Get the basics of breakfast and water right. Cut out sugar. Train. And get into positive habits on a daily basis.
7. Starve Yourself
Big mistake. Hunger does not equal progress. Starving yourself can result in overeating as soon as you get the chance as well as being detrimental to your health, concentration, and energy levels. There is most definitely an adjustment period when you are trying to get out of the habit of overeating, but you need to take extra care that your are not malnourishing yourself. This is where the help of an expert comes in very handy.
8. Make excuses
You will fall of the wagon. This is pretty much inevitable. They key thing is not that you fell off, but what you do afterwards. You can make an excuse for yourself, and say to yourself that you gave it a crack, but it just did not work out, or you can get back up on the wagon and go for another round. Eventually the times that you fall of the wagon will grow further apart, and you will be able to stay on course as far as the next planned treat meal. The responsibility if your own to consistently implement the basics, and get back on track when things go south.
9. Eat a lot at night time
Night time is a danger time for many who are trying to get lean. Eating a lot, having a few biscuits, or drinks can really damage your progress. It can upset your sleep and recovery patters, and all that food energy has no place to go but to be stored as body fat considering you are going to be horizontal for the next 8 hours. A good tip is not no eat past 8pm as long as you have eaten well during the day.
10. Go cold turkey
Going from zero to hero can work for some people, but most of the time, trying to make a drastic change in your eating patterns results in disaster. Change the biggest obstacles first (usually not drinking water, consuming a lot of sugar, late night binging etc), and one by one start making the changes that are required. I prefer to change things gradually and over time accumulate positive habits that will last a lifetime than go extreme for a few weeks then revert back to the old habits.
Eating small and often is a popular approach advocated by some, but for me this is too complicated and cumbersome. I prefer to eat 4 meals per day, and cut out the possibility of over snacking throughout the day and end up eating much more than I need. You do not need to be in a constant state of fullness, and eating throughout the day can really set you back. Also, I have found myself nibbling at the edge of a chocolate bar in the fridge, and going back so many times that eventually there was only a morsel left of it. In hindsight, I would have gotten more satisfaction out of just tucking into it and getting the itch out of the way instead of nibbling away at it, thinking I was 'being good' by not eating it all! Have set times for food, and get into the habit of filling those times with great food that is going to bring you a step closer to your goal with each meal.
This article is by Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS.
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