One question you must ask yourself before dieting:
“Am I doing it for the right reasons”?
For yourself that is, not for others. This will help you stick to it and sustain any changes you make.
Here are common mistakes people make when starting a new diet:
1. Incorrectly Tracking Calories
“I‘ve been dieting for ages and haven’t made any changes to my shape or lost any weight.” Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. One reason the scale won’t budge – You may be incorrectly tracking calories.
A person must be in a calorie deficit to lost weight.
What is a calorie deficit?
Simply put, it’s consuming less amount of calories than your body burns. For example, someone eating 2,000 calories, when their body burns off around 2,200/2,500 = Successful weight loss.
Did you know? Your body naturally burns off a certain number of calories from just being alive (yes, even when you’re sleeping!) This is called your ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’ (BMR.) The good news? The number of calories burned can also be increased through movement, which is recorded and shown as your ‘TDEE’ (Total daily energy expenditure.) This is an estimate of both your BMR and your daily movement. This brings us onto mistake number 2:
2. Not Enough Movement
Just like your car burns fuel when moving, your body burns calories. More movement = more calories burned.
Struggling to track calories? The MyFitnessPal app is a fantastic tool that can help give you a good estimate on how many calories you consume. However, don’t forget the “hidden” calories such as oils, drinks (especially alcohol), butter and spices. Otherwise your meal may transform into a calorie overload!
Ok, so you’ve been tracking well and feel it’s been correctly calculated. But still no results? The answer may come down to movement.
3. Drastically Restricting Calories
Most of us go into panic mode and slash calories to get in shape fast. The result? A negative effect on your energy levels. And what happens? The movements you usually do, you now avoid. You swap standing for sitting. You choose the lift instead of the stairs. You drive to the shops, instead of that five minute walk. You start cutting corners in your workout routine and the intensity plummets (you dread the thought of leg day!) All of which will make changes to your total daily energy expenditure. Once again, similar to your car – if it’s running low on fuel, it won’t perform well.
When entering a calorie deficit, make sure you don’t drop down your calories too much. So, what’s the best way then? You want to reduce the least amount you can that allows you to still get results. You will enjoy the process more and actually stick to it for longer than a week. Start off by dropping down your calories by around 20% and see how your body reacts. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
4. Lack Of Protein
Everyone’s diet should consist of a good amount of protein. 1-1.5g of protein per pound of body weight is a generic recommendation given to guide people.
Why is protein important when dieting?
Protein is a vital macronutrient needed for us to sustain our muscle. It offers us essential amino acids – the building blocks of muscle tissue. When we exercise, muscle tissue is being broken down at a faster rate. This is when the amino acids get to work and repair damaged tissue, in order for them to grow back stronger.
Now here’s why protein should be your best friend when dieting: when consumed it gives you more satiety. Have you ever eaten a meal only to be hungry 30 minutes later? Increase protein, and it will allow you to feel fuller and have less cravings. Another fun fact: protein has a higher TEF (thermic effect of food) which means more calories are burned when digesting, compared to other foods. To be more specific – An estimation of around 20-30% for proteins, 5-10% for carbohydrates, and around 1-3% for fats. Can’t complain with that, can we?
There we have it, the 4 most common mistakes when dieting. If you’ve made any, we would love to hear about it.
Remember, consistency is key. If you fall off track, don’t worry. Just make the next day a better one.
Thank you for reading. We hope this helps!