Can I be straight with you?
Remember those past efforts to get in shape? You were doing a lot of things wrong.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to fat loss.
But small changes add up. You won’t be working any harder, but instead you’ll be working smarter to maximize your results.
Here are six fat loss mistakes you can correct the next time you attempt that diet.
#1 EXPECTING TOO MUCH TOO FAST
Let’s face it, the pounds didn’t pack on over night, so you can’t expect them to fly off once you change some habits.
Getting lean is hard, especially if your body has been heavy for some time – in other words, it has a “set point” of body fat it will attempt to maintain. It views your dieting attempt as a threat to its survival, and doesn’t like it one bit.
Your best bet is to take it slow and give yourself enough time so that you can lose 0.5 – 1 % of body weight weekly – most weight-loss programs recommend you lose one to two pounds per week.
You must find a way to remain consistent day-in and out, even when the scale doesn’t always reward you with tangible results.
How do you do that? Proceed to #2.
#2 FALLING FOR FAD DIETS
Butter in your coffee is a fad that needs to die.
Want to know the best diet to follow?
The one you can stick to over the long haul.
Yes, it’s tough to find something that works for you. One site tells you to eat carbs. Another says to avoid them entirely and just eat fats. Eat gluten. Don’t eat gluten. Only buy organic vegetables harvested in the far northern reaches of Tibet.
But know this: If you go on the latest fad diet on Monday without listening to your body at all, it’s going to fight back twice as hard. Those cravings aren’t you being weak. Relying on willpower sucks.
Instead, find a moderate approach that gets you where you want to go.
With the right plan, you can enjoy the odd “treat” food and not sabotage your results. What matters most is that you’re in a consistent calorie deficit for the week overall.
Instead, choose to indulge in some treats occasionally, and then get right back into your routine.
#3 UNDERESTIMATING HOW MUCH YOU EAT
Studies show that tracking what you eat can help you get an accurate picture of your calorie and nutrient consumption, as well as provide accountability.
One problem: Nutrition labels can be off by as much as 20% and still be in an acceptable range, according to FDA standards.
Plus, calorie expenditure varies from one person to the next. Some people burn more calories simply by working outdoors in the cold. Others have higher NEAT from an active day job.
Genetics also play a role. One study found that the more salivary amylase you have, the better you break down carbs in your mouth.
So simply tracking calories is not a tidy solution. There are too many variables at play.
That said: It’s a wise move to track everything you eat for a week when starting a diet to help you become self aware of what you put in your mouth (especially if you’re the type who overeats).
But it’s clear, calorie counting is not sustainable for many.
That said, if you’re OCD enough to try, use this simple formula:
- Multiple your bodyweight by 12 and then 15. That’s your calorie range to begin your diet. I.E. 200 pound man will aim for 2,400-3,000 calories per day depending on activity levels (make your high activity days higher calorie)
- Then multiple your bodyweight by 1. This is your protein target in grams. The aforementioned gentleman will aim to eat 200 grams of protein spread over his meals.
- The rest of your calories then come from carbs and fats.
You can use the formula above, or simply portion your meals based on hand size, according to Precision Nutrition’s handy guide.
- A palm or two portion of protein
- A cupped hand or two portion of carbs
- A fist or two of veggies
- A thumb or two length of healthy fats (nuts, oils etc.)
In this live training https://calvertfitness.leadpages.co/rapid-fat-loss-webinar/, I’ll go into more detail on the hand portion alternative to calorie counting.
#4 VILIFYING CERTAIN FOODS
TWO CHOICES: Big Mac or Chicken Caesar Salad from McDonald’s.
If you’re trying to be healthy, you’d choose the chicken caesar salad right?
But based on calories, they’re identical. 520 calories each.
Yes, an extreme example, but helps visualize my point.
Your body can’t recognize “good” and “bad” foods – it simply sees calories, macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat, alcohol), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and fiber.
As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, then any food can fit into your plan.
As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose fat.
A professor proved you could lose 27 lbs eating nothing but Twinkies
Of course, nutrition quality matters. But we’re talking strictly about weight loss here.
#5 AVOIDING ‘BORING’ ACTIVITY
Do you drive around the gym parking lot looking for a spot closer to the doors? Stop doing that.
There’s something known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which studies show has a big impact on weight loss.
In a study referenced by Mike Samuels on healthylivingheavylifting.com, researchers found that sitting up but staying stationary caused an average 4% increase in energy expenditure, whereas sitting up and fidgeting resulted in a much larger increase of 54%.
Standing motionless led to a 13% increase while standing and fidgeting was a huge 95% increase.
95% more energy expenditure is no joke.
Walking isn’t sexy, but going out of your way to get in more steps and low-grade activity adds up.
Take the stairs. Walk as often as possible. Go for a bike ride. Move more.
#6 USING EXERCISE AS AN EXCUSE TO OVEREAT
Many people believe that exercise jacks up their metabolism, but it’s less than most people think.
Studies listed on Authority Nutrition show both normal and overweight people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn during exercise, often by a significant amount.
In one study, people burned 200 and 300 calories during exercise sessions. Yet when asked, they estimated they had burned over 800 calories. As a result, they ended up eating more (1).
Using exercise as a crutch to overindulge is a slippery slope. Choose instead to make better food choices to support your efforts in the gym.
#7 YOU LOVE SELF SABOTAGE
Self-sabotage is one of the biggest hurdles you face when it comes to anything, and weight loss is no different.
Let’s say you’ve made progress, lost 10 pounds, and are well on your way. But something inside isn’t quite right, and you find yourself falling off the wagon.
You’ve been here before and the story playing in your head is on repeat, so you make the same old mistakes and fall back into old habits.
Your mind: This is the first area to focus on when deciding to make ANY major change in your life.
Your mind is a battle field.
The motivation cannot be your only source of drive, because it won’t always be there.
The motivation from YouTube videos will be fleeting…
The motivation from that seminar will wear off fast…
Unless you believe you can achieve.
I had a “story” in my unconscious for years. It kept me overweight and held me back from achieving things.
And without realizing it, that “story” played on repeat. All day.
Your eyes aren’t just viewers, but projectors (Jim Carrey quote). Until you change the projection coming from your mind, you’ll never get where you want to go.
If you’ve wanted to lose weight, but can’t get over that same hurdle each time you try…
You need to truly believe you are worth it. All the action steps after that are irrelevant until you make that positive shift in your mind.
“He who who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right” ― Confucius
What’s next? Hop on this free live training webinar to discover a way to get your fat loss going in the right direction.
Mitch Calvert is a certified trainer and fat-loss coach. He discovered his love for fitness 14 years ago at 240 lbs – and now works men who have weight to lose and confidence to gain. He hosts Mansformation Challenges for guys looking to get over the fat-loss hump.