Weight Loss Mistakes That Beginners Make In Their 30s And 40s

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If you’re looking to start a weight loss journey, it can seem a bit confusing. Sometimes in this video, I’m going to share the most common mistakes that beginners in their thirties and forties make. When they’re trying to lose weight,

Hi, it’s Ivana, helping you get fit healthy and strong at any age.

Now I specialize in working with people in their thirties and forties, and there are certain things I notice when someone’s a beginner and they’re at the start of their weight loss journey. I want you to be able to do this right from the very beginning.

So here’s some of the weight loss mistakes that I’ve seen beginners make, and hopefully you can avoid making them too.

Focusing On The Wrong Things

The first of the weight loss mistakes is focusing on the wrong things. About 90% of your weight loss results are going to come from the total calories that you eat in the day and how much protein you take in. But beginners often get caught up in things that don’t really matter that much for weight loss. So it can either be excluding things like, should I quit carbs? Should I cut down on sugar? Maybe I should I reduce my fat intake?

Should I cut out gluten?

Or it can be including things that aren’t really that impactful for weight loss, things like supplements, so-called super foods, or even organic foods.

Listen, if you’re in your thirties and forties, you’re probably very busy and you really need to prioritize the things that matter. So don’t get caught up in all these complicated things that you’ll often see in the media.

It’s not important.

Focus on the things that matter.

Following The Latest Trendy Diet Is One Of The Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes

The next of the weight loss mistakes is following the latest trendy diet. Now, right now, intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet right now, you’re hearing a lot about those diets in the media and you must be thinking, “Oh, is that what I should do? Is that the thing that that’s finally going to help me lose weight?”

And it’s really tempting when everyone’s talking about it and celebrities are going on and on about it.

Tim Tebow & The Keto Diet

And your favourite sporting heroes, perhaps, are telling you that it’s the best thing to do. Just because Tim Tebow is doing the keto diet doesn’t mean that you have to as well.

It basically comes down to this. If you produce a calorie deficit, then you’re going to lose weight and you have to find the way of producing a calorie deficit. That makes the most sense for you. So if you love carbs, I don’t know why you’d want to do the ketogenic diet because you’re not allowed to have carbs.

Now, of course you can lose weight with intermittent fasting or with keto. But all I’m saying is that you don’t have to. I like having food in the morning and I like carbs. Whether it’s potatoes or sushi or ice cream or chocolate, nothing, any celebrity or sports star says is going to change my mind because I’m already achieving my goal of maintaining a healthy weight, having a balanced fun life.

That includes chocolate. And I get to enjoy the pleasures of Ben and Jerry’s and a couple of beers once in a while.

Weight Loss Mistakes – Not Prioritizing Strength Training

The next of the weight loss mistakes is not prioritizing strength training.

I guess there’s the impression that if you want to lose weight and you want to lose fat, you should do cardio. And if you want to get jacked and build muscle, then you should do weight training. And this is changing and I’ve noticed it changed over the past decade or so. Weight training has become a lot more popular because people have realized that you’re not going to get big and bulky like a professional bodybuilder, just because you do two to three weight training sessions a week.

Believe me, they work very, very hard. And of course they have enhancements as well in order to achieve that huge size. It’s not that easy to build muscle.

So don’t worry that you’re going to accidentally end up looking like a professional bodybuilder just by doing some weight training.

Benefits Of Weight Training

When you’re in your thirties and forties, it’s really important to prioritize building muscle. If you’re not doing any strength training, you’re going to start to lose that muscle over time. And you’re not going to like how it feels.

Weight training also helps you build bone density, which is going to be really important when you get into your fifties and sixties and seventies being strong and having good bone density is going to massively affect the quality of your life as you get into your golden years. And you might not be thinking about that right now, but it’s important. The confidence that comes from lifting weights and being able to do body weight exercises that many people half your age can’t do, that’s pretty useful too.

It gives you the motivation to continue with your nutrition plan, which is where most of the weight loss result is going to come from.

Trying To Burn Off Calories With Exercise

Another mistake that a lot of beginners make is that they try to burn off the calories that they’re eating with exercise.

Now, if you spent any time with my fitness pal to have a look at the calories of certain foods, particularly your favourite treat foods like donuts or muffins, you might’ve been surprised to find out just how high in calories these things can be.

And if you’ve had a look at the calorie burn of particular exercises as well, you might’ve been quite disappointed by how little you’re burning off in terms of calories. This is why if you’re trying to produce weight loss, it makes much more sense to focus on the nutrition side of things, then trying to drastically increase your physical activity level.

Easing Into Physical Activity

If you’re in your thirties or forties and you haven’t been active before (or you haven’t been active for a long time), trying to work out every single day for a couple of hours is just going to burn you out. You’re going to be in pain and you’re not going to be able to keep it up. Try to focus on the calorie intake rather than thinking about what you’re burning off. Every time you go to work out.

The other thing that I don’t really like about it is that it kind of gives you a negative association with exercise. So you’re basically punishing yourself for what you’ve eaten. And that’s a lousy way to treat exercise. I really think that exercise should make you feel strong and fitter and more energetic. And you want to learn too, appreciate how it makes your body feel.

Now, I realize this doesn’t come naturally for everybody, but I’ve found working with so many people that even people who are not very athletic, getting eventually learned to love it based how the exercise makes them feel if not the process itself.

So let’s keep that positive association with exercise and not think about it as a way to burn off calories.

Changing Your Meal Frequency Unnecessarily

Another of the weight loss mistakes is changing your meal frequency unnecessarily. So we used to think that eating multiple times a day would sort of stoke the fat burning furnace. I’m not sure what we use to say. That the more often you ate, the more thermogenic your body would be, and you’d burn off more calories.

The research doesn’t seem to support that. When calories are equal, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re having two meals a day or five or six meals a day.

So a lot of people think: “Oh, if I want to lose weight, I have to go back to five or six or having small meals more frequently”, but that doesn’t always work. It isn’t the ideal plan for everybody. If you’re going to have fewer calories while you’re eating only two meals than if you’re eating five meals, then you’re going to be more successful with two meals.And that’s what you should do.

Avoiding Food Cravings

Remember though, if you have two meals and you have a big gap between lunch and dinner, and then you feel ravenous by the time dinner comes around and you’re having huge meals, and it’s going to bring your calorie intake up or even worse.

Maybe you’ve got cravings later on in the evening. And then you’re going to eat a lot of treat foods. You’re going to be in there, rummaging around trying to find some chips or some chocolate late at night. And that’s going to bring your calorie intake up. Then two meals a day is not ideal for you.

For some people it’ll work. They’ll be able to maintain their calorie intake with just those two meals. Other people won’t be able to manage their appetite. And then they’re going to end up in a calorie surplus, therefore putting on weight.

So it’s important to know which one you are.

I work with my clients sometimes over a period of months, to figure out what frequency is ideal for them. What gap between meals is going to do the best job of controlling food cravings, particularly carb cravings, and those that happen later at night.

So it’s a process. Figure out what works for you to maintain a calorie deficit.

Judging Foods As Either Good Or Bad

One mistake. I see, not just beginners, but pretty much everybody make is judging foods as either good or bad. So you set up this dichotomy where I can have this. If I’m being good and I can’t have this, there’s no reason why you have to do that. There’s nothing inherently bad about carbs. They provide energy and fuel. They have fiber. There’s a lot of benefits to carbs.

Sugar is not the devil.

Even processed foods compared to whole foods, there’s nothing that switches over. And as soon as you have one processed food, all of a sudden your whole diet is a disaster.

You can have a little bit of processed food every day, but if the rest of what you’re eating, let’s say 80% is whole foods, vegetables, and proteins. Then you’re still going to be successful with weight loss. And it is a healthy diet. There’s a place for processed foods and sugar in a healthy weight loss diet.

And you certainly don’t need to ban gluten or dairy unless you have those specific intolerances.

Making Drastic Changes In Your Diet And Workouts

And here’s the biggest mistake. I see beginners in their thirties and forties make with weight loss, making drastic changes in their diets and workouts. Many people go from being sedentary and eating tons of processed foods to trying to eat chicken breasts and broccoli and working out every day.

Now this doesn’t make any sense. This kind of all-or-nothing principle really doesn’t work.

It’s something that I work with a lot of my clients on. Because often we think, Oh, I’m going to go on a diet and start exercising. And it’s all these big things that you have to change. And it has to change at a particular point.

You’re going to be like, Oh, the diet is going to start on Monday. And I’m going to go to the gym every day, that week.

And it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you want to be successful, you need your nutrition and your workouts to be sustainable for you. They need to fit into your busy lifestyle. You need to include the foods that you enjoy on a regular basis.

Make Small Changes

A gradual approach is the most sustainable approach. And that’s what I believe in. What’s the point in losing 10 or 15 pounds. If you’re just going to gain it back again, nothing’s really changed.

And the reason for that is up here because weight loss actually becomes more of a mental thing than anything else. You need to believe that you can do it.

First you need to have the right strategy. You need to not be afraid of certain foods. Then you need to not be afraid that taking a few days off from working out is going to make everything collapse.

You need to have confidence in the process and you need to follow through on the system that you’re using.

Simplifying Weight Loss

Weight loss isn’t as complicated as most people think many beginners are reluctant to start on their weight loss journey because it feels overwhelming. They think they have to do so many things, but you really don’t. It all starts with a single step. The first time you turned down that second serving of dessert, the first time you do a workout, even if it’s just a 20 minute workout, it all matters.

Every little step reinforces that process in your mind, and you don’t need to make a lot of these steps.

The Value Of Consistency

It’s all about consistency. If you can be consistent with small changes in the long-term, you’re going to be much more successful than someone who tries to do something very drastic that they can only maintain for a short time.

I believe in a gradual and sustainable approach, changing a little bit at a time so that it works for you. And you hardly even notice the change. Now it takes longer, but if you want a long-term result, I think it’s really important that you do it the right way.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 7-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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