1. Making Fat Loss A Priority Over Lean Body Mass.
We’ve all seen those people who’re always dieting but don’t seem to lose much fat. These people are always trying different diet plans one after the other it seems. Regardless they still look somewhat chubby. It appears their body just doesn’t burn fat efficiently.
The mistake these people are making is discounting Lean Body Mass (LBM) in favor of fat. LBM is an engine which feeds on calories. If you lose lean mass your metabolism becomes sluggish and you need to cut your calories further down to lose fat. And cutting more calories makes you lose more LBM (Weck M).
You need to feed the muscle. It means that you need to get in enough calories so as your strength and performance doesn’t go down the toilet. And you should focus on heavier training to preserve as much LBM as possible on a fat-loss diet. This may sound contradictory to traditional bodybuilding wisdom, but keep in mind that bodybuilders also feed themselves plenty of ‘Vitamin S’.
2. Going To Extremes With Macro Nutrients.
Whenever we talk about Fat Loss, people automatically start assuming it to be either some low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet. There’s no doubt that most of the sedentary population need to cut their carb intake, not just sugars but starches as well.
But the problem with low-carb and high-fat diets like ketogenic diet is that after an initial fat loss burst people can’t get past their sticking point. People start getting fatter eventually while sticking to their low carb diet. Even the healthiest of fatty foods aren’t as efficient at fueling intense anaerobic workouts and will make you fat if you overeat fat in pursuit of performance or satiety.
On the other side, a standard bodybuilding diet with low fat and high carbs consisting of proteins, veggies, and oats may look good but it’s inadequate in terms of fats. Fats are pretty much necessary for a healthy endocrine functioning and metabolism. Also, diets excessively high in carbs aren’t as efficient in mobilizing and burning fat unless caloric intake is pushed too low.
You need to follow smart nutrition based on physiological responses of your body to various nutrients. Make sure your protein intake is sufficient. High protein foods are much satiating and have a higher thermic effect than carbs or fats (Crovetti). Keep a balance in your diet and don’t go too low on any particular nutrient. Use nutrient timing strategies like workout nutrition and supplement your diet with essential fatty acids.
3. Following Fad Diets And Eating Pseudo Health Foods.
Claims like, “Lose 8 Kg in 14 days!” are very much alluring for someone struggling to lose fat. People want to lose fat and they want to lose it now. It’s an emotional issue, and marketing experts know it very well. They will wrap up a big package of a bizarre promise like, eat whatever you want and no need to exercise etc, with a foofoo product. And the vulnerable fatsos fall straight for it defying the common sense. People want to believe that there is some way around the obvious behavioral loopholes to lose fat. Smart marketers cash on it.
Most people are aware of their shortcomings, but for some reason, they don’t want to abandon their crappy choices altogether.
Celebrity diets are also a craze among people. Every now and then a big celebrity spurts out his/her dietary revelations in a media interview after a big transformation for a movie role. People devour such preachings with great faith, dismissing the fact that the said celebrity is being spoon-fed by nutritionists and professional cooks for all of his/her daily meals.
You’ll have great long term results when you start planning out your nutrition in terms of specific meals and ready to eat snacks which are healthy and nutritious. Take responsibility for your nutrition, put in some work, read & improve your awareness about foods and stop getting into the trap of fad diets and products.
4. Emotional Eating.
When you start turning to food for stress relief, comfort, or reward rather than nutrition, you feel powerless to make a sane food choice decision whenever a mood swing strikes. An emotional eater usually overindulges after an emotional episode (Robbins). This leads to a feeling of guilt and regrets later, and he/she either tries to overcompensate by starving him/herself or gets derailed.
Don’t make food your go-to tool for dealing with stresses and anxieties of life. And stop thinking of food in terms of reward or punishment.
Rather than having an emotional affixation with food, deal with your emotions productively. Utilize the below pointers next time when you feel like gulping up an entire bucket of ice cream, after something really stimulate an upsurge of emotions in your heart:
- Talk to your trusted partner or a close buddy and open up about your emotional constriction.
- Practice meditation or listen to music (preferably classical) to soothe your mind.
- Go for a long walk, not only will it relax your mind but also burn off a few calories.
5. Late Night Snacking.
If you crave late night snacking out of your eating plan on a regular basis, it indicates the inadequacy of your diet program. Your diet should not only impart nourishment but should also balance metabolic hormones responsible for keeping you energetic and satisfied.
Those who follow very low caloric programs, crash diets or intermittent fasting type diets are susceptible to blow off their diets with late night binge. Their bodies are begging for nutrition and energy. Elevated cortisol levels due to severe under-eating, exhaustion, and sleeplessness due to high stress hormone levels usher you towards late night pigging out.
Following an individualized diet based on metabolic expressions & biochemical feedback, psychology, and personal preference is much more capable of providing you lasting results. Consume substantial meals consisting of protein, fiber & water to balance hunger and cravings (Thomas), and replenish your workouts appropriately.
- Crovetti R , Porrini M , Santangelo A , Testolin G. The influence of thermic effect of food on satiety. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 1998, 52(7):482-488.
- Robbins, T. W., and Fray, P. J. (1980). Stress-induced eating: Fact, fiction, or misunderstanding?Appetite 1: 103–133.
- Thomas L. Halton & Frank B. Hu , MD, PhD. The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition . Volume 23, 2004 – Issue 5, Pages 373-385.
- Weck M, Bornstein SR, Barthel A, Blüher M. Strategies for successful weight reduction – focus on energy balance [Article in German]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2012 Oct;137(43):2223-8.