When making lifestyle changes it can be easy to adopt an all or nothing attitude. While it may seem like a good idea, it actually may be harmful to your overall weight loss progress.
Start Slow And Be Consistent
If you’re just starting to workout or coming back after a long break, pace yourself. Doing four moderate 30-minute workouts a week is better than one hour long intense workout that leaves you so sore you can’t workout for the rest of the week. Remember that it’s normal to be sore when you first start but if you keep doing it consistently you should get less and less sore each time. For more on post-workout soreness read this.
Go At Your Own Pace
Be Realistic – You Can’t Lose 10lbs in One Week
A Bigger Calorie Deficit Does Not Equal Greater Results
- Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) – how many calories you burn throughout the day without doing anything.
- How many calories you burn through exercise
- How many calories you burn by eating – Yep, you burn calories when you eat. It’s small but it still counts.
- Your body fat – The more muscle you have the more calories it takes to maintain.
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) – a fancy way of saying how many calories you burn doing non-exercise related activities. Everything from cooking to fidgeting.
So How Does A Calorie Deficit Impact The Above Factors?
So How Do You Offset The Effects?
- Create a smaller deficit – by keeping calories closer to maintenance it will be easier for your body to adapt to the changes and not cause you to feel hungry all the time.
- By not drastically cutting calories you’ll have more energy for your workouts leading to a greater calorie burn from exercise plus you’ll burn more calories from eating.
- Lift heavy – By lifting weights you’ll help to preserve your muscle which will help keep your metabolism up.
- Eat protein – High protein diets have been shown to help minimize muscle loss during fat loss phases.
- While NEAT will still be impacted it won’t be as great as with a larger deficit.
Understand That Setbacks And Missteps Are Part Of The Journey
While it can be easy to beat ourselves up for overindulging or skipping a workout, it’s important to remember that this is part of the journey and that these “slip ups” are often helpful with weight loss. I know, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy right about now, but bear with me. Think about the last time you went on vacation and had a little too much to eat and drink and skipped all of your workouts. When you got home from vacation were you itching to get to the gym and go grocery shopping for some veggies and fruits? Sometimes taking a break from our routine helps us remember why we have our weight loss goals and makes us more excited to get back into the swing of things. It’s a mental break and it helps us stay on track.
Now that’s completely different from bingeing every night or skipping all your workouts for weeks at a time. So it’s important to use these times to check-in and reflect. Why did you overindulge? Did it provide you with the break you needed or was it a way of not dealing with some other emotion? If you find yourself self-sabotaging or bingeing all the time it might be a good idea to find a professional to talk to or at the very least re-evaluate your current goals.
Remember to look at the big picture. Your day to day or week to week may be full of ups and downs, but if the overall trend is in the right direction you’re doing just fine. If you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of overindulging read this article from Precision Nutrition.