During my weight loss diet plan, when I lost 80 pounds and finally kept it off, I made these six mistakes, which are common to most dieters. Based on my experience, here are some tips for avoiding these mistakes on the way to achieving your goals.
YOU ARE TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH TOO SOON
Trying to go from Sedentary Slob to Super Dieter on a Monday morning? Not so smart. It is a great way to ensure you will be back to the couch by mid-day Wednesday. You can’t expect to undo years worth of damage overnight. If you typically eat “three square meals” a day, start out by adding a snack – either in the morning or the afternoon, then work your way to six small meals every 2-3 hours. This approach to fat loss is called kaizen, a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. Making a small change once a day or once a week leads to a constant state of improvement.
YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE QUICK FIX
I was convinced I had a Loch Ness Monster in my colon and that was making me fat! But the colon cleanser I purchased only left me with a very sore butt, some leafy-looking things in the toilet and not a single pound lost. Now I was convinced that I needed a deluxe fat burner – one that would melt away the fat while I sat on my butt doing nothing! After thousands of dollars and lots of false hope, I realized that the only way I was going to achieve the lean body that I desired was to come up with a solid nutrition and exercise plan, and to add supplements that were backed by solid science.
YOU ARE LETTING OTHERS KNOCK YOU OFF-TRACK
My family is full of enablers – they mean well, but they were not sensitive to the fact that I was serious about staying on track with my weight loss diet. “C’mon a little bit won’t hurt” or “you can diet tomorrow” was all it took to convince me to eat. Within 30 minutes I had eaten myself stupid and undone all of the positive progress that I had spent the past week achieving. Let those around you know how important it is for you to lose weight and what it means to both you, and them, if you do not achieve your goals.
YOU ARE NOT GETTING BACK “ON THE WAGON” IMMEDIATELY AFTER FALLING OFF
I would usually fall off my diet toward the end of any given week. It was at that point that I rationalized that, since I was “off the wagon” I would wait until Monday to get started again! This probably won’t come as a big shock, but science now has proven that weekends can wreak havoc on your waistline. That was the conclusion of Washington University researchers, who found that even people on strict diet and exercise programs lose weight more slowly than expected because they eat more on weekends.
The verdict: People don’t need a holiday to eat more; they tend to do it every weekend because human lifestyle patterns can be very different.
There were two key takeaways for me from this:
1.The best time to get back “on the wagon” was at your next meal – do not wait until you’ve done more damage.
2. Do not let Saturday or Sunday be different than any other day – stick with your plan whether it is a Saturday or a Wednesday
YOU ARE TRYING TO BE PERFECT EVERY DAY
Life is not perfect – and your diet plan shouldn’t be either. You can’t expect yourself to follow your program to the letter every second of every day until you reach your goal. If you do, you are setting yourself up for failure. That is why you need to apply the 90/10 rule to your nutrition and exercise. The 90/10 rule is very simple – if you are following your weight loss diet plan 90% of the time, then you will not be hurt by the 10% of the time that you are not. Your weight loss diet should have a minimum of 5 meals per day, with 6 meals as your goal. Following the 90/10 rule with 6 meals a day (or 42 meals a week) means that you have 4 meals a week where you can go off your program without halting progress, as long as those meals are reasonable. Same rules apply to exercise. Let’s say your schedule permits you to work out 4 days per week. So in a month, you have 16 workouts – and following the 90/10 rule, you can miss 1 or 2 workouts without derailing yourself. However, you should save your “skips” for times when you really need to skip – like a poor night’s sleep, illness, or hectic travel schedule.
YOU ARE NOT SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
It took you your entire life to get to this point, and you expect to reverse all of the damage in 3 weeks? That is what a lot of diet products would like you to believe. You absolutely MUST set goals, but they MUST be realistic. What is realistic? one to two pounds of fat per week is a reasonable goal. The more you have to lose, the higher you can set your weekly expectations. But if you are approaching double-digits with your expectations, you will ultimately fail.