Top 5 Dieting Mistakes
I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients. One of the questions I like to ask at the beginning is “what have you tried before, what worked, and what didn’t?” With these answers I have put together a list of top 5 dieting mistakes that people make. If you have dieted before, I am sure you can relate to some of these.
1. Starting off with an overly aggressive bang
“If a slight caloric deficit makes me lose weight, then a larger one will make me lose more.” Although this statement is scientifically true, it is a mentality that more than likely will lead to frustration, nutrient deficiencies, feeling sluggish and tired, and ultimately saying to yourself “f*** this, I quit.” It is great to be excited to start a new diet and to try to better your health but understand that it won’t happen overnight. There is no need to start as aggressive as a 1000 calorie deficit. A simple 300-500 calorie deficit is just fine. Who cares what we weigh in 1-4 weeks, think about 6 months or 1, 2, or 5 years away. Plan for long-term and try to get the instant results out of your mind. In most cases, it is a recipe for long-term disaster in weight loss.
2. Giving up at the first sign of a weight loss plateau
You have a good week or two seeing consistent weight loss, then you have a week where you lose nothing, or even worse, you gain a pound. This first stall is a pivotal moment on your weight loss journey. I like to think of this as the 2nd week of your new year’s resolution moment. What are you going to do? Are you just going to quit because it “stopped working”? Don’t! Weight loss is not a linear process. You will have good weeks and bad weeks just like anything else in life. Yes, even if you are perfect on your diet and everything was on point, you could still have a week where you don’t lose weight. I see it happen all the time. Do not get discouraged! Understand that this is OK and normal. Don’t give up so easily!
3. Too much food/food group restriction
If you are reading this, I guarantee at one point you have said this, “Ok, ok, im getting serious. Starting Monday (of course Monday, any other day of the week would be ridiculous) I’m going to cut out bread, rice, potatoes, sugar, tortillas etc.” Am I right? Well, this approach, for most people, is too restrictive. People feel the need to deprive themselves from all the foods they love because they are inherently “bad” and make you fat. This is not true. Yes, of course, there will have to be some limitation to your favorite foods, however, not to the excessive level that a lot of people think that they need to do. Remember that the most important variable to a successful diet is adherence. You are better off allowing yourself to have small indulgencies every now and then in order to keep yourself from feeling too deprived. Not only that, but this will help in stopping periods of binge eating. Binge eating is not only a concern for your weight loss, but also for your mental health. Take care of your body and mind!
4. Comparing your results to other people
Picture this: two people on the same diet and one loses 10 pounds and the other loses 5. It happens all the time. The problem is that the person who lost 5 looks at the person who lost 10 and gets discouraged. Even worse, they start to tell themselves that something is wrong with their body or that they have a slow metabolism. There could be many reasons why one person could lose more than the other. In comparison to the other person:
· How much exercise are you doing?
· How much muscle mass do you have?
· What is your age, gender, height, weight etc.
· What is your basal metabolic rate?
· How well did you follow the diet?
These all will reflect a difference of total weight loss between two people with the same diet. My question to you is, “who cares?”. Stay in your lane, focus on yourself, and who gives a s*** how the other person is doing. This is YOUR journey, not theirs.
5. Striving for perfection instead of consistency
This one goes together with starting too aggressively. It is not necessary to be perfect all the time. In fact, as a nutritionist, I would never tell you to be perfect all the time. Sure, your results that week will be better, but, again, it’s always about thinking long-term. Can you really be perfect all the time? Would you really want to be perfect all the time? I would much rather have you enjoy yourself and be consistent 80% of the time over being perfect 100% of the time. Why? Because being perfect all the time would require you to rarely have a social life, never enjoy your favorite indulgencies, skip eating out at restaurants with friends, etc. Above all this, it is simply not necessary unless you are a professional bodybuilder or in some sort of physique-related industry where it is necessary in order to be competitive. However, weight loss is about adherence and a consistent caloric deficit over a period of time. You don’t have to be perfect; you just must be consistent. A diet that allows and accounts for a normal life is a diet that will increase adherence, and therefore, will increase your chances of success. Eat foods you love, have fun, go out to eat, but just do it in a controlled fashion.
Weight loss is a simple, but not easy. It will require some level of discomfort as a caloric deficit means there must be some degree of resisting and limiting your food intake. With that being said, it does not need to be to the excessive level that many people believe it should be. Focus on what will keep you going for the long-term. Start off with a mindset that can last longer than just a couple weeks. Most importantly, stay consistent, focus on yourself, don’t give up, and stick with it!