Updated: Mar 11, 2019
The most common mistakes made by dieters, and advice to combat them.
by Jamie Stark
There are tons of different dieting strategies that exist today - Atkins, Keto, Paleo, IIFYM, Intermittent Fasting, etc. All of them have the potential to work when done correctly, but there are common mistakes made by people that we'd like to help YOU avoid.
Mistake #1: Under eating
We all know that you need a caloric deficit (eating less calories than you burn) in order to effectively and consistently lose weight. Unfortunately, there is a limit to the effectiveness of a diet when you push your calorie intake too low. At too great of a deficit, your body essentially enters starvation mode, and your metabolism will slow down - sometimes permanently.
So how do you fix this problem? We recommend between a 10-20% caloric deficit for best results, with a "cheat meal" scattered in every 2-3 weeks. How do you know what a 10-20% deficit is? There are many methods to figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - the number of calories your body needs in order to maintain its current composition. The easiest way to get an estimated BMR is to Google BMR calculator, enter your information, and it will tell you an estimated recommended caloric intake for maintenance. I'd recommend doing a couple of these "quizzes" and averaging them for a closer result. A more accurate way of finding your BMR would be a InBody scan. These can be done at our facility anytime during business hours. Now, once you've found your BMR, you can subtract 10-20% and have that as your target intake. For example, if my BMR is 2000 calories, a 10% deficit would be 1800 and 20% would be 1600.
Mistake #2: Not tracking what you're eating
To put it simply, if you're not tracking your intake on a daily basis, there are very few people that would have any idea how much they're actually eating. There are many ways to track your food (and drink, if applicable) and all of them work (assuming they're done correctly). The type of nutrition plan you're following will make a difference in how you track your intake, but the concept is the same. We recommend using the free app MyFitnessPal to track what you're eating. Simply log your foods in your food journal and it will keep track of everything for you. There's even a bar code scanner option, which makes it super simple. Bottom line, if you're not tracking your food intake, it's likely that you're either over eating or (you guessed it) under eating, and either will destroy your weight loss goals.
Mistake #3: Measuring your progress by numbers on a scale
There is much more that goes into your health and fitness than simply how much you weigh. Let me be clear: I'm not advocating against using the scale as a measuring stick for your progress - I'm simply saying that it shouldn't be the ONLY measuring stick. I've seen too many people start working out and dieting, and if they don't see a lower number on the scale 30 days later, they get frustrated and quit - and I don't want that for you!
What happens to most people early in their weight loss pursuit is that they lose fat but gain some muscle at the same time. Their body composition has definitely changed for the better, but the scale still says the same. I have two main tips to avoid freaking out about this:
1) Understand that there's more to "weight loss" than losing weight. Your body is changing, so gauge yourself off total body composition instead. I can tell you right now, my wife looks better and more healthy at 155 pounds than she did at 140.
2) Always remind yourself of "WHY" you started in the first place, and that will keep you determined for the long term. Maybe you have a wedding coming up. Or perhaps you want to make sure you're around and healthy for your kids or grandkids as long as possible. If you keep this in your mind, you're much less likely to lose sight of your goals.
Mistake #4: Hidden calories (and sugar)
This is a tricky one, and it's mostly due to false information that's been spread over the last several decades. Unfortunately, too many people right now consume calories and very poor nutrients via beverage. Let's tackle the obvious first: if you drink pop, stop - cold turkey. The not-so-obvious one is next: If you drink juice instead because you were told it was a better alternative to pop, stop that too - you were lied to.
I know what you're probably thinking: "But I thought juice was healthy because it has vitamins!" Unfortunately, any benefit you may have gained from those vitamins have been negated (and then some) by the load of sugar you just introduced to your blood stream, resulting in a MASSIVE spike in insulin (your body's major fat storage hormone).
In a perfect world, 100% of your liquid should come from water exclusively. If you're like me and you like some flavor in your water, there are a ton of options - Amino acids, A-cuts, Miyo, or even a small squeeze of lemon (Yes, small. Lemon has sugar too).
Mistake #5: Not lifting weights
One thing every person should be doing when trying to lose weight is lifting weights!
"I'm trying to get smaller, NOT BIGGER!"
I hear you. From the outside looking in, lifting weights when you're trying to slim down can seem a little counter-intuitive. However, lifting weights works in perfectly with your weight loss goal for many reasons:
1) The more lean muscle that you have on your body, the more calories your body is going to burn on average, which in turn speeds up your path to your goal
2) Building a base of muscle will improve your aesthetic appearance sooner. Your newly build muscle will help structure your body to appear stronger, leaner, and more toned even before you've lost the fat that you set out to lose.
3) After lifting weights, your body will use extra energy for the next 2-4 days to help repair micro-tears in your muscles from lifting weights, which will also help boost your metabolism!
THANKS FOR READING!
I hope everyone who reads this can take one or two things away that will help them toward their goals! It's always our objective to spread as much knowledge about nutrition, exercise, and all things health-related. To schedule an InBody scan, please call us at (660) 562-1124
Stay tuned for more!