Losing weight is a goal of nearly everyone at some point in a given year. Whether it’s gearing up for spring break in the Bahamas or your summer vacation in your favorite beach destination, your eyes become set on the prize.
You end up procrastinating the time frame needed to change in hopes to force your body into resembling that of your favorite movie star.
Am I right?
The only issue is…that nearly everyone makes the same dreadful mistakes that make weight loss so much harder and it even comes with an evil vengeance.
Everyone then fails…
They always will crash and return to their old ways. Here are some of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen over the years when it comes to weight loss:
Doing way too much cardio to start
Yes, cardiovascular work is important. Your heart needs it, and your body thanks you for the movement.
However, there is a fine line between how much you can do and what has a rewarding payoff. I’ve known intense cross-fitters or crazy Ironman athletes who do four-plus hours of intense cardio daily and never change the way they look.
The law of thermodynamics applies.
The body can adapt to excessive exercise. Over time, the same amount of exercise has less and less of an effect on fat loss. Say you start at 60-90 minutes of cardio and some of that is intense….
What happens when your fat loss stalls and you run out of steam? Add more?
Not only will this lead to an injury, overuse and neurological burnout, but it will also chronically spike cortisol levels. Cortisol is your stress hormone that directly affects your adrenals and thyroid health, which we know is the controlling mechanism or your metabolism. With high cortisol comes chronic fatigue, muscle loss and poor sleep….all of which alter your ability to recover which will then increase your likelihood of getting injured.
Control your cardio, and treat it as a “side dish” to your weight training, which is the entree. Have the mindset of doing the MINIMUM viable dose to get the most effective results, then focus in on what goes in your mouth to control the calories.
If you must do cardio, keep it lighter in the intensity range to keep cortisol production down, or make sure you are properly cycling your cardio to match your lifestyle. You can’t expect to drive stress production in your training daily and also work full time and take care of 3 kids and think your body will “adapt.”
It won’t, and you will spin your wheels trying.
Not measuring your food or training
This one drives me nuts.
Sure, tracking calories can be redundant and boring, but you wouldn't expect to stick to a budget with your personal finances and not track your spending….why is your nutrition any different?
You won't ever be 100% accurate, but that is not the point. You need to have an idea as to what is going on with your money if you need to find a way to save. If you want to lose weight, you need to know what’s going in your mouth.
I tell all my clients to find the best nutrition book rated on Amazon. Buy it, then throw it in the trash.
Then take a week and log everything that goes in your mouth and that will tell you more than any book you read when starting out.
Everyone gets so overwhelmed with what is right and wrong when it comes to dieting but they don't even realize they are eating 400 extra calories from snacks.
Track your food, initially. Learn portion sizes and the thermic effects of food.
I normally have clients start with a low-carb and higher-fat phase. Then, in their second phase, they use more of a balanced diet but with fewer total calories. The final phase is carb-dominant but still with a slightly lower caloric intake.
I then have the workouts go in line with their changes in nutrition to match the lifestyle and reduce more stress because you must remember…dieting is a stress to the nervous system.
Cutting calories and carbs too quickly
When you start a fat loss plan, it’s easy to get amped and overly excited and want to go to dropping calories, carbs and eating less than a 5-year-old version of yourself would.
While a caloric deficit is needed for fat loss, starting off too extreme can quickly begin to alter the way your energy is used daily.
There is such a thing as metabolic adaptation. Your body will adapt and initiate countermeasures that make it harder to keep losing fat.
For example, leptin levels will decrease, increasing your hunger and cravings. Your body is trying to force you to eat more calorie-dense foods and you will eventually crash and burn with a meal that turns into a three-day food binge.
I’m sure many of you have been there.
You start out thinking “it won’t happen to you,” and after four to six weeks you see more fatigue, poor sleep, moodiness, irritability and your mind gives in once you see the scale stop.
That stop at Five Guys turns into a week of eating that has you right back where you left off…
You have to remember, the more prone you are to dieting, the more you will need to treat your body.
When beginning your fat-loss plan, start with mobilizing more fat as fuel, and every phase add more carbs back in while ramping up training volume to match your carb intake.
For example, in phase one you can start at around bodyweight x 12-13. So if you're 200 pounds, that means a caloric intake of around 2500 calories per day. If you are leaner you can multiply by 14-15.
The starting point isn't that important because you'll adjust weekly depending on progression:
If you are losing two-plus pounds per week after week one, you can keep the same.
If you lose less than two pounds, decrease caloric intake by a factor of one (from 13 to 12 or from 12 to 11).
If you lose more than three pounds in a week, increase by a factor of one.
Protein should be set at around 1 to 1.25 grams per pound of bodyweight. For a 200-pound individual, that means 200-250 grams of protein. This comes to 800-1000 calories from protein, which would leave you with 1500 calories in fat and carbs.
If you get 45 grams of carbs around your workout and 10-15 grams of trace carbs during the day, this means 200-240 calories from carbs, which leaves around 1300 calories from fat or 145 grams.
Do not think you can cut carbs and increase training, as your ability to mobilize stored energy becomes diminished and chronic cortisol production will lead to your body rebelling in more ways than one.
When it comes to weight loss, it’s never a one size fits all approach. You must have a plan that works in accordance with your lifestyle and stresses.
I can’t tell you the number of cases I’ve seen fizzle out because one tries to mimic what works for their buddy.
When you understand the physiology behind what led you to gain the weight in the first place, you will see yourself progressing long-term.
That is why the clients I work with in Revive Systems learn how to get their mind and home environment prepped to help them face the struggles that life brings us daily.
This leads me to my new announcement that Dr. Kayla Mayes and I are launching a brand new program called “Reclaim” soon and are going to be hosting a LIVE webinar to go over this unique never-before-seen launch on April 16th at 7:30 pm.
Reserve your spot now to be one of the first to witness something of this nature.
Have a great week!
Mike Over is a fitness coach based in Chambersburg. Follow him on Instagram @mikeoverfitness.
This article originally appeared on Chambersburg Public Opinion: Avoid these mistakes to lose weight: Mike Over