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10 ways to screw up your diet!

January 23, 2010

You bought the diet book and you read it from cover to cover. You threw out all of that bad foods, went to the supermarket and loaded up on all the “good” foods. For “x” weeks, you did everything Mr. or Mrs. Diet Guru told you to do… and it worked… until it stopped working… So, what went wrong? And how do we get your weight loss back on track?

Let’s start by taking a look at 10 ways to screw up your diet.

1. Trust
Trust that a one size fits all diet is going to fit you.
For a diet book to be successful, it needs to guarantee success and be easy to understand. Impossible!! You are an individual. The general public is made up of individuals. We wear different clothes. We drive different cars. We have different metabolisms, different dietary preferences, different families, different jobs, etc… Don’t expect a diet book written for the general public to fit seamlessly into your life. Like a piece of “off the rack” clothing, you will need to make some alterations for it to fit perfectly.

Trust that the calories burned estimates on the treadmill are accurate.
Based upon my own unofficial experiments, your cardio machine is overestimating your calories burned by as much as 50%. Adjust your workout. Get off the machine and become one through better training.

Trust that those food labels are correct .
By 2012, the weight loss industry is projected to swell to $2 trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money! Isn’t it possible, that in their quest for an even larger share of that “low-fat pie”, weight loss companies might be tempted to over-exaggerate their claims? Trust me, they are. Food manufacturers manipulate food labels. The best place for you to start is to choose real food over processed foods and meals. The easiest way to shop at the grocery store is to stay on the outside edge of your grocery store and out of the isles. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products are in these places.

2. Don’t keep a food log
There is a big difference between what you “think” you eat and what you actually shove into your mouth on a daily basis. Keep a food log. The action of putting pen to paper and recording your food intake has a powerful effect on your actions. Without the food log, it’s way too easy to forget those little cheats.
Here are two places online that you can find printable food logs.
Robb Wolf or Food Diary
Here are two places online that you can find online food logs.
Fit Day or Fit Chick

3. Focus only on calories
They say that a calorie is a calorie.
They say that to lose weight, you need to reduce your calories.
They say that a calorie of a delicious, yet tiny cheese-burger is equal to a calorie of blueberries or filet mignon or butter or (you get the point)….
They are WRONG. 1500 calories of junk food is not the same as 1500 calories of healthy food. It’s just not!

The Solution?
Stop thinking about calories.
Start thinking about nutrients.
Stop sacrificing the health of your heart and brain at the altar of your taste buds.
Don’t buy another diet book or fat burner.
Start eating the foods that you know are good for your body.

4. Live and die by your bathroom scale
Weight loss is not linear. There are going to be ups and downs. At the very least the level of fluid in your body is different from one day to the next. Your weight is going to be different from one day to the next. It might shift a little and it might shift more than a little. When it comes to the scale, ignore the day to day or at least don’t get freaked out by the little ups and downs. The best thing to do is stay off the scale, measure your body from time to time and look for changes in the size and shape of your body, not pounds.

5. Turn a cheat meal into an ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET
Some diets use a cheat meal / cheat day / cheat weekend as a tool to re-set your fat burning hormones. The idea is that by “temporarily” increasing calories or carbs, your body won’t shift into starvation mode and cause a decrease in metabolism and fat loss. Personally, I think it’s a useful dieting strategy, however the problem is that dieters sometimes lose control and their cheat meal ends up becoming an excuse to pig out. If you implement a cheat strategy into your routine, treat the cheating with respect, don’t abuse it and if you aren’t able to control you cravings, then just don’t have a cheat meal, day or weekend.

6. Skip breakfast
There is just way too much scientific proof to ignore this diet killer. Eat your Wheaties or better yet, a good breakfast! It’s especially important that if you workout in the morning to get something in your body preferably within 30 min after the end of your workout and no longer than 60 min after your workout. The best recovery drink out there is chocolate milk.

7. Dehydration
Q: Why do people break their diets?
A: They get hungry…duh
Did you know that hunger is a symptom of dehydration?
Stay hydrated! Drink water. How much you ask, divide your body weight in half and drink at least that many ounces a day. So if you weigh 180 lbs, you should be drinking a MINIMUM of 90 ounces, and that’s water, not pop, not juice (as those have a bunch of extras your body just doesn’t need) that’s WATER!!

8. Fat Burners
Drug and supplement companies are hard at work trying to formulate that “holy grail” of pharmaceuticals: A weight loss pill that works as advertised and doesn’t kill you.
News Flash: It doesn’t exist.
What does exist are products that combine a small boost in fat burning ability with a large boost in self-delusion. Don’t waist your time and money. There is no magic pill for better eating and exercises. Eat right and work hard then you’ll achieve the results you want to.

9. Your lazy lifestyle
30 minutes on the treadmill is NOT going to make up for a lifestyle of sitting on your butt.
Back in the olden days, your ancestors worked hard…hunting, gathering, pillaging, etc…
The least you could do is take the stairs. Find an exercise program that you can stick with. Look for one that teaches you how to preform functional movements. Isolated, single joint movements (like a bicep curl) are worthless! Squats, push ups, sit ups, pull ups and other functional movements are some of the tings you should seek out in a fitness program. Not sure where to start, go to your local CrossFit Gym and see what they’re doing.

10. Too few meals / Too many meals
This is a two-part screw up…
PART 1 – The first part of this screw up applies to those people who starve themselves while they are busy during the day and then chow down when they get home at night. Big mistake.
By running on fumes all day, you are telling your body that food is scarce. As a result, your body increases the production of various fat storage brain chemicals and hormones.
And when you get home with that tofu bean sprout delight (or double cheese pizza), they spring into action and slam those calories right into those love handles and saddle bags.
PART 2 – The second part of this screw up is for those people who are trying to eat between four and eight small meals a day instead of 3 larger meals. While I believe that this can be an effective strategy, be aware that it can also backfire. Tiny meals don’t satisfy. You will be hungry…all the time. Never full and never satisfied. If you are going to use this weight loss technique, you need to find your personal comfort zone between insulin control and never ending hunger caused by tiny little Smurf meals.

First, remove the word “diet” from your vocabulary and make a permanent change in the way you eat. You need to find a way to eat that works for you and your life style. Make small changes. Don’t try to quit everything all at once, identify things that need to change and take it one step at a time. Keeping an honest food log will help you to be able to identify those things that need change. The goal is to make change permanent and to get off the diet merry go round.

This is your opportunity to choose the person you are in this moment; your moment to choose who you’ll be in the next; your chance to determine who you’ll be tomorrow. You’re choosing, right now. One year from now, you will wish you had started today! DO IT!!

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