What’s Killing Your Results?
It seems like just about every person you meet is trying to find the perfect balance between eating the foods they want, but not looking like they eat all the food they see.
With summer quickly approaching, people are scrambling to find the magic fat loss formula and strip the winter coat. Whether you are just trying to look good for a day at the beach or trying to lose the excess weight you have been carrying around for years, dieting is going to be the key.
With each trainer and each website promoting a different diet, it can be difficult to figure out which one will work best for you. To make it even more confusing, many diets seem to contradict one another. Vegan diets eliminate animal products, while many other contain lean meats as a staple protein source. Advocates of a ketogenic diet will say restricting carbohydrates will help shred body fat, while the Mediterranean diet suggests a higher carb intake will be your ticket to 6 pack city. It can get confusing pretty quickly, especially for someone with less experience.
Why do all these people advocate their diet, and claim they work wonders? Because just about any diet can work if followed correctly. Unless you have specific dietary requirements, it doesn’t matter whether you eat carbs, meat, plants, dairy, etc. What is more important, is whether you can sustain a caloric deficit and consistently follow the method you have selected.
If that was the end of the story we would all be lean with fantastic physiques, but unfortunately, there are simple mistakes you may make that will make losing weight much more difficult. This is why it is important you educate yourself as much as possible on which dieting mistakes are going to have negative implications on your results.
Too Much Restriction
Dieting and deprivation often go hand in hand. Often when people start diets they feel they must deny themselves all their favourite foods in order to see results. While you may need to limit some of your favourite foods, too much restriction on your diet can lead you resenting your new diet program.
For many of us, we are better off allowing for some small indulgences from time to time. This little bit of flexibility will make your diet routine much easier to stick to. By allowing small “cheat meals” in your program, it may help to prevent a large binge caused by a build-up of cravings. A binge is not only detrimental to your results, but to your mental health as well.
Too Focused on the Scales
The scales seem like a very objective measure of dieting success, so it’s understandable why so many people get caught up on the numbers they produce. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t lose weight in a linear fashion, as we would like to expect. I have seen many clients feel awesome about the changes they have seen in their body, just to step onto the scales for them to read a higher weight.
This is especially true for beginners as they can increase lean muscle mass as they lose fat, resulting in a leaner look, but heavier on the scales. It’s important to use multiple measures to track your results. At Brisfit we try to always use at least 4, the scales, tape measure, progress photos, and fitness challenges.
Expecting Linear Results
As mentioned in the paragraph above, we often expect to see constant, steady progress as result from our hard work and dieting. Many of us that have completed a fat loss challenge or something similar will know that isn’t always the case. Some weeks you can lose a few solid kilograms, while others you will fail to lose any weight at all. These not so great weeks are often met with stress and anxiety. No one wants to feel like they’re going backwards.
It turns out the human body is a very complicated system, and you might be actually losing body fat even though the scales are telling you you’ve lost no weight. Water intake, glycogen depletion, sodium intake, hormonal balance and many more variables can all cause dramatic swings in your bodyweight. The worst thing to do is overreact to these swings by immediately changing your diet. This can cause stress and unwanted adaptations over time. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize and keep persistent for a little while longer. I would recommend you give it a few weeks minimum, and during this time continue to take and record your weigh-in results. If no consistent changes are being seen after this period make adjustments as needed.
Failure to Plan
Just like anything else in life, you need to have a game plan in place to be successful. People often fail to plan out their meals for the week ahead, which can make sticking to next weeks diet plan a big challenge. You might find yourself away for a work trip, busy running around after the kids or you might be flat out at the office and have so much going on, you are forced to get your hands onto something quick and convenient. These cases are classic examples of why its so important to plan ahead in order to keep to your plan.
Planning your diet can come in a few forms, one of the most popular being meal prep, which is food that fits your diet requirements that you have made in advance. This is a fantastic way to know exactly what is in your food, and how it was cooked, as well as keeping costs low. Growing in popularity is the prepared-for-you meals. Companies such as 5.4, Workout Meals, Youfoodz, Muscle Meals and many are growing in popularity as busy Australians seek a cost-effective and easy way to keep their diet on track. This options can be great for someone who is very time poor or perhaps dislikes cooking but does not want to eat out every day. A popular method for those living on the run is finding a restaurant that has a diet-friendly option for you. Either way, a little bit of planning helps you stay on track and keep your diet going strong.
Starting too Aggressively
Probably one of the most common mistakes people make when starting a new diet program is starting too aggressively. It is common knowledge that a calorie deficit leads to fat loss, however, many take this information and apply the “more is better” approach. They will start their diet in a huge caloric deficit in order to lose weight very quickly. While this sounds great on paper, it doesn’t run as smoothly in practice.
A huge caloric deficit can lead to some unwanted side effects, such as constant hunger, irritability, fatigue and brain fog which can make your day to day life much harder to endure. This often leads people to quit their diets pretty soon after starting.
Perhaps what’s even worse, it can actually damage your metabolism quickly and lead to stalls in your weight loss. A recent study on the participants of The Biggest Loser showed a massive decline of their metabolic rate during the strict dieting period, and even more scary, a far lower metabolic rate than what is to be expected after the program had finished.
This can actually set you up to not only regain the weight but at an accelerated rate once you quit the diet. Another recent study provided evidence that yo-yo dieting actually made losing the weight harder each time you attempted it, while also regaining the body fat at a much more rapid rate.
So although it sounds appealing on paper, dieting too hard, too fast it can lead to long-term weight gain after the brief initial success.
We all know that losing body fat and toning up means restricting your caloric intake and increasing your activity level. This often means you might feel hungry as you’re not able to eat as much and as often as you previously have. By increasing your activity level you will boost the number of calories your body is burning each day, potentially allowing you to fit in an extra meal or even that treat to keep you from an emotional meltdown.
The strategy you choose to employ with your diet can make or break your success. If you are someone that can burn out very quickly or get over something quite fast, an overly aggressive or restrictive diet will lead to poor adherence and outcomes. Similarly, being too reactive to your results or failing to plan ahead can unravel all of your hard earned progress. It is important to avoid the common mistakes that have been mentioned in this article.
Dieting can be unpleasant at times, but by dieting smarter you can make your life and dieting experience much easier, ensuring results in the short term as well as long-term success.