Have you ever made a weight loss mistake?
Of course you have. I know I have. And not just one or two mistakes – all the mistakes.
What’s interesting is most people make the same mistakes I have. It’s like a right of weight loss passage.
For starters, most people won’t clearly define their “why” for losing weight, which was one of your action items from Lesson 1 on Monday (click the link to view it). In that lesson you had two questions you were supposed to answer:
Action Item #1: Why do you want to lose weight?
Action Item #2: How will your life be different once you lose that weight?
Hundreds of you took action and replied with your why. Here’s one of my favorites (with her permission to post)…
If you haven’t answered those questions yet, do it now. Head to the lesson and share your answers in the comment section. At the very least go read everyone else’s whys. Don’t just think it – physically write it down in detail.
This is the first step towards turning your thoughts into a physical reality. Plant the seed and watch it grow and influence your behaviors.
Now, let’s move on to today’s lesson…
Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn from other people’s mistakes so that you can skip to the front of the line and stop wasting time and emotional energy?
That’s what today’s lesson is about.
After having coached clients for the last 10 years, I’ve noticed a very common theme…
People continue to make the same mistakes that keep them from losing weight.
So I’m going to share the top 5 mistakes I’ve witnessed time and time again. If you can avoid these behaviors you will save yourself time, money, and emotional heartache.
Let’s get started…
Mistake #1: Trying to Change Everything At Once
When you’re motivated you’re motivated. When you want to change your life you really want to change it – NOW.
That means you pinpoint every potential aspect of your life you want to change and you try to change it all at once.
And how did that work out for you?
Let me show you how it normally works out:
The more habits you try to change at once, the fewer the habits that actually stick. In other words, if you try to add exercise, restrict calories, change your food choices, and reduce sugar all at once, the likely scenario is that none of those behaviors stick.
However, if you work on one habit at a time, and you do it with laser focus and intensity, you will create a new habit. And then once that habit is formed, you can work on the next habit and continue to layer new habits on top of each other.
In time you will have accumulated dozens of new healthy habits. And once that happens, you will have changed your body, mind, and life.
Mistake #2: Letting the Scale Control You
The scale is a powerful tool. Unfortunately, it’s rarely on your side.
Have you ever looked at the number on the scale and been devastated, thrilled, or confused?
I know the feeling. It’s as if we rely on the scale for validation. We rely on it to tell us how to feel.
And that’s a mistake.
The scale measures weight, but weight is made up of muscle, water, fat, ligaments, tendons, organs, and every other mass of your body.
That means you could easily lose fat but gain weight if you were holding more water than usual.
So you actually make progress, but the scale doesn’t show it. Instead, you step on the scale, see a number you don’t like, and then want to question your choices:
- What’s the point in this if I’m not going to lose any weight?
- Why should I bust my butt in the gym if my weight is just going to increase?
- I’m working so hard and nothing is changing. What do I have to do to lose a pound?!?
Here’s the thing: weight loss and fat loss are not the same thing. There’s a good chance you’re losing fat, even if the scale doesn’t show it.
Since your body is mostly made up of water, your weight can fluctuate drastically on a day to day basis. But your fat loss behind the scenes is much more consistent.
It looks something like this…
As you can see, there are going to be days where the scale doesn’t give you a number you like. However, despite the number on the scale, you’ve still made progress.
If you are to succeed at reaching your goal physique, you must take a neutral stance on the number it shows.
You have to pay more attention to the trend over time. Day to day fluctuations are normal, but over time your weight should continue to trend down.
Don’t let the scale dictate your emotions.
Mistake #3: Trying to Be Perfect With Your Diet
Trying to eat 100% whole foods is setting yourself up for failure. That’s called perfection, and it’s rarely (never) attainable.
What normally happens is you start the day off well eating on plan. But as the day goes on your willpower takes a hit. As the evening and nighttime approach, the suppressed cravings start begging to be fulfilled.
And of course they do. The situation looks something like this:
Willpower is an exhaustible resource. So as the day goes on, your willpower reserves are slowly drained. Most everything you do uses up some willpower. But even more important, trying NOT to do something uses up even more of it.
And what takes more willpower than fighting with your inner self over the foods you aren’t supposed to eat?
That’s why moderation is the key to long-term adherence. And long-term adherence is the key to success.
Having a portion of your food intake coming from the foods you love, healthy or not, will dramatically increase your enjoyment factor and success.
After all, a diet that is 80% whole foods and 20% fun foods that lasts a lifetime is much healthier than a diet that’s 100% whole foods that only lasts a few weeks due to a lack of satisfaction.
Mistake #4: Prioritizing Cardio Over Strength Training
Most people start off trying to lose weight by jumping on the cardio equipment. Either that or they do some other form of cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking, swimming, etc.
These are great activities and should be included in some form in your program, especially if you enjoy them. However, you want to prioritize strength training if your goal is body transformation.
Why? Because the calories burned over time are dramatically different.
Think of strength training as compounding interest. You work out one time, build some muscle, and then that muscle works for you burning extra calories while you rest.
Over months/years the difference in pounds lost are quite staggering.
The chart above assumes someone burns 300 calories per workout, 3x/week.
Even though calories burned DURING your workout are the same, the calories burned AFTER your workout are higher when you strength train.
That’s because strength training builds muscle, which burns extra calories at rest. The extra calories add up over time. We’re talking hundreds of pounds worth of calories over a lifetime.
So if you aren’t doing any strength training, it’s time to get serious about it.
Mistake #5: Not Eating Enough Calories
This mistake is actually the most prevalent one. So many people are walking around in a semi-starved state that there’s not a chance their body is going to let go of body fat (energy).
In response to such a low calorie intake your body gets extremely efficient using the few calories it gets. In other words, it slows down your metabolism.
You can’t be afraid to eat. Food is your friend – not your enemy. It’s there to help, not hurt you.
You can see what happened when I bumped up the calories from 1200/day to 1800/day for a personal coaching client of mine.
She actually gained weight the first week. Oh no!!
Good thing she held in there though. We held off on emotionally cutting her calories and waited it out.
The result? She’s now 8 pounds lighter eating over 400 calories more than she was when she couldn’t lose weight.
Food supports fat loss. It’s time to improve your relationship with it and make it your best friend during the biggest transformation of your life.
Let’s review the 5 mistakes you’re likely to make so you can finally succeed at your weight loss goals.
- Mistake 1: Trying to change everything at once.
- Mistake 2: Letting the scale control you.
- Mistake 3: Being too perfect with your diet.
- Mistake 4: Not prioritizing strength training in your program.
- Mistake 5: Not eating enough calories to support fat loss.
Most people try to create the perfect weight loss program by piecing together all the best advice they’ve read about. It builds your confidence. It makes you think you’re doing everything right.
But then reality hits.
A few weeks in your motivation dwindles. You make many of the mistakes I outlined above. And then you end up back to square one.
Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
Why not try taking a different approach this time? One that is based on habit change principles. One that layers new key healthy habits into your life one at a time. One that makes your weight loss happen on autopilot in the background as you live your life.
Changing habits gives you a lifetime of weight loss results.
Changing habits brings your mindless behaviors to the surface so you can work on them.
Changing habits will systematically take you to any goal you wish to achieve.
On Friday I’m going to give you one single new habit to work on. This habit is something anyone can do but has the potential to dramatically impact your physique over time. Think of it as building the base of your new lifestyle.
So keep an eye out for that.
PS: Your action items for today are:
Action Item #1: In order to change a habit you have to be mindful of it. Identify 1 of the 5 mistakes above that you are most likely to make.
Action Item #2: Write down why you think you have continued to make this mistake. Why do you think this is benefiting you? Why haven’t you tried to change that behavior yet? What benefit do you think you’re getting by maintaining this mistaken habit?
Then share your answers in the comments below. (If you’d like to remain anonymous, simply put “anonymous” in the name field.)