8 Mistakes Busy Working People Make When Trying to Lose Weight

In a continuous effort to find the ideal work, life and weight balance, we came across this great article of the director of the The Work Life Balance Foundation, Dr. Lanthois. The Work Life Balance Foundation provides practical life balancing solutions for boosting health, energy and stress relief for the busy worker. Totally fit for a blogpost, we’d like to think! Here’s the whole article.

Why do most attempts at weight loss and getting into shape fail for the busy professional?

By Dr. Paul Lanthois

It seems that most people you ask want to get into shape and lose those extra 10 pounds but it is a different story when it comes around to getting the results. If we didn’t have the responsibility of work, family and we had unlimited finances most of us would have the time and resources to do all the things we needed to do to get into shape. But work, family, money and responsibilities are a part of life for all of us. The real challenge is how can we get into shape while still participating in life?

Most weight loss attempts are doomed to fail in the beginning because most people begin with a flawed strategy on how to actually lose weight and get into shape. They may help you to get into shape but it generally means that other areas of your life become compromised or ignored. They forget to take into account that we also have a life and other responsibilities as well. So here are the most common mistakes that I have found over the last 18 years of clinical experience that busy people have made when trying to lose weight.

In addition here are some practical steps we discovered to have been the right Work Life And Weight Balance. By that I mean they are successful ways of getting into shape that also allowing you the time to deal with the normal demands and responsibilities of work and life:

Mistake No. 1: Follow Advice From TV Weight Loss Shows

Most of the time we don’t have the time or the resources to be able to follow what the contestants do on The Biggest Loser. They go away to an isolated area and train 7 hours a day with a rabid trainer continually breathing down their neck and they also have a dietician watching what they eat. Tell me how many of you have the time to train seven hours per day in addition to working 40- 50 hours a week? You will still have to go and buy and prepare the food and most of you have family needs to support as well.

TV shows like The Biggest Loser don’t provide any realistic guidance on how to lose weight in a healthy manner. For one they don’t even measure the amount of fat loss. They only measure weight loss and as you know muscle weighs more than fat. Any health expert knows that rapid weight loss is generally an indicator of fluid loss (dehydration) and muscle loss which lowers your metabolism and prepares you for an even larger fat gain in the future.

A recent commercial in Australia seems to highlight the main purpose of shows like The Biggest Loser… getting your money. They are now promoting The Biggest Loser weight loss program where they recommend that you substitute 2 of your meals each day with their meal replacement shake. Now that’s two thirds of your food intake through their meal replacement shakes! It is ludicrous and down dangerous for your health. Meal replacement shakes should never replace a meal. They should only be an alternative snack.

Mistake No. 2: Follow Celebrity Diets And Exercise Programs

Before you try some celebrity diet, you need to remember that they often have their own personal entourage of support people that can take care of most other life tasks so that they can put the time and focus just on getting back into shape. Unless you have a posse of people that cater to your every whim don’t waste your time and effort on celebrity diet and exercise programs.

Mistake No. 3: Thinking That Walking Will Help You Burn Fat

It is quite simply a hallucination that the fat will quickly burn off if you begin walking. The research is now very clear. Walking is good for relaxation but it is not an exercise. You will not burn fat walking. A proper exercise program where you exercise at different intensities not only burns fat three to four times faster than low intensity exercising, it more importantly requires less time to do it. That leaves you more time to enjoy and pay attention to the other aspects of your life.

Mistake No. 4: Eliminating Fat From Your Diet

Some people have taken recommendations to reduce the levels of saturated fat to extreme and gone completely fat-free. Some fat is required for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. So if you don’t have the fat in your diet, you miss out on a lot of these great vitamins.

In fact, one study showed no absorption of certain nutrients in the blood of all people who ate a salad with a fat-free salad dressing whereas there was a substantial increase in blood nutrient levels after the participants ate a salad with a full-fat salad dressing.

So throw lots of good fat like avocado, extra virgin olive oil (add it with lemon and balsamic vinegar…delicious) on your salads and don’t forget to include plenty of your best source of fats … fish.

If you are still hesitant about including fats in your diet, you may be interested to know that essential fatty acids have a little enzyme system in them that helps burn off stored fat! That’s right! To burn stored fat for energy your body actually needs essential fatty acids to help break it down!

Mistake No. 5: Thinking That Achieving A Certain Weight Will Make You Happy

It is great for you to be happy when you achieve your goal but why should you be miserable in the process? Achieving a certain weight does not make you happy. Happiness is a day-by-day choice. You can choose to be happy regardless of what weight you are. In fact why don’t you happily lose weight rather than waiting until the end.

Mistake No. 6: Consuming Diet or Sugar-Free Products

Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners cause you to actually eat more. This defeats the entire purpose of wanting to consume diet products. Artificial sweeteners inhibit the production of serotonin in your brain that gives you the sense of feeling full. Artificial sweeteners actually inhibit your body’s own capacity to feel full. This makes it easier for you to overeat.

Mistake No. 7: Blaming Age For Slowing Their Metabolism

Is age responsible for our declining energy and expanding waistlines or is it just a convenient excuse that hides a decline in our lifestyle habits?

Here is what the research says…

Adults who don’t do any form of muscle strength training lose between 5-7 pounds of muscle every decade. Because muscle is very active tissue, muscle loss results in a lowering of your metabolism. Studies indicate that the average adult experiences anything from a 1- 3 percent reduction in their metabolic rate per decade of their life until they reach around the age of 50. From then, your metabolism stays around the same.

The research now clearly shows that the largest proportion of this drop in metabolic rate is NOT due to the natural ageing process. It is in fact due to the loss of muscle from dieting and inactivity.

Mistake No. 8: Focussing On Your Weight

We all know that muscle weighs more than fat and the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism. If you begin exercising and are shocked to find that you have put on weight initially, don’t get discouraged. It is probably a good sign meaning that you have built up some more muscle. This means that your metabolism and capacity to burn off fat in the future is higher.

Muscle takes up less space than fat so measuring yourself is a more accurate indicator of healthy progress than monitoring your weight.

If you have made one or more of these mistakes in the past, don’t beat yourself up about it. Making mistakes and learning are a part of being human.

If the balance of your scales is not ideal, it is generally a reflection that your work life balance is not ideal. Your health is important, but so is your work, family and friends. Focussing just on weight loss will just tip your scales of your work and life. To bring your work life and weight back into balance you need to take steps with a work life weight balance.

About the Author: Dr. Lanthois is the director of The Work Life Balance Foundation, which provides practical life balancing solutions for boosting health, energy and stress relief for the busy worker.