Are you sabotaging your health goals? 5 mistakes & how to fix them!
Mistake #1 – Ditch the scale!
Then scale is not your friend. Instead use a tape measure and photos of your progress. Inches lost are much more important than pounds lost. Fat loss and muscle gain should be the goal. Per pound, muscle is much more compact than fat so the scale is not a reliable measurement device.
Mistake #2 – Not eating enough protein!
In order to maintain and/or gain muscle, you probably need at least a gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 150 pound person should eat approximately 150 grams of protein. What might this look like?
Mistake #3 – Not eating enough calories
Inadequate caloric intake slows your metabolism by about 25%, results in LOSS OF MUSCLE and INCREASE IN BODY FAT! In turn, this loss of muscle results in further slowing of metabolism! Women especially often eat extremely low calories to try to lose weight. This also results in nutritional deficiencies that cause hormone imbalances, inadequate detoxification, and poor energy production leading to symptoms like fatigue, headaches, body aches, and depression.
How do you know how many calories you need?
First, you need to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories that you burn in a completely resting state. This will vary based on factors such as gender, age, and muscle mass since muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat. You can use an impedance scale such as the InBody that will estimate your BMR to calculate your BMR (If you know your body fat percent, you will have a more accurate number).
Mistake #4 – Ignoring strength
Strength is one of the most important determinants of longevity & health span. Your risk of death increases as strength declines. Cognitive function decreases as your strength declines.
Higher body fat and lower muscle mass leads to brain atrophy (shrinkage). As your muscle mass decreases, your metabolic rate also declines meaning the less muscle you have, the less calories you burn.
Example: basal metabolic rate for a 200 pound woman with different body fat percentages:
How do you get started to become stronger? Start with using your body weight (rather than weights) to do resistance exercise just 20 minutes 2 times per week. Work up slowly to 30 minutes 4 times per week alternating upper and lower body. There are many options for you:
Mistake #5 – Not understanding caloric & nutrient density
Eat for higher nutrients and lower calories. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins have a high amount of nutrients per calorie. Processed foods that are low in fiber and high in sugar, flour, and processed fats are very low in nutrients and high in calories. Nutrient dense foods take up more space in the stomach, sending a message to your brain that you are full. Foods smaller in volume but high in calories don’t have this same satiety signal so you have to eat more food to feel full.
I will never forget what one of my patients said to me many years ago. She said starting in early November you just “press go” meaning, it’s a big push from Thanksgiving planning on through New Years. For some of us, this is a wonderful time. From the moment we press...
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