Who isn’t trying to get a little bit healthier, lose a few extra pounds, or tone up some areas?
Because everyone is trying for even the slightest health improvement, I hear of the diets, supplements, and tricks that people just started and swear by. Then a few weeks or months later, I hear one of two things:
- “I’m not doing that anymore.”
- “I’m trying this new plan.”
Usually, it’s a schedule change, a lack of results, or a weekend away they just could not recover from.
What that really says to me is that the program didn’t fit their lifestyle and they were just unable to keep up.
There are a lot of variables that go into nutrition and exercise programs, and too often these fad diets, supplements, and tricks are not fit to the variables that make up your life.
When you try a diet or program that worked for someone else, you’re using a program built for someone else’s make up, job, diet history, and commitment. You’ll be lucky to make it a few months before getting frustrated and falling back into old habits.
Too often I hear of people falling short of their goals, and whether it’s my client or not, that bums me out.
Here are the 7 most common mistakes I see people make and how to best avoid that on your next health quest.
Cranking Up the Workout Intensity
Many people pair a good diet with a fancy new workout program. That’s great, but too often, people take the workout program overboard.
You’re looking for something to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time because you want RESULTS! The most common mistakes when people start are:
- Relying on ONLY HIIT and Cardio Workouts
- Jumping into 6 to 7 workouts per week.
If you’re doing either (or possibly both?) of these, you are risking some serious burnout and lack of results. That is a major stress to your system and does not allow for adequate recovery for your body.
When you start out, it is all about monopolizing on the physical adaptations, but inadequate recovery leads to elevated cortisol levels, increased water retention, and minimal, if any at all, weight loss.
Who wouldn’t be frustrated by putting in a ton of calories for no results??
- Minimum 1 Recovery Day – preferably an additional workout of lower intensity as well.
- Add in Weight Training – this will help your body composition goals by metabolic improvement and boosted fat loss.
- 1 Training Day = 1 Recovery or Self Care Practice – you want to remove yourself from the sympathetic state to turn on the parasympathetic and crank up the recovery.
Only Measuring Progress on the Scale
The scale number is thought to be the only measure of progress by just about everyone; however, that number is made up of so many other variables besides your deficit.
Weight can fluctuate based on what made up those calories (what you ate), stress, hydration, sleep quality and quantity, whether or not you worked out, and time of day.
When the scale isn’t moving, it is really easy to get frustrated and neglect the fact that you may have lost fat mass, retained water, had a stressful workday the day prior, or laid the groundwork for some new muscle.
- Use a variety of metrics – weight, progress pictures, body measurements, and body fat percentage.
- Track how you feel – measure biofeedback daily to truly evaluate your body’s response to your program.
- Weigh in weekly – if the scale brings up anxiety or emotion, then weigh in once a week and rely on additional forms of progress!
Expecting Instant Results
You started the diet because you wanted results, but that desire for results makes it all too easy expect it overnight!
How old are you?
That is EXACTLY how long it took to create who you are today!
Is it REALLY realistic to expect a lifetime of habits to be changed in a few days, weeks, or months? NO!
- Be realistic in your timeline – set an end date that is realistic for your goal and utilize a friend or coach for accountability in that timeline.
- Celebrate Progress – remember, you are working to break a lifetime of habits, so celebrate the progress along the journey to keep you motivated when you feel you are lacking results!
- Progress Check Ins – whether it be with yourself, a friend, or a coach, pre-plan a date to evaluate your progress and what needs to be modified as you continue on toward your end goal!
Think of that food you just absolutely love. Have you ever completely restricted yourself of that food?
If you did, you probably felt some MAJOR cravings because it’s not realistic to tell yourself to NEVER have that again!
At some point you probably got tired of telling yourself no, gave in, and ended up
binging on it.
It may sound cliché, but moderation is key for sustainable weight loss and mental health.
- Make a list of your ‘Must Have’s’ – trim the list down to 3 to 5 items ad those are the foods you can look to include for something off your plan.
- Utilize the 90/10 Rule – 90% of the time you’re 100% clean, and 10% of the time you’re working in those “Must Have’s” in order to keep life enjoyable.
- Track your macros – if it fits in your macros, then enjoy! If not, you’ll have to wait.
Not Meal Prepping
“I’ve got this.”
“I know what I’m doing.”
“I don’t need to meal prep, I’ll just pay attention to what I eat.”
Easily one of the biggest mistakes I see.
Our lives are TOO busy to just wing it.
This is not to say you always need to cook meals for all 7 days, but you do need to at least evaluate your week to know what you’re doing for each meal.
If you leave it to change, you will make mistakes, miss meals, and eventually sacrifice results.
- Take 5 Minutes per Day – look over the next or upcoming day’s calendar to determine where and what you will be eating in order to prepare.
- Plan Meal Prep Time Into Your Week – if you plan and commit to that time, you won’t miss it!
Maybe you had a stellar week or your coach gave you a higher carb weekend, are booze and bar food the best ways to fill those calories?
Of course not, but a lot of our great weeks are still followed by “flexible” or “mindful” weekends that have little to know planning.
A Friday evening cheat meal turns Saturday to a cheat day that leads to a cheat weekend and feeling like sh** on Sunday evening.
The weekend binge is harmful to our mental health, but it also does some serious damage to our progress and results.
- Map out your weekend – see where a “cheat” meal fits in and plan out the remaining meals to prevent that meal from trickling over.
- Track your macros – remember, if it fits in your macros, it fits!
Not Enough Sleep
The hustle and bustle of day to day as well as the desire for results can cause sleep to get bumped down on our list of priorities. Sleep is one of the most underrated factors for fat loss and changes in body composition. Lack of sleep can increase cravings, boost appetite, and lower decision-making.
- Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier – continue to add 15 minutes and work your way up to 7-8 full hours of sleep!
- Set a nighttime routine – start teaching your body how and when to get ready for sleep but winding yourself down before you get into bed.
- No electronics 1 hour before bed – eliminate distractions and lighting to begin the shut down process!
Regardless the diet or exercise program you start, you are going to make mistakes and they’re probably going to come from one of these seven. These seven diet mistakes do not have to be progress-ending, but they can be if you don’t prioritize a solution.
You will face your own challenges and obstacles that will lead to many successes but also failures, the important part is to stay committed, focused on creating change, and reliant on another for accountability.