When many people try to lose weight, they make the mistake of focusing too heavily on that number staring back at them on the scale. There are many pitfalls to measuring your success by your weight, but one of the biggest is the fact that by doing so, you could actually be losing muscle mass instead of fat. In fact, there are a few common habits people mistakenly develop when trying to lose weight that can actually result in a loss of strength and muscle mass—which is never the end-goal.
Not Getting Enough Protein
Simply put, your body needs protein in order to build and maintain healthy, lean muscle. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, you’re most likely not fueling your muscles with what they need to thrive. As a result, you’ll slowly lose muscle. Everybody’s protein needs are different, but keep in mind that the average adult needs around 80 grams per day.
Neglecting Your Sleep
Did you know that the amount and quality of sleep you get can also affect your weight loss? Failing to get enough sleep will result in higher cortisol levels in the body. And with higher cortisol, your body will begin to store carbohydrates as fat. Not only will this lead to you being more tired and fatigued (and therefore less likely to exercise efficiently), but it could also prevent you from burning fat. Instead, your body will begin burning through muscle.
Cutting Too Many Calories
While maintaining a caloric deficit is a given if you want to burn fat and lose weight, keep in mind that cutting too many calories will actually send your body into starvation mode. When this occurs, your body will begin burning through muscle first, which means the numbers on the scale will continue to drop, but you won’t actually be losing much fat. And of course, you’ll be getting weaker.
Foregoing Strength Exercises
Cardio exercise is great for burning calories, but for best results, it’s good to mix in some strength training with every workout. This will help to keep your muscle healthy and toned—and when you’re also getting enough protein, it will help protect muscle from wasting away, allowing your body to burn fat instead.
There’s a huge difference between burning fat and burning muscle, so make sure your habits are sending you in the right direction for long-term health and success. Remember that protein is key to maintaining healthy muscle, and with Protein2o’s whey protein isolate, you can fuel your body with the nutrients it needs for success!