Intermittent fasting, calorie counting, Dukan, weight watchers, Atkinson, Caveman and hundreds of other diets - how many have you tried?
Without a doubt, exercise can help with weight loss. But there's a saying – "you can't out-train a bad diet". In fact Michael Mosley recently quoted that you'd have to run for 36 miles to burn off 1lb of fat! Most fitness experts will agree that weight loss is at least 70-80% nutrition and 20-30% exercise. The exact numbers might be up for debate, but the basic principle is that what you eat affects your weight loss more.
At Get Fit Today, we offer personal training as well as our group fitness classes, and over the years we have worked with a lot of people looking to lose weight. Here are some of the things that they have told us that have caused them issues in the past:
Mistake 1 – Too much of a good thing
This is the person who eats like a saint. They have totally nailed it with the right food groups – lots of veg, a daily avocado, wholegrains, lean protein, loads of water – and absolutely none of the 'naughty' stuff. Sounds perfect you think? Actually it's not.
The problem is portion size. I trained a chap a few years ago who wanted to add some healthy fats to his diet, and chose nuts. Now, snacking on nuts is great if you have a handful (30g serving - 166 cals), but unfortunately he didn’t quite understand this at the time and was munching his way through an entire 150g bag (831 cals) every day! Fortunately for him, we were doing regular check-ins, and identified this quickly and resolved it - but in just 4 weeks, he had gained 4% body fat!
Avocados are also great and full of healthy fats, but you dont want to eat a whole one (333 cals) - just half provides an adequate serving.
The learning? Portion control. Keep eating all of the above, just be mindful of quantity.
Mistake 2 – Snack amnesia
This has definitely become more of a problem in the last couple of years since a lot of people started working from home. A little snack provides a welcome break and distraction from work, and with the fridge that little bit closer, it can be hard to resist.
I’m sure that we’re all guilty of eating something then two seconds later don't even remember doing it! While our brain may not register the food, sadly our waistline does. Classic examples of mindless snacking include clearing the kids' leftovers from dinner prior to washing up, the biscuit with your afternoon brew, the chunk of cheese that was too small to grate... every morsel will be tracked by your biological food diary!
The learning? Be aware of what you eat. If you're having a snack, sit down to enjoy it. And track it! Make a note on paper, in a book or on your phone or use an App, but whatever you choose - record it.
Our 2 month weight loss challenge will encourage and show you how best to do this using various methods.
Mistake 3 – The 'all or nothing' mentality
This client gets great results – while they're 'on it'. Sadly this sometimes doesn’t last very long before they then come 'off it' and revert back to where they were before. This client has great focus – they commit to their clean eating programme and are completely obsessive about it. But it’s normally such a strict regime and all consuming that it's inevitable their willpower is going to break at some point. Sadly, when it does, the pendulum swings the opposite way and they undo all their great work – and then some more!
Super strict approaches are just not sustainable for most people's lifestyles – unless you wish to eat alone forever and never dine out. The more restricted the diet, the less likely it is you'll manage to stick with it for any length of time. Initial results might be dramatic, but so will be your reaction when you reunite with chocolate!
The learning? Avoid extreme diet approaches. Losing weight doesn't have to be painful or super strict. Eat all food groups, allow yourself a treat and track calories. It's not rocket science, but it works as it is realistic and sustainable.
Mistake 4 – Dieting is a weekday thing
This client is similar to the 'all or nothing' one, but their dedication runs Monday to Friday.
During the weekdays they're unstoppable – they stick to their target, eat healthily, and keep active.
Come the weekend however, they figure they deserve to let loose a little, so tracking goes out of the window. A couple of days indulgence can't undo five days of hard work can it?
The answer is yes, it can. It's possible that your 'relaxed' weekend actually erodes your calorie deficit and your weight loss is much slower than you'd hoped.
Quite often, when we are active and exercising, we build up hunger due to the extra calories we are burning. Not only is it important (if you’re looking for weight loss) to make sure that you only replace some of the missing calories and don‘t go over the top but you replace them with the right type too.
The learning? Track every day of the week. You can have a more relaxed weekend - just plan for it. Allow yourself more calories on Saturdays and Sundays Knowing that during the week you will be reducing them slightly to compensate. That way you can look forward to the weekend knowing you are going to treat yourself, but still stay within your overall calorie goal.
Mistake 5 – Diets that don't educate you
It can be quite frustrating to see a client achieve some measure of success with their weight loss, only to slip back into their old ways after a month or so. If you don't understand WHY you gained weight in the first place, the chances are that when you stop ‘trying’, you will revert back to your old ways and put the weight back on.
There are many diet programmes out there to choose from – some require you to eat specific foods such as soups or shakes, others have a bespoke counting system ('points' or 'syns'), but unless you start to learn about the basics of good nutrition, they just provide a quick fix, not a long term solution.
Many people like the guidance a structured plan gives as it's easy to follow. However problems start when they try to go it alone. Unless the programme has taught them about good food choices and what a portion size looks like, people often struggle to know what to eat and invariably slip back into their familiar old habits. And the dieting cycle starts over again.
Our 8-week weight loss programme will not only guide you through 2 months of staying active and monitoring your diet, encouraging you to make some small healthy changes here and there but it will also educate you as to WHY you are doing this too. We want you to learn about healthy eating and exercise so you can maintain your new weight after you lose it on the course.
The learning? Choose a weight loss approach that is about a long term lifestyle change, not a short term 'sticky plaster'. Learn why your body requires carbs, protein & fat and get an understanding of the calorie content of products. Knowledge is power! Understanding food and nutrition better will help you to make small changes you can sustain over time – which is the ultimate way to achieve long term success.
A lot of people think that they have to do something 'special' to lose weight – that a 'diet' has to be complicated or unpleasant, because if there isn't some penance, it won't work!
”No gain without pain” …..?
But it really doesn't have to be that way. Just tracking what you eat and having an awareness of calorie counting is a proven, pain-free way to lose weight. Why make it harder?"
Check out our 8-week weight loss program and see for yourself.