Four easy mistakes that will sabotage your fat loss journey

There is no doubt that dieting can be hard! But we often make life more difficult than what is has to be.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 2:55 pm
Jamie Wilkinson

A combination of overly restrictive, low-calorie approaches, and personal trainers who advise their clients give up carbs. It is not surprising that we think it’s easier to just to stay the way we are than attempt to tackle a restrictive diet.

Who really wants to willingly sacrifice the foods we love, exercise every day, give up bread, pasta and potatoes and embrace the chicken, broccoli and rice lifestyle? NOBODY!

The great news is that you CAN eat bread, pasta, potatoes, chocolate and much more and still effectively diet and lose body fat. You DON’T have to give up the foods you love, train every day and starve your body into submission.

If you want to feel better, gain more confidence and lose some body fat these next four points will help guide you to a long-term sustainable approach that will help show you that you CAN have your cake and eat it.

1. You are eating too much

I know what you are thinking… Thank you captain obvious, but let’s start off with the easiest explanation to why you aren’t losing weight. You would be amazed at how many people refuse to believe that they are eating too many calories.

I have worked with hundreds of clients online and when we are starting off, I always research into their problem areas.

At the start, they seem a bit lost, they don’t understand why they aren’t getting results. But after a quick chat its easy to see that their portion control is non-existent, they are using too much butter and oils, (super high in calories) and they are used to letting the guilt of having one chocolate biscuit snowball into the whole packet. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all sorts of diet related questions. Why are you eating too many calories?

Are you choosing low quality, high sugar options that don’t fill you? Is your protein intake too low? Are you consuming enough fibre? Are you just lost and don’t even know where to begin?

My advice? Start with a notebook and pen and some digital scales and start logging a daily food diary. Have someone who knows what they are talking about have a read over it and start to make some small and simple changes that will get you on the right track. Make some swaps - there are amazing low-calorie alternatives out there that makes dieting so much easier.

Focus on making positive habit changes in both your diet and lifestyle, and losing weight will naturally happen as your knowledge and habits improve.

2. Your approach is too restrictive

There is no such thing as starvation mode, if you eat ridiculously low calories you will most definitely lose weight! Why would eating too little calories be a mistake then? One word… ‘Sustainability’ No matter how strong your will power is and how many times you have told yourself ‘this time I’m going to do it right’ you are setting yourself up to fail if you are going in with the attitude, you are going to eat as little as possible to get the quickest results possible.

A few weeks of this approach and I promise, your motivation and will power will have vanished, and those internal words of encouragement will have turned into ‘just go get a pizza, you have done so well this week.’ Next thing you know you have completely gone off the rails, returning to your old habits and find yourself well and truly back at the starting line all over again.

My advice? Find your calorie sweet spot. One that is low enough that helps you lose weight, but high enough to give you enough energy to go about your day to day without constant hunger and feeling like a zombie. There are a range of online calories calculators to help you establish your calorie goals for weight loss. Head over to my website – for my completely free calculator. It takes less than 5 minutes but will help you set yourself a realistic and sustainable target.

3. You think ‘eating healthy’ is enough

As the old saying goes “It is possible to have too much of a good thing” I doubt this quote was based around nutrition - but it couldn’t hit the nail on the head any better! Losing weight is all about controlling the calories you consume, if you eat too many you won’t lose weight.

You could have the most nutrient rich, organic, colourful diet in the world. But if you eat too many calories you won’t lose a single pound. At the same time, you could have a much less decorative approach, it maybe won’t have as much variety, or contain every vitamin known to man and it might even involve the odd chocolate bar or glass of wine. But if its calorie controlled and you are eating less than you burn, you will lose weight.

My advice? Weigh your food - next time you have a bowl of pasta or cereal, weigh it on your kitchen scales, you might be horrified at just how many calories you are consuming. Ideally you should eat as much nutrient dense food as possible, but if you want to lose weight you need to be aware of the quantities to make your fat loss dreams a reality.

4. You are a five-day dieter

As the clock strikes 5pm on a Friday its not just the end of the working week. MyFitnessPal app gets turned off for the weekend, the digital kitchen scales go back into the cupboard and 2 and a half days of enjoyment begins. When it comes to the weekly weigh in, you are yet again let down to see no movement from last week. ‘But I tried so hard!’ I hear you claim. Unfortunately dieting is a seven-day effort. The calories we save Monday to Friday are easily destroyed by two days of mindless, untracked indulgence. Most of us will only create 2000-2500 calorie deficit by the weekend, a dominos and a bottle of wine on a Saturday night is already enough to destroy a full week’s progress (and that’s not before the hungover fry up and day of sitting on the sofa that follows)

My advice? I challenge you to try one weekend without putting away the scales and keeping your tracking app up to date and honest. I guarantee that come your next weigh day; you will have much better success.

If you want to get results you have to acknowledge that dieting is a seven-day game. If you do enjoy a drink or a takeaway at the weekend and want to include these without guilt or having it affect your results, try saving extra calories during the week to allow for a slightly higher day.

In summary, making mistakes is a natural part of your fat loss journey, the key thing is to learn from them and create healthy habits that make sure you avoid going down that path again. Keep a journal and record what works well for you and what doesn’t.

Avoid letting other people’s personal bias guide you towards an approach that won’t suit your lifestyle.

A golden rule of thumb is that if you can’t imagine yourself following your current diet approach 6 months down the line, chances are it isn’t right for you.