Is all that hard work you put into your diet getting you nowhere? You're not alone. Many of us keep making the same diet mistakes.
Here I share the most common dieting mistakes I have seen and these are the main points that you will take away:
Far Too Little Calorie Intake
Watching my mother eat and always hearing ‘no I cant eat that, I am too fat/ will get fat’ makes me want to talk about low calorie diets as I am constantly having to monitor her diet.
Let’s say the average chicken breast is around 125 grams, this is about 200 calories. So someone eating 3 small meals, with vegetables and salad would be eating around 600 – 700 calories per day. Now this is ridiculously low and you are seriously putting your health at risk.
Many sold and FAD diets these days also adopt an approach with such low calories, in order to guarantee fast results. However, most of the time they result in the individual rebounding post diet, and putting more weight back on than when they started.
- Trying to sustaining a very low calorie diet is recipe for disaster and a great way to lose muscle mass.
- Concentrate on your lifestyle and habits.
- Most people don't realise that they would look better and become more efficient at burning fat if they simply had more muscle.
Trying to sustain a very low calorie diet is recipe for disaster and a great way to lose muscle mass, slow your metabolism, ruin your life and cause mood swings.
Most the time the diet will not incorporate any resistance training which is not what you want. You want to be maintaining and building muscle, in order to look great. Following a low calorie diet will probably lack vital nutrients as well, in the form of vitamins and minerals, which is not good for your health.
You will have greater long-term success, what ever your goal, if you invest some time in educating yourself, finding a coach or mentor, making sure your you eat as many calories as possible while achieving your goals, and following a properly designed resistant training programme.
Read more regarding this here
Ignoring the Obvious
Many individuals will often look for that particular food that is causing them to be fat, or that special supplement they are not taking that would cause them to lose fat, rather than focusing on the basics. Many would rather find out the latest celebrity diet, instead of nailing the basics.
Concentrate on your lifestyle and habits. What new habits can you adopt or what bad habits can you cut out. For example, eating more vegetables or cutting out those regular drinking weekends. Aiming to drink more water or cutting out those calories from drinks.
Take an honest look at your lifestyle and eating. Keeping a food diary is great for seeing how many calories you are consuming and assess your progress. Try and figure out what types of foods might be causing over eating, if that is your problem. Or acknowledge what nutrients are lacking in your diet.
Not Focusing on Building Muscle
Most people don't realise that they would look better and become more efficient at burning fat if they simply had more muscle. When we diet, strength and muscle can easily be lost.
If you make building or maintaining muscle a greater priority during a fat loss phase your body fat levels will steadily, healthfully, and hopefully drop. Building muscle will make your body more efficient at burning fat as muscle has a slightly higher metabolic rate compared to fat. (1) This is achieved by lifting weights that are heavy enough to create a stimulus and by eating a diet that compromises of the correct amounts of protein, carbs and fats.
It is hard to gain muscle and lose body fat at the same time, but it’s achievable, especially for newbies, only if the calorie deficit is not too large.
Read more regarding this here
And women please do not fear, that lifting weights will turn you into a bodybuilder! You are not near producing enough testosterone nor will you be eating enough calories for that to happen.
This brings me nicely onto my next point.
Not Eating Enough Protein
Most people have no idea they're not getting enough protein. Unless you are intentionally tracking your protein intake you probably won't realise how much you are eating.
Protein aids with maintaining and building muscle along with increasing satiety and has a higher thermic effect (energy expenditure during digestion) than carbs or fat. All of these benefits are extremely important when dieting and keep hunger at bay.
So look to consume adequate protein, anywhere from 1-1.5g/lb of lean body mass. (2) If it becomes a struggle to consume such a high amount, look to supplement with a whey or milk protein powder.
Bosselaers I1, Buemann B, Victor OJ, Astrup A. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and substrate utilization in body builders. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Jan;59(1):10-2.
Helms E, Aragon A, Fitschen P. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2014; 11 (20).