You’ve been trying really hard for weeks on end so why is your weight refusing to budge?
You’re doing all the right things.
- Exercising regularly? Check.
- Eating healthy foods. Check.
- Given up crisps and chocolate. Check.
Talk about unfair!
You’re even doing some of the whacky things that your "nutrition know-it-all" friend Sarah is telling you about.
Clearly all bases are covered which can only mean one thing…Your metabolism is broken!
Luckily for you that’s not true!
I’d like to take this moment to reassure you that you’re not too broken, too old, or too genetically cursed to start losing unwanted inches and body fat.
You can make strides towards the body your desire but you need to make some changes to get there because chances are high that you’re making one or more of these common dietary mistakes.
Having helped dozens of clients overcome weight loss plateaus in the past I’ve picked up on the mistakes most people make that prevent them from losing weight despite trying really hard.
The rest of this post will detail these mistakes -read on to find out which mistake you are making and how to get your weight loss jounrey back on track!
MISTAKE #1: YOU'RE FALLING FOR HEALTH HALOS
Eating natural, whole foods is a great way to support your over health and wellbeing. And whilst I suggest that nutrient dense foods make up the majority of your diet you need to consider something important…
Just because a food is healthy or natural doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you like and not gain weight!
I’ve seen so many people fall into the trap of overeating “healthy” foods because they’ve been led to believe that food quality trumps food quantity.
Nuts, avocados, dark-chocolate, and gluten free treats may be “healthy” but they’re not calorie free!
Never forget that calories are king when it comes to fat loss – when you eat too many calories you don’t lose weight - even if those calories come from the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!
So long as you consume fewer calories than you burn (and therefore lose weight) you’re going to see some major improvements to your health – regardless of what you eat.
This is NOT me saying you should pack your diet full of doughnuts and ice cream! I just want to highlight the HUGE impact that weight loss has upon your overall health.
When you loss excess body fat you gain health.
Obsessing over food quality at the expense of food quantity (Calories) is a big mistake for your waist line.
Bottom line: Calories trump food quality for fat loss so get your calories in check!
MISTAKE #2: YOU'RE UNDERESTIMATING HOW MUCH YOU EAT
It’s scientifically proven that we consistently underestimate how much we eat.
I’m not talking about 40 or 50 calories here… most of us under-report our calorie intake by upwards of 400 calories per day!
That’s more than enough to stall out your fat loss!
Even trained dieticians (individuals who spend years studying nutrition and whose profession and reputation hangs on their ability to accurately calculate the calorie value of foods) underestimate how many calories they consume by 223 Calories per day!
Again, more than enough to stop weight loss.
So if you’re not losing weight you’re eating more calories than you think.
How is this possible? Many ways such as:
- You could be forgetting to account for the liquid calories you consume such as fruit juices, coffees, sodas and alcohol.
- You might be miscalculating your portion sizes – a 45g serving of cereal is tiny - meassure it out and take a look for yourself. People regularly serve themselves 3 - 4 times MORE than the serving size listed on the packet!
- Are you forgetting the licks of the spoon when cooking and nibbles on left overs? This, combined with the points above can result in a LOT of underreported calories per day!
Bottom line: You’re eating more than you realize and need to make some cut backs to keep losing body fat!
MISTAKE #3: YOU'RE OVEREATING ON THE WEEK END
Many clients have come to me genuinely confused as to why they can’t lose weight.
“I eat like a saint” they tell me.
And they often do, at least during the week.
When I examine their food diary I typically see 2 things:
1. They control portion sizes and are very conscious of what they eat good Monday till Friday.
2. They blow it all on the week end!
I’m in full support of you taking some well-earned rest time and enjoying yourself on the week end. Who doesn’t need to let of some steam from a busy and stressful week of work and home chores?
But we can’t change the rules of weight loss - you simply have to burn more calories than you consume over the course of 7 days to lose weight.
It’s REALLY easy to ruin 5 days of good nutrition in 1 or 2 days on the week end. Heck, in just 1 Sunday brunch you could undo all of your hard efforts during the week!
With a smart approach you can build high calorie treat foods and alcohol into your diet and still lose weight (let me know if you’d like me to show you how to do that) but if you’re wreckless or just plain unaware of the Calorie values of what you’re eating (hint – restaurant meals contain way more calories than you think!) you’ll find it really hard to stay on track no matter how great your diet is during the week.
Bottom line: You need to create a Calories deficit over a 7 days to lose weight.
MISTAKE #4: YOU'RE MOVING LESS
This can happen without you even realizing.
Because when you lose weight your body fights back by finding sneaky, subconscious ways to get you to burn less energy.
It’s a built mechanism that’s great for keeping you alive during a famine but stalls out your weight loss when you stick to your diet.
Here’s what basically happens:
- Your start standing less and sitting more
- You choose the electric stairs instead of climbing stairs
- You drive shorter journeys instead of walking them
- You fidget less and slouch more
- You spend more time watching Netflix and less doing house chores
At first glance you’d think these things burn very few calories and couldn’t possibly be of significance in your weight loss journey.
You’d be wrong!
In most people, these simple daily activities burn MORE calories than working out in the gym!
Hard to believe I know.
But when you consider the number of hours you can spend walking, standing and moving around during a day at work or home compared to the 45-60 minutes you might spend in the gym a few days per week it actually makes sense.
When your energy expenditure plummets the diet that previously led you to lose weight all of a sudden turns into a weight maintenance diet instead.
To get around this you either need to move more or eat less.
Bottom line: Your body finds sneaky ways to get you to burn fewer Calories when you diet – you need to fight back!
MISTAKE #5: YOU'RE OVER-RESTRICTING
Installing military style regimentation into your diet may provide quick initial losses but you should think twice before you cut out all of your favorite foods - it could derail your long term results!
Food is a pleasure that should be enjoyed. We all like to sink our teeth into something tasty like a freshly baked slice of pizza or a chunk of rich chocolate cake.
(Excuse me whilst I salivate onto my keyboard!)
The issue with removing tasty foods from your diet is that it leads you to crave them even more.
Consistently passing on the opportunity to enjoy your favorite foods creates a bottle neck of cravings and desires that you’ll sooner or later give in to.
The result…you’ll probably binge on everything you’ve been missing out on.
This can quickly create a restrict – binge cycle which is no good for your mental or physical health and in terms of fat loss it will simply leave you spinning your wheels.
The truth is you can continue to eat your favorite foods and lose weight – you just need to ensure you factor the calories you consume from such fun foods into your total intake.
Bottom line: being overly restrictive with your food choices can back fire so try including fun foods in your diet!
MISTAKE #6: YOU'RE EATING FAT TO BURN FAT
Oh does this annoy me!
Sadly, the low carb and Keto zealots (which seem to be EVERYWHERE these days), are confusing people with messages like these.
And it can be really disempowering.
Eating a low carb or keto diet can help you lose weight but NOT because eating fat turns you into a superhero or magically burns body fat!
The ONLY way any diet can lead you to lose weight is if it pushes you into a calorie deficit.
But lots of people don’t lose weight following a high fat keto diet.
There’s two reasons why:
1. Fatty foods like avocadoes, dark chocolate, coconut oil, butter, and nuts contain lots of calories - twice as many calories as carbs or proteins do in fact. So if you’re overeating fats, and therefore overeating Calories, you won’t lose weight.
2. The second reason a keto diet probably won’t help you lose weight is because it can be incredibly hard to stick with. Your chances of sticking with the diet are less than 50%! And research clearly shows that the best fat loss diet is simply the one you can stick with long enough to reach your goals.
So the best dietary choice you can make is to find a diet you can stick with.
Low fat, low carb, vegan, vegetarian, Atkins, Paleo, keto… it doesn’t matter what the diet is – what matters is that it puts you into a Calorie deficit and that you can adhere to it.
This is why working with an experienced and qualified nutritionist or dietician might be the best way to lose weight and keep it off forever because it removes lots of the guess work and matches your individual wants and needs with the most appropriate dietary strategy.
Bottom line: Fatty foods contain lots of Calories, if you eat too many of them you won’t lose weight!
The leaner, firmer and healthier body you’re chasing does not have to be a pipe dream – if you’re feeling stuck and frustrated identify which of these common mistakes you are making and take action to make a course correction.
I hope you found this helpful.
PS. If you're serious about getting leaner and healthier and feeling more confident about your body here are 2 ways I can help you:
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