The 2 Biggest Mistakes Of Weight Loss
We all make ‘em, although some of us shove our heads in the sand, while kicking our legs like a 2-year old going through a temper tantrum in the grocery store, because we refuse to admit we make mistakes…
… Especially with our diets.
On the other hand, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out WHAT mistakes you’re making. You are fed so many different “truths” when it comes to nutrition it’s tough to find out who’s telling the truth, who’s trying to peddle some junky scam, and who’s flat out lying in order to sell you complete and total garbage (i.e. Commercials that tell you it’s possible to lose all the weight you want without changing your habits).
I want to share two of the most common mistakes I see, and hear from readers like you, on a regular basis.
These two weight loss mistakes must be shared in story format, so put on your comfy pajamas, get a warm glass of milk, and snuggle up…
I have a former client, let’s call him Billy Joe, who, in just one short month, saw amazing results. He lost 10 pounds, increased his muscular endurance tremendously and saw his energy levels shoot through the roof.
He was happy, I was happy.
Then, a couple months later he was pretty frustrated.
He had stalled on his weight loss. After those initial 10 pounds, it just stopped.
Billy Joe’s workouts were still great, I was making sure of that, and his energy levels were still pretty high, but the fat just wouldn’t budge and he was getting a little ticked.
He didn’t understand.
He worked hard, and was doing what he did during that first month, but it wasn’t happening anymore.
After a bit of prodding on my part – questions, not actual prodding – we got to the problem.
Here’s The Mistake…
He was rationalizing.
What I mean is that he would work hard when training with me, do a couple extra workouts on his own, and even changed his eating, but he would then rationalize poor eating, or excessive cheating, “because he was working hard.”
He would do a workout at 6:30 in the morning, then immediately head to the drive-thru or grab something from home that was terrible. He was using his great workout as a reason for his crappy eating.
What’s more, he was using the argument of “post workout carbs” to fuel his crappy eating.
I told him to stop, but he didn’t understand what the big deal was. The foods he was choosing weren’t major calorie bombs – a few biscuit sandwiches that ran 300-350 calories each (for a total of 600-700…maybe more), or a package of Pop-Tarts (which are nothing more than individually-packaged fat bombs), and figured it was okay…
… Because he worked hard.
He even fought me on stopping. His brain wasn’t allowing him to believe that what he was doing was sabotaging all the hard work he had just done.
His brain, the instant gratification brain, was telling him it was “okay” to eat that, even though he desperately wanted to lose another 15 pounds.
We had a little talk about quality of calories versus quantity of calories, then how his goal was to actually lose weight, not maintain the physique he had. This is what finally made it sink in. Once he realized that his actions weren’t necessarily doing him harm, because he was eating well most of the time, and busting his butt, it wasn’t HELPING him accomplish his goals.
You must understand the difference.
If you want to lose weight, then you must change something, or even many things, that you are currently doing.
Yes, you may see results very quickly at first, but those results may stop and you may stall out if you are using the same rationalizations Billy Joe was using.
What we ended up doing was cutting a deal.
Because he was working hard 5 days a week (2 or 3 with me, 2 or 3 on his own), and eating well most of the time, that he could use this nasty habit twice per week IF his workout was intense enough. If he felt he lolly-gagged, or didn’t give it his all, he had to bypass go, not collect $200 and eat a good breakfast.
This worked for his brain, and met the instinct most of us dudes have to compete with something/someone and he did well.
His weight loss revved back up and he lost another 5 pounds in the following month.
So here’s Lesson #1 (or solution to Mistake #1):
Don’t rationalize yourself out of weight loss. Don’t snuff out your hard work by allowing yourself to believe it’s “okay” to eat poorly just because you worked hard.
This one involves a current client, and I really don’t want her finding out so we’ll call her Sally Mae (even though she’ll probably figure it out…).
Sally Mae was like many young moms. She gained weight with her pregnancies, wanted it GONE and wasn’t going to let some schmo trainer-dude try to slow her down.
She was fed up with the weight she had, and the fact that the stuff that used to work didn’t work anymore, and wanted change – FAST change.
She committed to my small-group classes 4 days per week, and even trained 1-1 for a while an additional day per week (which is a lot of time to spend with me on a weekly basis).
She was doing great at first, but just like Billy Joe, her results stalled out after the first month, except unlike Billy Joe, Sally Mae became quite pissed.
I take that back, she didn’t stall out after the first month, her results just started to crawl in.
She didn’t understand it.
She was working her tail off, for reals, watching what she ate, and even doing workouts on her own over the weekend.
She told me that her energy levels were starting to tailspin and was having trouble staying up past 8:00 most nights of the week. Caffeine was becoming her new best friend and her skin was starting to age quickly – it was dry, she had bags under her eyes, and looked tired all the time, not the spry and energetic young mom I had known before.
I kinda knew what the issue was, but didn’t want to let on because I knew she would argue at first, so in order to let her see it I asked her to keep a food AND activity journal for one week.
I asked her to go about her business, keep a normal week, and just write out what she ate, what her workouts were, and how active she was with the family (playing in the backyard, helping with practices or activities, etc.)
I urged her that to get to the bottom of the whole thing she had to be honest and be as normal as possible, that I would not judge a thing…that we were trying to get to the bottom of the problem.
She agreed, and handed it in to me the following week.
Here’s Mistake #2
Here’s what we discovered…
She was too extreme.
She was working too hard, and not eating enough.
I looked past the family stuff because that would never change, nor should it. She’s a mom.
But I discovered that in addition to our workouts, which I could control the intensity of, she was doing an extra spin class and running several miles on the weekend.
She wasn’t allowing herself to eat like a normal person either because she thought that if she cut her calories down, in addition to working her butt off, she would lose the weight that much quicker.
She did lose weight, but she didn’t look good, or feel good, because of it.
She became “skinny fat,” lost her energy, and as I mentioned, her skin looked old.
She ate almost zero fat, and seemed to be living off small snacks.
I could understand her anger – she was doing all she thought she should do to lose weight quickly, and her efforts were biting her in the butt HARD.
So here’s what we did…
I told her we’d start a new plan, but before I gave it to her she had to agree to follow it for a month and do NOTHING extra.
She reluctantly nodded her head and we moved on.
I asked her to cut her time with me back to 3 days per week, rather than what we were doing. This may seem odd, but I wanted to give her the ability to do something on her own, which I knew would be the toughest part to avoid. I figured if I could give her that she would stick.
I then asked her to take two days completely off from “exercise.” No workouts with me, no spinning, no running, nothing beyond playing with the kids in the backyard (and I hammered out that she could not turn “playing” into exercising…)
I then convinced her to start having a smoothie every morning that contained fat – specifically coconut oil.
I knew that if I could get her day to start well, pump her full of energy, that she would see what I was trying to accomplish.
I then asked her to cut her “snack packs” down to just one a day in the morning, rathar than 2 or 3 spread throughout the day.
We decided on a snack of pistachios and a piece of fruit for a mid-afternoon snack.
I knew her lunch and dinner would still be pretty small because she never had an issue with portion control, just constant grazing, so I even asked her to have half a serving of Greek Yogurt in the evening after the kids went to bed.
I told her if she wanted to do something on those days off to scratch her exercise-itch, she should do 20 minutes of yoga – easy yoga…nothing extreme.
After that month she lost about 5 pounds, which she was happy with (it was a total of 15 since she started), but more importantly, she felt amazing.
Her energy levels were high, her skin looked young and vibrant and she couldn’t be happier.
Here’s the lesson from this mistake…
Sally Mae was doing the opposite of Billy Joe, which is a mistake many women make.
She was going bonkers in intensity and wasn’t eating enough to keep up with the actiivty and because of this her body freaked out. Her weight loss slowed to a crawl, her energy levels tanked and her skin looked like doo-doo and she was flustered, frustrated and downright pissed.
She did what she thought was right – working hard, eating a lot less, and working a little bit harder after that.
Here’s a little secret, the more active you are, the more important quality nutrition is.
If you’re busting your butt 5-6 days per week, you NEED healthy fats, you NEED calories and you NEED extra rest, but for some reason this runs counter to what most ladies think.
If Sally’s story sounds like yours, I want you to do what she did.
Step back, cut back on the workouts, eat more REAL food, including fat, and focus more on quality rather than quantity. You’re not McDonald’s – by that I mean you’re not focused on feeding a billion people in under 60 seconds. You should be focused on looking great and feeling amazing.
You deserve that, so take your foot off the gas and follow your trainer-dude’s advice.
Talk to you later!