Effective weight loss is a process that involves several factors. Importantly, it requires changing behaviors and developing a specific mindset. Along the way, there are many pitfalls that, especially when combined, can worsen your situation. Here are common mistakes made on a weight loss diet that you must avoid if you want to see and maintain results.
Some time ago, I wrote about the common mistakes I see at the gym. I thought I would address this topic in the context of a weight loss diet as well, since these two areas often go hand in hand.
Ultimately, success is achieved through both knowing what to do and what to avoid.
What are the most common mistakes made on a weight loss diet?
Alright, let’s talk about the mistakes made during weight loss. Mistakes that I have made myself and I’m sure are not unfamiliar to you. They are behaviors that may seem insignificant but actually strongly sabotage your efforts to shed those extra pounds.
I know that you may be tempted by the idea of finding some incredibly effective solution that you somehow haven’t heard of before, but it’s a fantasy.
The path to success lies in mastering the basics and consistently implementing them.
Especially if it’s your first attempt at losing weight, you may have an unrealistic vision of how this process will unfold, how long it will take, and what your actual weight loss diet, which has a chance of yielding results, will look like.
When starting your efforts, it’s worth considering whether you truly understand what it takes to effectively lose weight. Is the information you have coming from a reliable source, and is the person presenting it genuinely trying to help you?
A misguided vision and misleading information right from the start will take you down the wrong path, ultimately resulting in disappointment.
Not counting calories
The essence of counting calories during weight loss seems to be common knowledge, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem to fully resonate with people that they must strictly adhere to it.
I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps they think it’s too difficult or cumbersome to do it over an extended period of time? Maybe they feel embarrassed? Or perhaps they don’t fully believe that it’s what truly works for others?
A pro tip that I will forever offer in this area is manually counting calories by having a spreadsheet where you enter the quantities of ingredients in your meals and their respective macros.
A significant advantage of this approach is becoming visually familiar with the quantities and values, allowing for more intuitive eating in the future, even outside the home.
But getting back to the main point, people often start a diet thinking that what it offers – specific combinations of products – will solve the problem on its own. However, it’s the daily, weekly, and monthly energy balance that determines the number you see on the scale.
By the way, even precise calorie counting doesn’t fully solve the problem. Calculating your daily caloric needs gives you a number that is probably good but certainly not perfect. The next step is to strictly adhere to that value to see if your weight actually drops.
Perhaps the biggest issue with caloric needs calculators is that the level of physical activity you enter is very general, while in reality, it can be highly varied and have a significant impact on the results.
The longer I train, the more I am convinced that the source of calories matters too. 1000 calories from fast food is not the same as 1000 calories from meat/fish and raw vegetables. And I’ve done both.
To sum up, not only do you HAVE TO count calories to lose weight, but you will likely also need to experiment with their quantity and source.
I think by now everyone is aware of sweet carbonated drinks and juices. Completely cutting them out is something that has produced initial results for me, many others, and it’s something I will always point out as the first significant step on the path to weight loss.
However, sodas are not the only issue.
Many of us visit (chain) coffee shops that, in addition to staples, often offer a variety of fancier drinks as well.
People think they’re still just drinking coffee, and coffee isn’t fattening, right? But in reality, the menu at Starbucks or Costa is full of liquid desserts. For example, several drinks in the largest size at Starbucks have over 200 calories, which means one drink can account for about 1/5 of your daily caloric needs. And that’s just a single beverage!
This “coffee” might be the very thing that puts you in a surplus, preventing you from losing weight, even if the rest of your meals fit within the limit. It’s important to be aware of this.
Abusing the 80/20 rule
It’s difficult to stay on a diet for 365 days a year over the course of many years. However, if you want to see results, you should stick to it for the vast majority of the time.
The problem with the 20% part is that it can take on a disproportionately large scale.
For the sake of simple calculations, let’s assume that a month consists of three 10-day periods. During each of these periods, you eat relatively clean and maintain a slight calorie deficit for 8 days. However, for 2 days, you visit restaurants or order food delivery.
The person who prepared those meals had no intention of reducing their calorie content. On the contrary, they likely contain more fat and sugar than they should to enhance their taste.
Those 2 days, although they may seem insignificant, can easily put you in a caloric surplus over the course of the entire 10-day period. Now, imagine having 5-6 such days in a month. In order to continue losing weight, you would have to be in a much more aggressive deficit or significantly increase your physical activity for the rest of the time.
While this is certainly achievable, it will be difficult for most people for various reasons. Therefore, it’s not surprising that rare, but still significant dietary slip-ups can undermine your efforts.
Keeping snacks at home
Out of sight, out of mind.
If you want to effectively lose weight, absolutely do not keep any salty or sweet snacks at home.
Anything that is available in small “portions” that you can easily transfer from the package to your mouth with your fingers can quickly skyrocket your calorie count.
Items like chips, nachos, cookies, or gummy candies are designed in a way that makes their controlled consumption nearly impossible, so it’s better not to even start.
If you’re trying to lose weight, why would you want to keep snacks within arm’s reach? To test your willpower? To practice moderation? It won’t work. I know this well from my own experience, and you know it too.
Food addiction is something that, in my opinion, is still not talked about enough, and the behavior of individuals struggling with it are not much different from other types of addictions.
This can be one of the biggest silent killers of weight loss progress. Because who doesn’t enjoy having a few beers, drinks , or smoking a joint from time to time? We all seek opportunities and ways to relax.
If you don’t have ironclad discipline, you need to let go of substances. Under their influence, your control over what you eat will completely unravel. I am all too familiar with this issue.
Similar to the 80/20 rule, it’s very easy to create a significant caloric surplus that will undo all your efforts from the entire week.
The common mistakes discussed here in relation to weight loss diets are a nightmare for anyone looking to shed extra pounds. There are many opportunities to stumble, and most of them have a highly negative impact on your efforts. Weight loss is a journey that requires proper preparation.
The purpose of this post was to tell you, “Listen, if you want to lose weight effectively, follow my advice.”
The main problem is that people want quick results, but the daily consistency in dieting actually produces results that may not be visible to the naked eye, but they accumulate over time.
The thing about weight loss is that you can’t cut corners and think you’ll still reach your goal. That’s why its effects are so admirable.
When you see someone who has successfully lost weight and maintains the result, you know they have put in a lot of solid work and are still working towards their goals. If you want to be one of those people, follow the principles discussed here, without cheating yourself.
If you feel you need help with your diet, let me know and we can talk about it.
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