Get in to wedding shape by avoiding mistakes

Health and fitness expert, Eoin Everard

Health and fitness expert, Eoin Everard

One of the most frustrating things with trying to look great when getting ready for a wedding is to put a lot of effort into your fitness to try to lose weight and not see any results.

This can be frustrating but it can also because of things we are doing in association with our training that is not helping.

Here is a list of some of the most common faults I see. For more tips and advice email [email protected] with subject wedding and I can send more information to you.

You are overcompensating

Whether a hard session at the gym or a long week of having great willpower avoiding unhealthy foods, we all have a tendency to reward ourselves for hard work. However, treating yourself too much for work done can be counterproductive and even undo the hard work you are supposed to be rewarding. We frequently overestimate the calories we burn in exercise and underestimate those in our healthy diets, and rewarding yourself for this can increase the net calorie intake, halting your progress. It is important to carefully monitor what you are eating and burning to ensure that you do not unpick the hard work already done.

No lucozade or sports drinks or protein bars are needed after a training session. If you are trying to lose weight, then water and maybe a banana is your answer. A good tip is to exercise before a meal you normally have. That way you can exercise, have water afterwards, and have your meal as your food like normal.

You are not getting enough sleep

You may think that cutting back on sleep to make time for a workout is great for your health and fitness. However not getting enough sleep could actually minimise the benefits of exercise and cause you to gain weight. Not only can sleep deprivation affect exercise performance and endurance but it slows down your metabolism, increases appetite, and makes you more likely to give into cravings. Not getting enough sleep can cause an increase in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, encouraging you to reach for the cupboards more, while decreasing the hormone leptin that stimulates fullness.

Sleep also provides the needed recovery from both exercise and day-to-day life, and without muscle and mind recovery, your willpower and motivation will decrease. Stress is also a significant factor in the progress of weight loss. When stressed the body is in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’, increasing the levels of cortisol, an appetite stimulant. Getting adequate rest and recuperation through sleep, advised around eight hours, will reduce stress and help you control appetite.

You are drinking too many sugary drinks

I alluded to this with the first point but when working hard to keep up your exercise regime and eat cleanly, you can sometimes forget that fluids have an impact on calories. Picking up a tasty coffee on the way to work or embracing a weekend with a few alcoholic drinks can add greatly to your calorie intake without even realising it. Sugary drinks, particularly carbonated drinks, are the enemy to any diet as we generally do not associate fluids with calories.

While we all know the main calorie culprit when it comes to our drinks is alcohol, you should also consider the calories in fruit juice, smoothies, soft drinks, and many hot drinks. Substituting these devious devils can be easily accomplished; fruit juices for no-sugar cordials, putting sweetener and fat-free milk in hot drinks, and sticking to lower calorie spirits such as gin and vodka, can all help when trying to avoid drinking your calories. It is worth remembering however, carbonated drinks, even diet ones, are detrimental to diets. Even sugar free or diet sodas will affect your body’s reaction and cravings for sugar, and so it is worth remembering that despite the zero calorie label, carbonated drinks are generally harmful to your waistline and should be given a wide berth.

You are eating too little or skipping meals

While eating too much food is the most obvious cause of weight gain, eating too little can also hinder your ability to shift the pounds. Your body has a natural instinct to protect itself, so when it is not given an adequate amount of food and nutrients it will automatically go into starvation mode when deprived of such nutrition, causing the metabolism to slow down and the body to hoard food as fat. As a result, it will become much more difficult for you to lose weight.

Think of your body as an animal preparing for hibernation; when deprived of nutrients, the body will prepare for this shortage of food by storing any food eaten as fat. This is because when exhausted of its carbohydrate stores, its next option is to burn fat and protein. The body needs to reserve its muscle store and so will choose fat over protein as fuel.

When in starvation mode, the metabolism will slow and will store any food eaten as fats to ensure that more fats are available for fuel instead of muscle. It is therefore important to keep your metabolism high and provide your system with fuel to ensure the aversion of this starvation mode. I recommend big dinners with loads of vegetables and meat. Have two dinners a day and you will see weight fall off.

Your diet is too limited

Restricting yourself to fad diets or extreme dieting can be worse for the waistline that eating too much or too little, cutting out certain foods altogether or not sticking to a healthy diet regime can affect the rate of weight loss. The body performs most efficiently on a balanced diet, receiving all the needed nutrients and minerals it requires and so completely cutting certain areas from your diet will only hinder your progress as the body needs a variety of foods.

Cutting fatty foods and typically unhealthy foods are key to weight loss but totally elimination areas of diets are counterproductive. Fad diets and overly restrictive diets are also unsustainable over an extended period of time. Completely cutting carbs or fat may work for a short period of time but is essentially unfeasible as you can start craving certain foods which even those with unbreakable willpower will eventually give into.

You do not vary your workouts

If you have fallen into a rut with your exercise routine, you may no longer be getting the most out of your workouts. Doing the same workouts day after day can not only affect your motivation and excitement with exercise but can put your body into a sedentary regime, not producing the benefits exercise should be giving. When you workout your body will improve in its fitness and ability of whatever you are training but if you do not push yourself, increase your intensity or change workouts, your body’s effort and improvement will plateau. Exercise will become ineffective and the results will slowly begin to dissolve.

Both mentally and physically, increasing intensity and mixing up your routines can significantly change your results, particularly the combination of cardio and weight training can encourage the reduction of your waistline quicker. Weight training can not only increase muscle mass but increase metabolic rate encouraging weight loss, studies have shown that people who combine cardio and resistance training lose weight quicker than cardio alone.

Tip: visit and sign up for our intense Sports Pilates. We give loads of gym programmes, structured weekly training and Q and As to help clients achieve great health. We have a free week trial for everyone before signing up so you know it is for you.

You are not drinking enough water

Water can affect weight for a number of reasons; firstly water is an effective tool in suppressing your appetite. Too often do our bodies misconstrue hunger for dehydration and so drinking a glass of water before a meal, snack or even when you feel hungry will help your body identify when it is actually hungry and dehydrated. Cold water can even speed up the metabolism and help curb the cravings for sugar and fizzy beverages, typical issues in many people’s diets. Water also ensures the proper functioning of the kidneys and digestive system, as without enough water the body uses the liver as additional support, resulting in the storing instead of burning of fat.

You do not eat breakfast

As the first meal of the day, breakfast is considered as an important part of your diet, restoring the fuel and nutrients burnt through the night. Breakfast is an important way to prepare your body for the day ahead. Although dragging yourself out of bed 15 minutes earlier to ensure you eat may sound uninviting, breakfast should be an essential part of your day. Eating a hearty meal after sleep is an efficient way to control hunger and ensure fatigue or temporary starvation does not occur, helping you resist overeating or eating fatty foods at lunch time. But breakfast also has physiological benefits; keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level, lowering cholesterol, and keeping saturated fat low.

For more advice email [email protected] with subject line wedding.


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