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5 Fat Loss Mistakes That Everyone Makes

Updated: 6 days ago


It is one of the most in demand services from both coaches like myself and personal trainers. It's also a topic that is getting more and more prominent globally as the population (as a whole) continues to get larger.


The best part about this article? You get a sneak peek into some of my very own 'before and afters' - no fads or quick fixes, just before and after educating myself on how real life fitness and nutrition works. There are about 10-12kg of weight difference (and around 10% change in body composition - from 28% body fat, down to 18%) between photos in case anyone is interested.


Many of my clients 'eat pretty well', go to the gym, use MyFitnessPal and still can't lose fat. What's going on? Well here are some factors to consider.


So many of us want to lose fat; whether it's for a holiday, so our clothes fit again, for health reasons or simply to feel better.


What I want everyone to know is that I've been there... and I would say I have tried almost everything over the years (bar perhaps raw vegan... no thanks). From years of education, environmental study, integrative nutrition, self-experimentation and work with clients, I can safely say there are a number of mistakes that EVERYONE makes in a bid to try and lose weight and/or fat.





Fat Loss Mistake No. 1 - Eating Less (Or Trying To)


I remember an ex boyfriend once saying that I didn't need to go on a bootcamp, I could pay him to just feed me lettuce.... charmer. But this has always stuck with me and I pondered whether literally just eating lettuce was the answer. Surely not? I've tried a number of other things over the years, like much smaller portions, eating only cereal/oats (does anyone else remember the Special K diet as a teenager?) and I can confirm that none of it worked.


Eating 'less' without education around the importance of Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates and how they affect our hunger and satiety hormones is often error number one for most people. For most, it goes something like this:


Your plan for the day: "I'll just eat salad"

There are cupcakes in the office and I'm starving...hmmm...

Those slices at the bakery look amazing and I'm still starving.

I'm tired and still starving, I'll eat the kids leftover lunch boxes.

Now I'm tired and stressed - takeaway will do.


Derailment.


"Get educated around the nutrition your body needs, before you try and simply 'eat less'.
It will save you years."


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Fat Loss Mistake No. 2 - Exercising


Yes, really. That's not a typo. Check out the photos below. Running a triathlon, before educating myself on nutrition, carrying around 10kg of extra body fat... it was hard.


Starting a new exercise regime or simply 'exercising more' has very little impact on daily calorie expenditure. For the majority of people who go in without support or guidance it often leads to them gaining weight in the long run due to increased hunger.


Some of my most active years - running in the morning and going to the gym in the afternoon - without changing my nutrition, honestly did very little. And I definitely felt like I deserved extra food because of it.


Does exercise help your mental health? Absolutely. Can it make you build muscle and change your body composition? Definitely. Will starting to run or lift weights help you lose fat effectively without understanding your nutrition and increased hunger levels that might result? Statistics show it's unlikely.



Fat Loss Mistake No. 3 - Relying On Willpower


Willpower... if only we had more of it, right? Wrong.


No matter how much will power you have to suffer through; eating food you don't like, putting yourself through exercise when you don't want to and trying to avoid food you've previously relied on, you will hit a threshold where it just becomes too hard.


"You can't change your body with the same mindset that got you here.
You can't change your habits in the same environment that got you here."

Before you strap up your boots for yet another 'diet starts today' Monday...


Take time to work on your mindset, consider why you really want it. And crucially, make changes to your environment that make healthy choices easier. Gym clothes laid out at night, to go to a class you love, replacing a snack box with a fruit bowl, prepping healthy meals for the week you can't ignore....


Making it easier for yourself to make healthy choices will win over willpower any day.


How many times have you tried willpower?

  • Too Many

  • A Couple Of Times

  • Never

  • I Have & It Worked



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Fat Loss Mistake No. 4 - Counting Calories


This is a bit of a debate. Food tracking and counting calories can be incredibly helpful for many. I even encourage clients (with the right mindset and knowledge) to give it a go.


The problem? I tracked calories for years. Eating sugary cereals, 'healthy' sandwiches and loads of pasta for dinner. I even ate more food when I saw I had calories left over. The problem? The nutrition was poor. The calorie counting got me so far. But eating processed food with very little (if any) protein until dinner time meant I was always hungry ...and very rarely lasted more than a few days.


Don't start blindly counting calories. Learn what macronutrients will work best for your body and your goals, learn about what foods might work for you best... then decide if you want to get stuck into the maths.



Fat Loss Mistake No. 5 - Ignoring Sleep


In 2021 I had a client who lost a few kilos (not an exaggeration) when I suggested she move her afternoon coffee to lunchtime instead of 4/5pm. Her sleep transformed and she felt considerably less hunger. We'd barely talked about food, other than a couple of very simple swaps. She had more energy, didn't want to eat the stuff she had previously been eating and everything simply fell into place.


Sleep is huge. Having a bad nights sleep (6 instead of 8 hours for example) significantly increases the number of calories you eat the next day. By around 20% depending on the study. It makes sense that when your body is tired it reaches for more food in order to gain energy.


If you're working on everything else. Better sleep could be the missing key you need.


If you want to get to the bottom of the key mistakes you're making, keep reading.


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