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livelaughlove21's avatar

The biggest diet/fitness mistakes women make?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15675points) March 14th, 2014

Inspired by this article but, to be honest, all I read was the headlines, so it’s not necessary that you read it to answer this question.

What do you think are some myths or misconceptions about weight loss and fitness that seem to be held by women for the most part?

The one that bothers me the most is, “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to get muscular” or the similar “I lift light weights with high repetitions because I want to ‘tone’ but not ‘bulk’.” The reason these bother me is because they based on the completely false premise that women will become muscular like men if they lift weights. It’s just not true – women aren’t built to bulk like that because that type of muscle growth requires testosterone. This picture illustrates my point nicely. And hey, even the body on the bottom takes more than lifting a few times a week.

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48 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Feeling they have to be perfect to attract a man. Gah!
Feeling pressured to stay at an unreasonable weight, starving themselves, getting cosmetic “enhancements” to extend their shelf life on the meat market.
Comparing themselves to unrealistic models of attraction, buying into the cosmetic industry, botox, lotions and potions, waxing, all designed to reject natural beauty and natural body forms.
I can’t stand neurotic women that are obsessed with their body image.

When little girls are already obsessing on their looks pre-puberty, something is very wrong with societies “values.”

Cupcake's avatar

Not eating enough. It really just messes up your metabolism and you end up feeling weak, tired and grumpy.

gailcalled's avatar

I would add to @Coloma‘s sensible list:micromanaging individual body parts.

My nose is too big, small, wide, crooked, straight, stuffed up, retroussé, Roman
My knees are too knobby,
My hair is too anything-other-than-what-it-is
My elbows are too fat. I need botox, liposuction, plastic surgery, elbow replacement.

GloPro's avatar

Fad diets and what @Cupcake said. It drives me insane when I see people (women) refuse to eat, thinking that’s how you should treat your body. When I try to show someone by charting calories/nutrition and cooking for them, nothing irritates me more than them telling me I eat too much. I had my intake designed by a dietician and find it so hard to hit my calorie goals I have to drink protein shakes or eat a can of tuna just to get to 1,200. Salad, when done right, does not have enough calories to feed the machine, ladies!!!!

Judi's avatar

That if they exercise enough they will lose weight without changing their diet.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Cupcake Yes! That’s another pet peeve of mine. I like to call it “the myth of the 1200-calorie diet.” And when women eat even less than 1200 calories – drives. me. crazy! At 5’5” 135 lbs, I can eat 1500 calories and still lose weight, and I surely don’t kill myself in the gym every day. The whole “I can’t lose weight eating more than 1200 calories” is pure bull unless you’re a very petite person – as in, under 5 feet tall.

@gailcalled Not that I don’t agree, but only one of those is weight/fitness-related. Losing LBs won’t make a nose straighter. ;)

@Judi Good one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – weight loss happens in the kitchen, fitness happens at the gym.

tedibear's avatar

That losing weight should be the goal. Instead, eat well and exercise regularly to build a healthy body. Healthy doesn’t mean “thin.” Healthy means free from disease or ailment. I would add to that definition: able to participate in your life in a way that is free from as many restrictions as possible for you. (For example, someone who requires a wheelchair will encounter some restrictions to certain activities, but should be afforded the opportunity to participate as fully as they want or are able.)

Paying attention to BMI. It is a statistical reference that was never intended to be used to measure “healthy” weight.

GloPro's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I don’t think people understand fully how it works, either.
When I chart my calories I also account for exercise and extra deficits. To eat 1,200 is what the body typically burns to operate if you are just simply sitting still (average for most women). So in reality I eat more than that.
Example: I eat 350 calories at breakfast and then hit the gym. I chart weight lifting or cardio and subtract the 350 I just burned. They just cancelled each other out and I’m still at 1,200 needed for the day.
Weight loss is made by having a fewer taken in than used. However, to maintain HEALTH, and not just lose weight, the absolute minimum intake should be 1,200 calories a day consistently. If you are also exercising consistently, you should add in more calories to compensate.

Coloma's avatar

@GloPro 1,200 calories a day is a starvation diet, yes, absolute minimum but not healthy by any stretch of the imagination.
I used to walk 3 miles a day for years, work out and consume about 1,500 calories a day. I was ALWAYS hungry and it was just too much damn work to maintain a “perfect” body.
Screw that! haha

livelaughlove21's avatar

@GloPro I know exactly how it works – net calories, not gross calories. When I said “the myth of the 1200 calorie diet,” I was referring to net calories. I just strongly disagree that it’s enough. And I also don’t agree that the average BMR (which is what you’re referring to when you say calories burned while sitting still) “for most women” is 1200. In addition, BMR doesn’t have much to do with weight loss. TDEE is the number that matters. TDEE minus 15–20% will provide the lowest number of calories a person should be eating daily to lose weight. My TDEE – 15% is 1415 calories and yet I still lose weight at 1500. Sure, you’ll lose weight eating 1200 calories per day, but if you could lose weight eating more, why wouldn’t you? That’s the part that bugs me. People are so convinced that 1200 is this magic number for weight loss. It’s not and, unless you’re naturally very petite, it’s simply not enough.

@tedibear Totally agree with BMI. It’s an outdated system, anyway. If everyone relied on BMI, bodybuilders would all be considered morbidly obese. It’s ridiculous.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t know about myths or misconceptions but I once read that women that lived with male partners are more likely to put on weight because when (if) they prepare food they are more likely to serve themselves up the same amount as their partners and this is usually more than they need (ie: they serve themselves a blokes portion). I don’t know how true this is but it makes sense. Also, women with children are more likely to pick on their kids leftovers as well as eating their own food. One diet mistake I heard about this week is that women who do a lot of housework are more likely to pick more as they think the housework will burn it off but in fact, they tend to over compensate and eat too much!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Fat elbows? Hmmmmm…

Hmmmmm… Nah. No way.

Is this for real? Fat elbows? They worry about fat elbows?

GloPro's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t know what you were talking about. Clearly you do, in this post and others I’ve read from you.
I don’t maintain on a base of 1,200 calories, but I do start with a minimum of 1,200 and then add in the calories I burn exercising to total my intake when I am trying to cut. It varies daily depending on exercise, but my base to add to is 1,200 when “dieting.” My normal intake hovers around 1,800, which I find extremely hard to hit because I’m eating healthy. If you eat crap you can hit that in one meal. A lot of people don’t understand that you can eat a shitload of raw veggies and it totals very few calories. I eat those for nutrients. When cutting I try to eat my ideal weight in grams of protein, which shocks a lot of people, too. Overall, though, with 6 meals a day it’s funny to me that I struggle to eat 1,800 because I’m honestly full. That’s why I drink shakes. It’s also why I actually keep track of the calories. I wouldn’t eat enough if I didn’t.
Out of curiosity, what are your % fat/protein/carb ratios? Do they differ when you are trying to cut fat or build muscle or train for an event?

ucme's avatar

Some women are put off from attending gyms because they think the men are going to stare at their tits/arse as they work out in those tight pants & their breasts sway gently & their nipples har…ahem, yeah, this is of course a myth & should in no way influence their decision.

GloPro's avatar

@ucme LOL, it’s true. I will say that if I’m working out and notice I only have one headlight on when I look in the mirror I’ll give the other a tweak so I’ll be balanced out. If men look at me half as much as I look at them it’s a wonder any of us get a workout in at all!

livelaughlove21's avatar

@GloPro Well, I use myfitnesspal and it automatically sets to 50% carbs, 20% protein, and 30% protein. I hover around that, but I focus more on actual numbers than ratios. I try to take in ¾ of my weight in grams of protein (around 105 g per day). I hardly ever get that high, but I consider it a good day when I do. 50/20/30 for my caloric goal ends up being 175 g carbs, 70 g protein (not enough), and 47 g fat (I rarely eat that much).

Ha, I love people watching at the gym, but I rarely ever check anyone out. Only one person at the gym has caught my eye based on good looks and it was a female. I’m not attracted to women, but I was insanely jealous about how amazing this girl’s body was. Wow…

turtlesandbox's avatar

When women only focus on their diet to become healthy and lose weight. Your body also needs to be active if you want to be healthy.

ucme's avatar

@GloPro Heehee, a couple of my women friends were pretty anxious about being ogled by sweaty pervs, I reassured them by advising they should tell them to fuck off, it worked :)

GloPro's avatar

@ucme Better to be ogled than not, if you ask me. Look, but don’t touch. If nobody ever looked I’d be a little sad.
Creepy people are stifled by a “Can I help you?” And the fact that there are muscled chivalrous men all around us.
I usually say, “no, sorry, I was just, um… Watching your form.” ;-)

ucme's avatar

Ogled is fine so long as the eyes belong to a gorgeous sexy gal.

gailcalled's avatar

(Joking about the fat elbows to make a point about many womens’ issues with body image in our society today. Mine seem to be quite fetching, apart from the scratch marks left by Milo when I tried to cut his nails recently.).

Coloma's avatar

My legs are still awesome but damn, the love handles cometh on. I was flinching getting my love handles massaged yesterday. haha

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Coloma Ha! My husband, who is 5’9” and a whopping 156 lbs, has been trying to build some muscle for the past year or so. I logged his food for a day and we found out that the amount of calories he was eating was way too little for him to gain any considerable muscle. So, he went a little overboard and upped his protein shake to two scoops per day and started snacking on homemade hamburgers and baked chicken. He went from 151 lbs to 156 lbs in about three weeks and I noticed the other night, as he was standing shirtless in front of the TV, that he’s developing a little mini-muffin top. I was stupid enough to mention it and now he’s all self conscious about about his new “love handles.” Silly boy, but he is thickening rapidly.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Believing in fad diets or trendy fitness advice.
Putting weight loss or aesthetics above all else. We live in a society where it is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to drastically restrict your calories or work out until you’re vomiting or injured (Biggest Loser?) as long as you could “stand to lose a couple of pounds.”

kritiper's avatar

They cheat and/or reward themselves for losses. My mom would stock up for Halloween knowing full well that that many kids would never come to the door!
She would brag about the 2 pounds she lost this week and we knew they were the same 2 pounds she lost last month.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Not eating three meals a day and starving themselves. That never works, you usually break down and eat everything not moving.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Definitely. People (not just women) that think skipping meals is a weight loss strategy. Not smart.

Coloma's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Men take forever to really mature and bulk up often times. Wait til he is pushing 40.
Maturity makes a man beefier, like a steer. lol

LornaLove's avatar

So many great answers here and also inspiring. I think @Coloma hit the nail on the head when she spoke of how we think we should look. That can lead to failure, instead of appreciating who we are. Fitness is as individual as we are. Or, to at least find a role model that is similar to what we are aiming for. This is mine Here

Sigh! Simply gorgeous. (Quite realistic too since I am curvy).

Coloma's avatar

What cracks me up is how harsh we are as a culture on overweight.
May not be healthy but one can lose weight, but you can’t lose a shitty personality. haha
At 54 now I’ll take the chubby middle aged guy with brains over brawn.
Better to be a BBW ( big brained warrior ) than a SDF ( skinny dumb fuck.) haha

Mimishu1995's avatar

I haven’t read all responds here yet, but I will after finishing my respond.

I think the mistakes women make while losing weight are:
1. Thinking losing weight means not eating anything.
2. Believing that there are products somewhere around the world which can help them lose weight effortlessly.
3. Not patient enough.
4. Removing certain kinds of food while adding others while the ones they add may have more fat than the ones they remove.
And the biggest is: 5. Not confident about their appearance (seriously, some people are in great shape, but they still want to lose weight) and concentrating only on losing weight while neglecting their health.

Community_watchdog's avatar

The best way to lose weight and have it stay off is to see a nutritionist to make sure you regularly eat, and drink, the right foods, and the right amounts, and learn to stay away from excess sugar, sodium and fatty foods. Its not about counting calories, its about reading labels and eating the CORRECT foods, I lost over 65 pounds and the word calorie never came to mind. One hint: 2 cans of soda per day is 9 more pounds a year on your waist, and drinking diet soda doesn’t keep that down.

NanoNano's avatar

Weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise. In fact, studies show exercise often does no good at all. You exercise for health, not weight loss perse.

I saw a morning show program some time ago where they had a nutritionist/fitness trainer on that pointed out something very important. I think its something women probably do a lot as a routine.

He showed how, people who would go to the gym in the morning before going to the office would, after their workout stop and get a muffin and/or a latte on the way. And that muffin and latte added up, in some instances to 1,200 calories or more.

Well, you can spend an hour on a treadmill and only burn 300 calories. And that’s not even a full positive. In a resting state, sitting, you burn about 100 calories an hour, so you’re only really gaining a loss of 200.

So women who go to the gym, then get a muffin and latte on the way to work, are actually adding 1,000 calories to their daily routine.

Pretty hard to lose weight when you do something like that every day. Got to be extremely frustrating as well.

Weight loss is not really hard. I’ve been able to lose significant weight in a couple weeks just by watching what I eat. Its not rocket science. You just have to watch what you eat.

But we are tempted. Food is plentiful, its cheap, its very well prepared, and its an emotional comfort. That fact that you are drawn to it every day for survival, along with these other psychological pulls of it, make it pretty easy for the average person to over eat.

turtlesandbox's avatar

@NanoNano In fact, studies show exercise often does no good at all. You exercise for health, not weight loss perse.

Do you have links to these studies? I started gaining weight when I stopped exercising 4–5 days per week. I ate a healthy diet when I was exercising and I never changed my diet when I quit exercising. Exercise can help you to lose weight. I know I’m not special and the only person who has lost weight by exercising.

NanoNano's avatar

I could find them if you really want them turtlesandbox. Long term scientific research has shown that exercise really doesn’t work in promoting weight loss. This is why “HIT” has become popular. Your body adapts to the strain of the exercise, especially if you have an established routine where you exercise the same muscle groups over and over.

The same is true of low impact aerobics and moderate running and such.

Here’s just one relevant link I found in a quick search, but you can track down the evidence via many sources…

OpryLeigh's avatar

@NanoNano That makes sense. One of my old bosses was a very big guy and was always trying to lose weight. He walked to work everyday, up a steep hill and then went straight into the gym (we worked in a sports centre) for at least an hour, at the end of the day he would then walk home from work. Everyone used to comment on his dedication to his exercise and wonder why he never seemed to lose any weight, at times it seemed like he was even bigger than usual. Sharing an office with him, I saw a lot of his eating habits and the first thing he did when coming out of the gym was have a big fry up for breakfast. He would also drink fizzy drinks all day and be continuously picking on food. His exercise was probably just helping him to maintain his current weight rather than helping him lose any because of what he ate.

NanoNano's avatar

That had to be very frustrating for your boss. I understand his thinking though. When I was younger, I always had this ideal that I wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted, no matter how much or how high fat, and then just burn it off with exercise. But it just doesn’t work out.

With the calorie content of foods that are prepackaged and pre-prepared for us these days, you basically have to run for five hours a day or more just to break even…

I’m not saying that exercise isn’t beneficial. But it seems that for all of us, we have no choice but to literally watch what we eat these days to stay healthy.

livelaughlove21's avatar

The problem with exercise is that people think it burns more calories than it actually does. Walking, for example, hardly burns any calories at all. So, you go for a long walk and think, “Hey, I worked out today. I can eat this cupcake (or two or three) and not gain weight.” Wrong. You probably burned 150 calories on that walk, and that cupcake has 300.

To lose 1 lb per week with only exercise and no change in your diet, you’d need to burn 500 calories per day. It’s possible, but that’s a lot of intense exercise.

NanoNano's avatar

Exactly. Like I originally mentioned in that reference to the morning show I saw the fitness trainer/nutritionist demonstrated that just to work off that morning latte and muffin you’d have to walk for something like five hours every day. Who is going to do that?

Exercise does boost your metabolism and muscle mass burns more energy so increasing muscle mass is a good thing. Its just not enough and its not practical for most of us to put in the number of hours per day to get the calorie loss we need.

I also have reservations about HIT types of exercise because they are very risky in terms of the liklihood of injury at some point…

For the average person, average height/weight, metabolism etc. you can lose a pound a week by cutting 500 calories a day out of your diet or burning 500 in exercise. But if you are eating the recommended level of ~ 2,000 per day, that’s a 25% reduction. Pretty tough to do.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@NanoNano I believe you mean HIIT (high intensity interval training). If properly warmed up and correct technique is used, HIIT is not dangerous. I do it, and I’m not even in great cardiovascular shape.

And a pound a week is 3500 calories, meaning cutting 500 calories per day is enough to lose 1 lb per week. Cutting 500 and burning 500 daily should result in a 2 lb loss weekly, which is not recommended. One per week is plenty.

NanoNano's avatar

That’s right, HIIT. By danger, I mean if you’re not in peak shape, you’re more prone to falls when you’re moving very fast in this type of training/ie. more prone to breaking arms and legs…

Right, I meant 500 calories total. Its pretty difficult to cut 500 calories and burn 500 in a day, every day of the week…

Coloma's avatar

I seriously splurged yesterday, oh man…pasta salad and french bread with real butter and extremely fattening Banana muffins….going out to walk this morning. haha

gailcalled's avatar

And walk and walk and walk…how about eating abstemiously today as a counter balance?

NanoNano's avatar

I’m tempted to try that new UK diet where you fast two days a week (eat a maximum of 500 calories on those days) and then eat whatever you want the rest of the time.

Every time I think about trying it, I think, oh, tomorrow will be one of those fasting days. Then tomorrow, its tomorrow… LOL I’ll get there.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Yep, that’s the plan, one day of decadence = 4 days of pragmatism. haha

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MooCows's avatar

So how does a 58 year old lady loose 25 pounds the right way?
Choose a diet? Which exercise is right for me? What do I eat?
I could use some help here.

Coloma's avatar

@MooCows Get a calorie counting book or go online for calorie charts. keep your daily intake at around 1,500 calories, divided between 3 meals and a coupe healthy snacks. Walk 15–30 minutes a day, building to 45. Take a good multi-vitamin and drink plenty of water.
Keep plenty of fresh fruits and veggies on hand, hard boiled eggs, yogurts, oatmeal, lean meats and chicken breasts, white tuna, etc. The trick is to stock up on healthy foods and keep any temptations out of the house. You can treat yourself once a week after you get the weight loss ball rolling, downhill. lol

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