People inevitably trip-up on their diets, but they usually don't just stub their toe. Little trips become full-on face plants. Catch yourself, before you fall!
Ten months, 30 boxes of Ding-Dongs and 40 pounds later, and gym mice are back-fat to square one, or round one, the giant circle as their waistline ballooned after dropping into the dungeon of despair.
If you know what to look for, you can avoid these diet mistakes and keep progressing.
Trapdoor 1: Failure To Count Calories
Counting calories won't guarantee fat loss, but not counting calories almost guarantees failure. Total daily calorie intake helps measure whether you lose or gain body fat. As a sports writer would say: "The numbers don't lie."
That's not to say that all calories are the same - which is the conventional wisdom challenged by Gary Taubes in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories. But if you don't count calories at all, you're walking blind across a field of pitfalls with a burgeoning belly.
Fix: Start Tracking Immediately
Technology has deleted your excuses. Tracking calorie intake is easier than ever with cell phone apps, online programs and the always-reliable food journal. There's no longer an excuse to not count calories. Become accountable for your weight, starting today!
Trapdoor 2: Too Much Dieting
Prolonged dieting makes it more difficult to lose fat. A person's metabolism goes into turtle mode after months of constant dieting.
Fix: Implement A Diet Break
Incorporating diet breaks in a regimen shocks your metabolism back to life. Start by taking a 7-day diet break. Consume no less than 14 calories per pound of body weight (a good estimated maintenance level for someone with a reduced metabolic rate) and take in at least 150 grams of carbs per day.
Carbs kick-start your metabolism, allow you to grab another gear toward peak physical condition. When you fall through the trapdoor, carbs are the rope that pulls you out. Good sources include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Trapdoor 3: Food Delusion
Do you fib/cheat/lie about what you eat during the day? Are you snacking here and there without counting it? The small bite of the cookie you snagged on the way to the copier won't make a big difference, right?
Wrong! It's a dead giveaway when you aren't losing fat. So fess up and be responsible.
Fix: Become Accountable
Start tracking everything. If you eat/drink/chew it, document it. Otherwise you can't properly gauge what needs to change or stay the same in your diet.
Trapdoor 4: Mundane Workouts
Is an exciting workout as rare as a paparazzi shot where Britney Spears is actually wearing underwear? Are you dragging yourself to the gym every day, wondering how you're going to make it through another life-sucking session on the hamster wheel? Consider that a clear sign that it's time to shake things up. Your training needs CPR at this point.
Fix: Seek Out Adventure
Look for alternative ways to become more active. Try that boot camp class you've been eyeing as you pass through the gym. Try rock climbing or tennis for the first time. Self-administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; do something (legal) that makes your heart race! Regardless of what strikes your interest, prioritize doing something different. It's an awesome way to stay engaged and recharge those batteries.
Trapdoor 5: The Fatigue Factor Finally Kicks In
Don't be all work and no play. If you can't remember the last time your body rested well, it could hinder your results. Learn to chill more and let your body recuperate before putting it though the weekly grinder.
Hard work correlates to success, but if you wear your body down, you will succumb to the trap.
Fix: Get Some TLC
Skip gym workouts and do something you enjoy to foster recovery. Take a hot bath, go for a massage, meet a friend, socialize or just relax and read a good book.
Recovery is vital for progress. If you worked hard for too long, get some TLC.
Trapdoor 6: Stress Becomes Your Shadow
Stress is a killer because it zaps energy and increases cortisol levels in the body. This encourages stomach fat accumulation and moves you farther from your goal. It distracts focus, so you fall.
Fix: Chill, For Real
Find something to help you de-stress and put an effort toward it. If you don't chill out sometimes, your results will evaporate and you may get sick. Stress compromises the immune system and puts your mind in an unproductive pinch.
Trapdoor 7: You Always Fly Solo
Don't fight the battle alone. Find someone trying to accomplish the same goals, and combine forces with them. A support system increases the chance of success because it helps you attend the gym more and stick to a solid diet.
Fix: Find A Support Network
There are several ways to combat weight problems. Look online or make a pact with someone who will fight the excess flab beside you. Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Odds are that someone else in your gym is also going at it alone. Team up! Make a friend. Do what it takes to get the body you always wanted. Don't settle for anything less!