I’ve made all the mistakes when it comes to trying to lose fat, gain muscle and create a sustainable lifestyle.
But I like to think all of my…interesting experiments…weren’t for nothing.
Because I’ve made so many I can help my clients avoid making those same mistakes and wasting time.
That’s why I wanted to share 7 bad habits that kept me from losing fat for the longest time!
And I’ll be honest…most sabotaged my success because they were simply unsustainable and created a mindset of restriction and deprivation.
Because while achieving our goals does mean making sacrifices at times,
we also have to learn to create a balance, meeting ourselves where we are at.
And that’s why I think this first bad habit is something many of us have had sabotage our results…
Focusing On Eating Too Clean.
I literally ended up curled up on the bathroom floor of a hotel in San Diego. I was pasty white, in a cold sweat and looked like death.
All because I’d been eating only chicken and broccoli and extremely clean, one ingredient foods for weeks before the vacation.
One spicy sangria and a couple of appetizers later and I was sick.
It’s because I’d created these extreme limitations on myself that not only had left me miserable for weeks, while not seeing better results faster, but they led to me being sick at the first deviation from my clean eating plan.
Too often we try to make ourselves feel guilty for not hitting some arbitrary standard of clean.
But this mindset of good and bad foods not only assigns moral value to foods that don’t have any, leading to GUILT when we eat one thing we aren’t supposed to, but it also can sabotage our results and long-term consistency.
This extremely restrictive clean mindset can lead to an obsession with food.
It can also lead to us creating nutrient deficiencies.
And it can lead to us ultimately feeling so miserable and deprived we give up.
And then we feel that reaching our goals is impossible and we just don’t have the willpower. We start to even DREAD the idea of making diet changes.
And all because we’re trying to force something unsustainable.
Instead of focusing on “eating clean,” focus on small swaps to foods and ingredients based on what you’re currently eating.
Realize that whole natural foods are key BUT that you can and SHOULD include the foods you love.
However, this does bring me to bad habit number 2….
Including Too Much Food Diversity.
After attempting to cut out all unclean foods, and the massive backfire I suffered…not to mention I literally couldn’t even look at chicken and broccoli for awhile…
I went to include as much diversity as humanly possible.
I thought it was a great idea to include things to keep my meals interesting and get micronutrients from a diversity of sources.
And while we do want to include a diversity of foods for optimal health to get vitamins and minerals in different forms…
Trying to include too much diversity can be overwhelming and lead to actually more cravings!
The more we give ourselves, the less of a routine and habit we get into and the more we WANT.
It becomes then a slippery slope of more and more foods creeping in.
And the less nutrient dense they are and the more processed, the easier it becomes to overeat and feel hungry even when we’ve eaten enough calories.
Not to mention it can make grocery shopping, meal prepping and hitting those macros more overwhelming when there are so many more pieces to the puzzle.
Simplifying and focusing on a set grocery list and meal plan with a few key ingredients each week can help us stay consistent and not be overwhelmed as we make changes!
Studies have even shown that we are less likely to overeat when eating the same things repeatedly, making it easier to maintain our macros and calories to lose the fat!
It leads to fewer cravings and a better shut off mechanism when we’ve consumed what we need!
The 3rd bad habit is a hard one to change when we want results as fast as possible…
It’s Always Going Hard And Never Cycling Intensity.
Sometimes less is more.
And sometimes if we back off when we aren’t motivated or proactively give ourselves a break, we actually stay more consistent overall.
If you’ve been dieting and in a deficit for a while, you may both physically and mentally start to feel the impact of the lower calories.
Your body does want to fight the weight loss process as weight loss is seen as a threat to your survival.
So you will find that cravings go up even as you get leaner and your mind fights against what you know you “should” be doing.
You may even feel demotivated to train in the way you need.
This is where potentially a deload week or a dieting break may come in handy.
The key is doing these things strategically and with a plan not just eating everything in sight while you lay on the couch for a couple of weeks doing nothing.
But give your body a break from the calorie deficit, maybe including even a few foods you’ve wanted but haven’t had.
Just be strategic in giving yourself guidelines to eat at maintenance calories and even hit easier macro ratios.
Don’t let this become a free for all.
And then you may find you’re more motivated to train with the increase in fuel or that a deload week allows your body a break to repair and rebuild while also giving you a mental break from the strain of constantly pushing that progression.
But be proactive if you’ve been dieting for awhile and give yourself that strategic break. You may be surprised by how much it even helps you bust through a plateau!
The next bad habit is one I think many of us fall prey to that prevents us sticking with the habits we need to see the body recomp we want…
And it is – Only Using The Scale To Measure Progress.
I think the scale can be a great tool. And I think it can even be a good thing to weigh daily.
But the scale also doesn’t show us the full picture.
It can make you feel like you’re actually even losing ground when results are truly building.
And this is because the scale just tells you your weight in that moment on that day.
It doesn’t tell you if you’ve gained weight because you’ve gained muscle while losing fat or if you’ve lost weight by losing muscle and even gaining fat.
And seeking to see faster results on the scale, can actually sabotage your fat loss efforts, especially your long term maintenance.
Because the faster we seek to see results on the scale, the more we often end up losing muscle mass and NOT just fat.
So if you want to focus on truly losing fat to look leaner, you need to track your progress by taking body measurements and progress pictures.
Especially progress pictures of areas you don’t even care about changing.
Because often the places we want to lose from the most are the LAST to go.
So by taking multiple angles and areas, we can see fat loss occurring in other places to know to stay the course!
The next bad habit is one that I’ve found personally the hardest to break…especially because I always enjoyed training…
It was – Trying To Out Exercise My Diet.
Many of us fall into this habit because it actually does work…to start!
But relying on this is also what ultimately keeps us stuck in this yo-yo dieting cycle, struggling to lose more and more as we get older.
It works because most of us are more comfortable being uncomfortable in our training than we are with making nutritional changes.
We also can create that calorie deficit to start by doing MORE in our workouts.
And it makes us feel really in control to push hard.
We feel good about our hard work.
But working hard doesn’t mean we’re working hard in a direction that moves us forward.
And over time, our body adapts to the training stimulus, which means we aren’t then creating the calorie deficit we once were.
So at that point either our diet needs to change or we need to train harder and longer.
At some point, trying to only do more with our workouts will burn us out, lead to injury or even ultimately result in metabolic adaptations that make it harder and harder to lose as we get older.
The simple fact is, our nutrition has to match our goals.
And by adjusting our diet we can see our performance in the gym even improve as we achieve fabulous body recomp.
We will truly see the hard work and sweat we are putting in during our workouts PAY OFF!
And I think it’s really key we recognize that at times…it WON’T feel like our hard work is paying off.
We won’t see linear progress toward our fat loss goals.
But this is why I think this next habit is so key to break…
Treating Your Workouts Only As A Means To Lose Weight.
While we do want to design our workouts and our nutrition to work together toward a singular goal, I also think it is key we set complementary goals that further motivate us to do the habits we need to see results.
And that’s why I found that a secret to consistency and success in losing fat and keeping it off is actually Setting Performance Goals while also NOT seeing my workouts as just a chance to burn more calories and lose faster.
By focusing on a specific performance goal, like improving my push ups, conquering a skill, lifting more weight in a specific lift, addressing an imbalance…even training for a competition…
I help keep myself more motivated to train hard. I have more purpose for each workout.
And then I have something to track in the gym to see my hard work building toward.
This ultimately also helped me lose fat because it kept me doing the habits I needed.
I wanted to eat to fuel and feel my best, which resulted in better body comp.
I wanted to do the recovery I needed to be able to train hard.
By setting complementary goals, like performance goals for our workouts, we better help ourselves to stay motivated to do the habits we need even when fat loss results are slow or we hit a plateau.
It allows us to celebrate other wins to keep moving forward!
And the final bad habit I think sabotaged for years and kept me stuck losing the fat to only regain it and feel like I was starting over every January with a new cut was…
Not Doing SOMETHING When It Was Better Than Nothing.
Every holiday season I would make an excuse not to track. “Oh I know the portions I need to eat.”
“Oh I can find balance I’m not being that off plan.”
“Oh I can take today off.”
And every holidays I would pack on the pounds.
I realized that, while there are times of year I don’t track and stay consistent, the holidays was not one of those times.
But I also knew the habits I enjoyed when motivated in January wouldn’t fit the holiday season.
That’s when I realized the power of 1% improvements.
Just being a little more consistent, focusing on doing a minimum, could help me move forward even during a time I didn’t care as much or have the motivation and focus.
Too often we try and rely on a perfect 21 days or 6 weeks.
But doing the ideal only during those times doesn’t allow for true habit changes or results to snowball.
So it’s key we stop the all or nothing habit changes and realize that sometimes something is better than nothing, embracing doing the minimum at times!
If you’ve been struggling to make consistent and sustainable changes, and have fallen into these bad habits, focus on making one change today!
We need to keep constantly learning and remember that small swaps and changes add up!
Ready to create sustainable habits that help you achieve your leanest, strongest body EVER and maintain those results till your final day on this planet?!
Join my Dynamic Strength program!