There are so many ways to lose weight. So much confusing advice, and a number of diet mistakes that are very easy to make. And while you’re trying to navigate this, you still have family to look after, jobs to do, friends to see, and a life you’d quite like to live.
So it’s easy to make any of these mistakes when it comes to weight loss. And doing so leaves many women stuck in a yoyo diet cycle, never quite getting to where they want to be.
You deserve better.
You deserve to be fit, healthy and happy, with a body and lifestyle you love. But how do you do that in this crazy busy world? You need to know the right strategies, and follow them in a way that works for you.
So, here are 5 top diet mistakes to avoid, and what you can do different – so you can reach your goal, and keep the results for life.
Diet mistake #1 – Not choosing a sustainable plan
You want to lose weight fast. So you seek out the plan that seems to have the quickest results. Other people have lost weight cutting carbs, going keto, cutting out gluten, turning vegan, going back to Slimming World or Weight Watchers… maybe you’ve experienced success with these in the past too.
But the key point that often gets missed is that it has to be sustainable.
You have to be able to lose weight in a way that you can live it.
Otherwise, you can follow rules and restrictions to lose the weight, but then… how do you keep it off?
Going back to normal life means gradually (or quickly) putting the pounds back on. If the diet only works while you’re on it… it doesn’t really work. It’s not helping you lose weight for life. It’s just giving you rules to follow. And if you can’t keep going with the rules (because they’re not much fun long term) it’s likely you won’t keep the weight loss either.
There needs to be habit and lifestyle changes along the way to your goal, so that when you it… you can just carry on. It’s easy to maintain the results because you enjoy what you do and how it makes you feel.
Diet mistake #2 – not seeking correct knowledge
There is so much conflicting information out there.
With the internet and social media, everyone has a voice. Many of those voices don’t have evidence-based information or your best interests at heart. We have to be savvy with who we trust and believe. Just because a diet works for one person, doesn’t mean it’s right for you (or that it will still be working for that person in a few months time).
In 2019 I completed a year of advanced studies to qualify as a certified nutritionist with Mac Nutrition Uni.
That was after a decade working as a personal trainer and online coach, doing other courses and my own learning throughout that time. And there was still a wealth of new tools and knowledge I picked up.
Mac Nutrition Uni are considered the best in the business, and their underlying key principle is that what we teach and recommend must be based on actual evidence, from unbiased scientific studies. It’s incredible how much information you see online is not backed up by research.
We need to build the habit of questioning what we see and hear, and following people who are putting out unbiased, practical advice.
And if I could give you one other person to follow on instagram, who puts out highly entertaining posts and videos on fitness and weight loss, it would be this guy – Jordan Syatt
One key point to remember: any diet works by creating rules that reduce your calorie intake. Taking in less calories than you burn off (otherwise known as creating a calorie deficit) is always the key to weight loss.
It can help to think of it like this – every diet offers you a different method for losing weight. But the founding principle is the same for all of them – creating a calorie deficit. When you know this, you can choose the method that works best for you.
Funny thing is, that usually means ditching ALL of the diets, and creating a healthy balanced lifestyle that works for the rest of your life.
Diet mistake #3 – WHEN I get to my goal, THEN I’ll love myself
It’s vital to practice loving yourself on the way down.
This isn’t always easy when you’ve spent years, maybe even decades, with a brain that’s become wired for self-criticism and never feeling enough. But you can shift that mindset. And not only will it dramatically increase your chances of success but… you deserve to.
We are only here once. You can spend that time criticising yourself, hating your body, waiting to be happy. Or you can spend it on your own side. Having your own back. Appreciating everything about what you have as you strive to make it better.
If you don’t practice self love on the way down, you’ll get to your ideal weight and still find plenty of flaws when you get there.
The difference between people who love their body, and people who don’t, has nothing to do with the number they see when they step on the scales. It has everything to do with how they see themselves. How they choose to think and feel.
It’s all perception.
You can choose to see the best in you. You can choose to appreciate your incredible body for all it’s done for you so far in life. This takes consistent daily work, and it’s more than worth the effort. The changes I’ve seen in my online clients from practising this has been incredible. Check out some of their stories here.
Another way to build self confidence and self esteem is to focus on the small wins you can create for yourself.
Social media can be a minefield for comparison. There’s always someone who appears to be doing better, winning at life, looking amazing (often in a filtered image that’s been taken 25 times to get the best shot, but we don’t know that). So you need to cultivate your feed. Follow people and accounts who inspire self-love and lift you up. There’s a lot of positivity and inspiration when you look for it. To get you started with self love pages, check out this one – @myselflovesupply
Another way to reprogram the mind is to listen to mindset podcasts as you go about your day. Here’s my top 3 recommendations:
- Losing 100lbs with Phit n Phat
- The Mindset Mentor with Rob Dial
- The Life Coach School with Brook Castillo
I also have my own mindset and weight loss podcast – Think Healthy with Hayley
Diet mistake #4 – trying to do too much too soon
When you decide it’s time to lose weight… do you feel like you need to jump in and give it your all?
Overhaul your diet, clear out the junk in the cupboards, cut out sugar, get to the gym 3 times a week, meditate daily, hit 10k steps without fail, maybe do a couch to 5k…
Hello, even more overwhelm!
It’s too much, right?
As soon as you drop one of those many balls, you feel like you’re failing.
You know that taking better care of you will make you happier, healthier, and extend your time on this amazing planet with the people you love.
But take on too much too soon, and it leads to burnout. You feel like you can’t do it, so you wait for a quieter time. Which never comes. Meanwhile time is ticking. It can’t go on like this.
So we need to make this approach as simple and doable as possible. Small steps. Think of it like a staircase.
To reach the top, the first thing you need to do is climb the first step, That’s it. Just move up one small level. Ground yourself there, then think about the next step. And so on.
Small habit changes will always be the best way to lasting success. Find ways to enjoy the process. Rather than doing everything, aim for progress (not perfection!).
If you currently average 6000 steps daily, aim for 7000. If you know your portions are too big, start using a smaller plate. Or fill half your plate with veggies at each dinner. If you eat a chocolate bar every day, start making it every other day. If you snack when you’re not hungry, start drinking a glass of water and waiting 10 minutes first.
Build small wins, celebrate each one, and be ok with occasional slip ups. They’re part of the process. Keep gradually moving forward, and you will be amazed at how far you go.
Diet mistake #5 – too much focus on the scales
Imagine what life would be like if all the scales in the world disappeared overnight.
How would you know how you should judge yourself today? How would you know whether to feel smug and proud, or whether you need to shout ‘FFS!’, feel ashamed and frustrated, and head off to find the biscuits?
It’s crazy that we can end up thinking like that, isn’t it?
But often we do. We base feelings and emotions, and sometimes our entire day, on the number we see as we stand on that little platform.
If there were no scales, you might focus on how you feel in your body. How your clothes fit today. How much energy you have. Hopefully you’d look at how well you’re taking care of you.
With my online clients, I’m far more concerned with the efforts they’re making on a day to day basis. How they’re showing up for themselves. Habits that are being build. Mindset shifts. Whether they’re enjoying the process.
The scales are one tool, and they are a great indicator of progress over weeks and months. But we have to use them in the right way. They give feedback, but it’s not always immediate. There’s many other factors that can affect the number you see.
So, we need to take the scales off their pedestal and use them as just one tool. They don’t define you in any way. Sometimes they don’t even accurately portray the progress you’re making.
Stay focused on the lifestyle changes you’re putting in place, and ANY signs of progress in any area. Don’t get disheartened by a ‘bad reading’ and use it as an excuse to self sabotage. You deserve better than that.
The only way you won’t succeed, is if you give up too soon. Keep working on the ultimate goal – being happy, healthy, fit, taking care of you – and keep going.
If you need some help…
Weight loss is hard to navigate by yourself. Especially when you have a million other things going on in life. Sometimes you need support. A coach to guide you. Someone who can give you feedback, guidance, encouragement, and help you know that you’re on the right track.
This is what I offer through online coaching. To read the experiences of women just like you, check out the results and testimonials from a number of my clients here – Client Results.
And if you’re interested in working with me, find out more and apply for online coaching here – Benefits of Having an Online Weight Loss Coach