Experts estimate that over 95% of all diets fail. So why is that? Because most people think that all you need to do is restrict food and exercise. The reality is that there is a lot more that goes into sustainable weight loss. Here is our list of “The Top 10 dieting mistakes.”
#1. Unrealistic Expectations
It’s normal to commit to a healthy lifestyle and want immediate results, but sustainable results take time. You probably didn’t get out of shape overnight. So, is it realistic to expect to get into shape in a few weeks or months? Instead, set realistic short-term goals. As you reach these goals, you will feel good about yourself, which will keep you motivated to reach your next goal.
#2. Not Pre-Planning Your Day
The key to hitting your daily macro goals is to pre-plan your meals in MyFitnessPal the night before. Pre-planning not only ensures you hit your macro goals, but it also helps you learn the macro content within foods.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
– Benjamin Franklin
#3. Guesstimating Portion Sizes
As mentioned above, pre-planning is the key to hitting your macro goals. But planning without measuring or weighing your food is like taking a test without understanding the material – you are just guessing. If you don’t believe us, take this test. Measure out two tablespoons of peanut butter using a tablespoon. Now weigh the peanut butter on a food scale and compare it to the weight on the nutrition label. How did you do?
#4. Not Tracking on Weekends
So you hit your macros spot on Monday through Friday, and the weekend is here. You decide that you’ve done so well during the week that there is no need to track during the weekend. For example, let’s say that you are in a 500 calorie deficit a day.
Monday -500 calories
Tuesday -500 calories
Wednesday -500 calories
Thursday -500 calories
Friday -500 calories
Saturday +750 calories
Sunday +750 calories
Although you were in a 500 calorie deficit Monday through Friday, you were 750 calories over your goals on Saturday and Sunday. Not tracking on the weekend resulted in a 1,000 calorie deficit for the week. You were compliant 70% of the week, but the non-tracked weekend slowed down your progress. Remember, you need to be in a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose one pound. So, in the example above, instead of losing four pounds in four weeks, you would only lose about 1 pound in four weeks.
#5. Lack of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important, but often overlooked components of fat loss and muscle gain. A bad night of sleep can lead to increased stress, hunger, and the underproduction and overproduction of certain hormones. Studies have shown that 7-9 hours of sleep is optimal. To learn more about the importance of sleep, read our post titled Sleep: The Key To Fat Loss And Muscle Gain.
#6. Not Lifting Weights
Many people do cardio to lose weight, but when they get to their target body weight, they are not happy with their body composition. Strength training not only increases your metabolic rate; it will give you the body composition you desire. Lifting weights also prevents the loss of muscle mass that occurs due to aging, strengthens your bones, and improves coordination and balance. We encourage everyone to incorporate strength training into their workout program.
#7. Not Taking a Rest Day (Overtraining)
Everyone thinks more is better, especially when it comes to working out. But if you are training every day, your body is in a chronic state of stress. When this happens, your body cannot recover properly, leading to a reduction of strength, putting you further from your goals. Also, when Cortisol is high, you retain water and hold on to weight, which can be frustrating.
Be sure to take a rest day every week. If you still feel like you are under-recovered after a rest day, trade a day of high-intensity training for a LISS (low-intensity steady-state) workout like yoga or a walk. Your body will thank you!
#8. Letting the Scale Define You
Many people come to us wanting to lose weight as measured by the scale. But what happens when you execute proper nutrition and are working out? You may have guessed it, you lose fat and gain muscle. So, is the scale the best way to measure your success? Many other factors play into bodyweight such as; hydration, undigested food, exercise timing, stress, sleep, etc. The average adult’s weight can fluctuate 5-6 pounds per day.
Besides the scale, we challenge you to take body measurements, assess your mood, sleep quality, energy levels, physical performance, and body fat percentage.
#9. Being Too Strict
One of the many benefits of counting macros is that you can hit your goals while enjoying the foods you love. Unfortunately, many people label food as good or bad and feel guilty when they eat “bad” food. Here’s the deal; there is no such thing as good or bad foods. Having a healthy relationship with food means that you allow yourself to eat foods that you crave in moderation. Restricting foods could lead to bingeing, which is not healthy. Instead, build that cookie or bowl of ice cream into your daily plan, and you will be less likely to go off the rails.
#10. Giving in to Peer Pressure
Your fitness journey is very personal. You are working on being more confident, feeling sexier, and loving yourself. But at times, friends and family can put pressure on you to eat more, have unwanted desserts, drink alcohol, etc. Remember, the decision is yours and nobody else’s. Just ask yourself if you will be happy with your decision the next day. Whatever you choose, own it without guilt.
We do recommend sitting down with friends and loved ones at the beginning of your fitness journey and explaining to them why this is important to you. Ask for their support!
At MacroLab, we have experienced nutrition coaches with a passion for educating our clients. If you have any questions about avoiding dieting mistakes or nutrition in general, feel free to contact us.