How to Pace Your Weight Loss Program to Avoid Burnout
You may have seen the headlines in magazines, “Lose 10 Pounds In 2 Weeks!” or seen the weight loss infomercials where people claim to have lost several pounds in just a few weeks by taking the latest fat burning supplement that contains some secret weed extract that they just yanked out from the Amazon jungle.
You’ve seen it all… you’ve heard it all… and some people have probably tried it all. And none have worked. The reason for this is that the focus is all wrong.
Everybody wants to lose weight fast. They gained it slowly, but they want it gone fast. 2 weeks at the gym and they expect to lose 30 pounds. They believe that it’s possible because of the hype they see in the magazines, infomercials, etc.
The fact of the matter is that weight loss is a slow process. You can speed it up to a certain extent, but even then, you can’t expect miracles overnight. Forget the bold claims and hyperbole that you see in this industry. It’s all designed to get you to part with your money. The only thing that will lose weight fast is your wallet.
Today, we’ll look at how you should pace your weight loss program. It is of paramount importance that you understand this. If you try to do too much too soon, your body will go into shock. This will make it stubbornly cling on to its fat stores and you’ll hit a weight loss plateau where you don’t see any weight loss no matter what you do… or your results may be dismal.
If you approach weight loss with a gradual and sensible program, you will consistently lose weight without hiccups. In the long run, you’ll lose weight much faster than by trying to rush things. Haste makes waste applies here. Let’s see how you can pace yourself.
Only Aim for a 500 to 600 Calorie Deficit Daily
This is the benchmark of all weight loss. Do NOT ever cut your calories too severely. Millions of people make this mistake. They try to starve themselves so that they lose weight fast.
Initially, a few pounds will come off but after that, your body will go into starvation mode and stubbornly cling on to its fat stores for future emergencies. Your metabolism will slow down, and lean muscle will be burnt for fuel. This is a double whammy because you’ll burn much fewer calories and your fat loss may come to an abrupt halt.
Please note that this deficit amount is assuming that you're eating 3300+ calories; it equates to about a 15% deficit. However, if you're currently eating less than this you may need to reduce the deficit to 10% of your caloric intake to keep you sane!
Incorporate HIIT Sparingly in the Beginning
Another mistake is to train hard every single day when you’re just getting started. Your body is not used to the activity. Your muscles ache and your performance is not optimal because you’re trying to do too much too soon.
Pace yourself accordingly. 2 or 3 high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions per week will suffice. You’ll be in fat burning mode for hours after the workout is over. So, you do not need to push yourself to a point of constant exhaustion.
Fat Burners are Best Used Later
Do fat burning supplements work? Some do and most don’t. However, even for those that do work, the effects are not mind-blowing. A fat burner is just to give you an added edge and a little bit of extra help.
If you are 30 pounds overweight, you don’t need a fat burner and you should avoid them. If you are lean and at a 12% body fat percentage and you really want to shed the remaining 2 to 3 percent so that you can see your six pack abs, then you could give fat burners a try and see if they work for you. These pills should be used as a last resort.
Cardio on an Empty Stomach
Cardio on an empty stomach (also known as fasted cardio) is one of the best ways to lose weight. However, if you’re doing it, it’s best to just do slow or moderate cardio such as a brisk walk for about 30 minutes. You do not want to train hard while you’re on an empty stomach. Your glycogen levels are low and if your body is stressed too hard, it’ll burn muscle for fuel instead of fat.
It’s also best to keep fasted cardio for the later stages in your weight loss program because you really can’t go beyond that. It’s a very powerful tool for weight loss and is best used when you are down to your last 10 pounds of excess fat.
Rest When You Need To
If your body aches and you’re in pain, get sufficient rest. Do not blindly push yourself. There is a difference between being reluctant to work out because you’re not in the mood and being unable to work out because your body is too sore and feels drained.
If you push yourself and don’t get enough rest, your body will get stressed and release the stress hormone cortisol which indirectly leads to weight gain. Your weight loss may also slow down because the body is just too tired.
Clean Up Your Diet Gradually
Eating healthier is probably the toughest part of losing weight. Do not try and clean up your diet overnight. This is a very common mistake that leads to binge eating and many other problems.
Change your diet gradually. Consume less of the detrimental foods and over time slowly eliminate them from your diet. This will make it less stressful for you and you will not be stressed out from constant food cravings.
Follow the tips above and your weight loss journey will not only be much easier, but you’ll be much more likely to stay the course and reach your weight loss goal. Weight loss is a process and like most processes, it takes time. So, don’t rush it. Rest assured that you will get there in time.