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Five Common Weight Loss Mistakes That Create Love Handles Instead of Six-Pack Abs
There are good guys and bad guys when it comes to weight loss information. Unfortunately, a lot of it is bad. And when the information is bad, it has the potential to make you fat instead of the other way around. So if you want six pack abs and not love handles, let’s take a look at seven common mistakes dieters make so you can reach your weight loss goals without creating obstacles of your own making.
Error no. Myth #1: Not Enough Fat
There is a misconception that all fat is bad, especially when trying to lose weight. However, healthy fats make us feel full longer, so we don’t eat as much throughout the day. Fat is digested slowly, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat too little of healthy fats and you’ll snack more frequently without feeling satisfied.
Foods labeled “fat-free” often contain a lot of sugar to make up for lost flavor. Consuming more sugar only leads to more calories and cravings, which leads to eating more. Your best bet for getting those six pack abs? Fight fat with fat by consuming moderate portions of healthy fats like olive oil, cocoa powder, nuts, and avocados. Eat other super fats like low-fat dairy products and salmon and your appetite will be satiated while your love handles will become a thing of the past.
Error no. 2: Too few carbohydrates
Despite current — and unfortunate — beliefs about weight loss, carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet. The best “diet” is actually not a diet at all, but a healthy eating plan that you can follow for the rest of your life. Can you realistically stick to a low-carb diet for the rest of your days? And the more important question is, should you?
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy that also promote a sense of well-being. A healthy, lifelong eating plan should include a reasonable amount of carbohydrates found in foods that promote weight loss such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans and whole grains. Research has shown that many, if not most of these foods actually help burn fat, not store it. And the overall health benefits of consuming these antioxidant-rich foods simply cannot be ignored. On the other hand, simple sugars like those found in sodas and candy only provide empty calories that pile on the pounds and simply increase the desire for more. Keep in mind that artificial sweeteners, while not adding calories to your diet, still increase cravings for sweet (often fatty) foods and are linked to increased consumption.
Mistake #3: Too Few Calories
Do you like love handles? So the best way to make them even bigger is to radically limit the calories you eat each day. While this seems to make little sense, it’s perfectly clear to your metabolism. You see, your metabolism doesn’t know the difference between starving yourself and radically cutting calories. When it feels prolonged hunger, it does its job of protecting you by slowing down and storing more fat so you don’t die. And remember what I said earlier. You want an eating plan that you can stick with for the rest of your life. Does starving for the rest of your life sound like fun?
You should never go below 1,200 calories a day, and even those few calories are extreme. If you train as you should, your calorie needs will increase accordingly. By the way, eat 500 fewer calories a day and you’ll lose a pound every week. A pound or two of fat loss each week is a healthy goal for losing weight and keeping it off permanently. Shoot for much more and you risk hunger-induced bingeing and possibly packing on more pounds than when you started.
Error no. 4: Chase the latest fad
The latest diet fads don’t get you six pack abs, no matter what the ads and books claim. Instead they set you up to fail. Think about it. Who can realistically live on a diet of lemonade and maple syrup, or nothing but bowls of coleslaw? Absolutely none. Virtually everyone who follows these diets gives up out of frustration and boredom. Then they go back to their old eating habits and pack on even more pounds than before. You most likely have done nothing to address those unhealthy and unsightly love handles. Again, remember the most important question: can I eat like this for life?
Error no. Myth #5: No strength training
Many women shy away from strength training out of fear that it will add a significant amount of muscle and “bulk it up.” This fear is unnecessary as women are normally unable to look like female bodybuilders unless using extreme steroids or supplements. Muscles aren’t a bad thing. It actually promotes fat loss, even when you’re resting, and tightens skin that sags as you lose weight. Strength training, for both men and women, allows your new body to shine. Muscles give your body the attractive curves and shape you desire.
Because muscle weighs more than fat, you may notice weight gain as you exercise. But realize that the muscle you gain gives you curves in the right places and helps you remove the shapes you don’t want. That muscle will ultimately help you lose more weight from fat than you gain from the muscle itself. Therefore, don’t necessarily use the scale as your sole measurement of fat loss. Use a tape measure and monitor progress around your arms, waist or legs.
Now you know the five common mistakes dieters make that actually increase the likelihood of keeping if not enlarging love handles instead of creating six pack abs. Let’s tell the truth. Don’t the alternatives to these mistakes sound much more appealing?
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