- When you start dieting, tackle the low hanging fruit first
- You didn’t get fat overnight
- Diet perfection is not required to lose weight
Ever wish you could skip the roadblocks of dieting? Ya know the little things that you don’t think of then after not getting results for months you’re like “Son of a bee-sting, I can’t believe I missed that”.
Well that is what this article is all about.
The little shit you don’t think of that causes you to waste time and effort trying to lose weight.
As someone that has dieted multiple times before and having online coaching clients going through dieting phases as we speak, I have a good pool of common dieting roadblocks to draw from.
So without further ado, here’s some common dieting roadblocks and how to avoid them.
#1 NOT TRACKING ACCURATELY
With dieting there is a lot of low hanging fruit you can attack in the beginning of a diet without having to go crazy. And by crazy I mean dropping calories super low, completely changing the food you eat or doing endless cardio until you chaffe. Tackling these low hanging fruit usually yield the best and most sustainable results.
The biggest one is making sure you tracking calories accurately.
I like to think about it like this. If you were tracking your finances and didn’t keep track of anything under $100 you’d be missing a huge chunk of your spending.
Gas to fill up your car.
The little things you buy from Amazon.
All that shit can add up real quick.
Calories are the same way.
The little nibbles, tastes, bites, licks and just a handfuls (which kinda sounds like a title to a sex tape) really add up fast.
These could be the difference between you losing weight or just losing time.
Here’s some tips that I give to my online coaching clients:
Buy a food scale and weigh everything in grams or ounces is by far the most accurate. Weigh as much as possible with a food scale. Measure the rest with cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons.
Don’t track using metrics like: small/medium/large. One medium banana. One large avocado. ½ bowl of rice. 1 steak. Lots of room for error here as there is a large variety of sizes.
Weigh your meats raw (but thawed) and track them as such or find the cooked version in MyFitnessPal.
Cooking oils – Even if you don’t apply it directly to your food, but rather line the pan with it, it still gets absorbed. This can add up to hundreds of untracked calories
Dressings, toppings, and condiments – The two biggest culprits here are salad dressings and condiments like BBQ sauce. Both are sneaky high in calories, and all too easy to forget to track.
Eye-balling it instead of measuring – As you’ve learned, we’re typically pretty terrible at estimating our food intake accurately.
If you can take care of all these, weight loss becomes a lot less of a pain in the ass.
#2 DON’T USE WILLPOWER, USE FRICTION
In our minds we are all Dave Groggins. Able to will ourselves to change and resist urges.
In reality that’s about as good a plan as trying to grow your manhood bigger by buying pills from Ron Jeremy.
So instead of white knuckling it by willing yourself through a dieting phase I like to help my online coaching clients make the urge/craving they want to do harder by adding friction.
Get comfortable, it’s story time.
I got rid of cable a little over a year ago now.
Honestly I was a little nervous with football season coming up; I must have spent days Googling how I can stream football games.
But I cut the cord anyway and will never go back. And yes, I still got to watch football.
Right about now you’re prob wondering WTF this has anything to do with nutrition mistakes?
What I didn’t tell you is my TV used to be on all the time. I used to spend hours everyday watching shit I had already seen or would never watch if I had the choice. I was wasting my time on things that didn’t bring me closer to my goals.
I had a bad habit of watching TV.
And cutting the cord made it incredibly hard to watch TV; obviously.
What I did was make friction between me and my habit. If I really wanted to I can still watch TV but it’s so incredibly difficult now that I’d much rather do something else.
Habits take the path of least resistance. And the best way to break a bad habit is to create friction.
- Love Chex Mix but are trying to lose weight? Create friction by not having it in the house.
- Need to stop drinking beer? Create friction by pushing it to the back of the fridge or not having it in the house.
- Can’t stop snacking? Remove all the snacks from the house or put them out of eyesight.
This doesn’t have to be ground breaking, but just make things slightly more difficult than convenient. For habits your trying to break, making them harder to do is the easiest way to shed them.
#3 THINKING FOODS ARE GOOD OR BAD
One of my top three pet peeves is thinking specific foods are good or bad.
Foods are neither good or bad. As far as I know no food has committed murder or punched a baby.
Are there some foods that don’t provide a lot of nutritional value or will leave you hungry more than others…of course…but it still doesn’t make them bad.
And when you think in these black and white, good or bad terms it tends to affect a few things. First off it can kill your results because you think you “fell off the wagon”
There is no wagon. And since there is no wagon, you can’t fall off of it.
Non-diet foods, bad foods or however else you want to label it is not a sign that you fucked up…it’s just food.
Second, when you put foods into these good or bad categories you put the bad ones on this pedestal. They become all you can think of because they are off limits.
Like when I tell my two year old son not to hit the windows with his cars, it’s literally all he wants to do.
This makes sticking to your diet a million times harder because your mind immediately goes to the shit you restrict yourself from until you give in and go ape shit on everything you restrict yourself from.
^^ This is why so many people see good results with a restrictive diet like Keto then gain everything back.
The way I tell my online coaching clients to have about 10-20% of their calories are for flexible foods (your non-diet, bad foods). This way we aren’t labeling them as bad foods which removes the mental fixation on them and we incorporate them into your diet so the full court press of restriction isn’t there.
I’ve literally given some of them homework to get these flexible foods:
So they can have their cake (or oreos, alcohol, or chips) and eat it too. Literally.
Here’s a recent weekly check-in from one of my online coaching clients:
At the end of the day you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. That’s it.
How you do that is almost completely irrelevant.
There have been dudes that lost weight eating Twinkies and powdered donuts. So rest easy when I tell you you can have a beer when you’re dieting and not completely screw up all your results.
#4 THE FALLACY OF BEING PERFECT
When it comes to dieting, the goal is never perfection, it’s results.
Losing weight is about being consistently in a calorie deficit. If you can do that, you win.
No perfection needed.
So if one day shit hits the fan and you don’t eat like you normally would have, totally cool. Focus on staying in a calorie deficit and you’ll still lose weight.
Have one day where you eat more than you intend? Cool, get right back on track the next day. (odds are you didn’t do as much damage as you think. See the next mistake for why)
Don’t aim for perfection, aim for consistency.
#5 YOU DIDN’T GET FAT OVERNIGHT
Fat gain, like muscle gain, doesn’t happen overnight.
Sure it might feel like you gained a ton of fat if the scale shoots up but you are doing the same thing the Titanic did…took on water.
But unlike the Titanic, you’ll lose it over the next few days.
What you’re seeing is an increase in water due to carbs turning into glycogen in the muscles which holds onto water. Depending on what you ate an increase in sodium can also lead to retaining water.
If you ate a lot, say on Thanksgiving, then you have extra food in your system waiting to be digested.
So when the scale jumps up, I’d bet my last 50 cents it is due to water weight.
Even if you ate more than normal, I guarantee it’s not all fat.
A pound of fat is about 4000 calories. So for someone to gain 3 lbs of fat overnight you would need to eat 3x your maintenance level (the amount of calories where you neither gain or lose weight) in one day. Right now, my maintenance level is about 2600. For me to gain 3lbs overnight, I would have to eat at least 7800 calories in one day. Even still the increase in food would increase the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) so I would have to eat more than that to gain 3 lbs of fat overnight.
Long story short, it takes a lot to get fat overnight.
#6 NO ONE HOLDING YOU ACCOUNTABLE
The first half of 2020 I was “dieting”. I put that in quotes because while I had a calorie and macro goal and told my wife I was dieting, but my adherence was bordering on “half assing it” and “you’re not even trying”.
I would snack a lot.
I’d estimate portion sizes.
I wouldn’t track everything I ate.
And my results showed. I wasn’t losing weight. I was getting frustrated and there were multiple times I felt like throwing in the towel.
Then in June I hired a coach and everything changed.
Being one of those people that doesn’t like to let people down or wasting money, my adherence went way up. All the little things like tracking in MyFitnessPal accurately and snacking suddenly became really important and drove my results for the first 9 weeks without having to drop calories more or do a second of cardio.
Having someone (and my money) hold my ass to the flame really helped me because I couldn’t fool my coach like I could fool myself.
Dieting isn’t hard in concept. Most of us know what we SHOULD be doing but that’s all useless if the accountability and structure isn’t there to make it happen.
If you’re looking for a more structured, more consistent diet approach to dieting apply for online coaching with me.