The Biggest Mistake You’re Likely to Make When Starting a Diet

April 23, 2013 | By | 8 Comments

Are you making this classic mistake almost all dieters make when starting a new program?

Everyone wants fast results when starting a diet. And you’re probably not the exception to this rule. But this eagerness to make quick progress can actually slow you down. In fact, it’s likely to sabotage your progress altogether.

This is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) mistake dieters make when starting a new program. In short, you eat way too little and exercise far too much.

And on the surface, it makes sense to do this. After all, we’re constantly told that weight gain is the result of overeating and not moving enough.

And while that’s true to some degree, there’s more to the story. So, pay close attention to the following because it might just save you a lot of frustration down the road.

For starters, if you’re not getting enough nutrients you’ll stop losing weight. Now, notice that I said “nutrients” and not calories. This is a critical distinction because you can take in all the calories you want… but if they’re not nutrient-dense you’ll never feel satisfied, constantly crave, end up overeating. Of course, at this point your fat loss will stall.

So, stop focusing on calories and portions and focus on nutrients. Now, I know this goes against conventional wisdom and all the things the “experts” tell you but let me ask you this: when was the last time the thing that everyone was doing turned out to be the right thing to do?

You don’t have to look far to find the answer to that question. There are fat, sick people all around us – largely because of misguided advice and outright false information. Do not allow yourself to become another statistic.

Eat real foods and you won’t have to worry about calories, portions, points or any of that nonsense. Your body is perfectly capable of letting you know how much you should eat and when to stop. But again, you have to give it the right foods.

Now, let’s switch gears and discuss the other part of the equation: exercise…

Just like eating too few nutrients will stall your progress, working out too hard will do the same. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise clearly demonstrated this.

In order to determine the right amount of exercise for optimal calorie burn, researchers split 72 older women (age 60+) into three groups. One was instructed to lift weights once per week and do a cardio workout on another day. The second group lifted twice per week and did two cardio workouts. The third one exercised six times per week: 3 weight-training sessions and 3 aerobic.

The results were surprising. You’d figure the 3rd group would experience the greatest calorie burn and show the most weight loss. But the exact opposite happened. In fact, after four months of this routine the 1st group was burning an extra 100 calories per day, the 2nd group an extra 225 calories per day, and the 3rd group was burning 200 fewer calories per day.

In short, the first group was losing some weight. The second was losing a lot more. And the third – while losing some body fat – was actually sabotaging their own progress.

The point of all this is that working out too hard can prevent fat loss rather than increase it. There is a fine line between “just right” and too much. The reason being is that when you exercise too often and for too long you put a big stress on your body. And it responds by making you feel tired in order to facilitate recovery. As a result, you’re less likely to move throughout the day, and hence, burn far fewer calories and fat.

The ultimate takeaway in regards to exercise is this: keep it short – yet intense. You want to place enough of a stress on your system so that you get results. But at the same time, not too much that you need to camp out on the couch all day in order to recover.

By striking the right balance you’ll go on to experience the best results. And as you’ve just read, when it comes to exercise, less is more. Combine this fact with the right nutrient intake and you’ll be well on your way to getting the body and health you desire… and much easier than you ever imagined.


Filed in: Dieting Myths & Mistakes

Comments (8)

  1. Tina

    Hi James,

    I walk to work every morning except on Fridays & weekends. I have arthritis in my knees and hands. And I have lower back pains. What can I do to help less the pains when exercising?

    • Nancy Eitler

      I’m really into natural remedies and try many of them myself. One that I have found that works like a miracle strait from heaven, and use myself daily for my osteoarthritis is: 1 cup hot water, 1 Tbsp honey and 1 tsp cinnamon. Some think you have to have special honey or cinnamon, but I get the same cinnamon I use for baking but we also get raw honey from a local producer (but this isn’t necessary either – just less expensive) – so no hard to get (expensive) items needed. I don’t recommend anything unless I know it works and this does. As long as I take it daily – I have no arthritis pain.

  2. Carrie Tracy

    I’m curious, I started this almost a week ago, and dropped five and a half pounds in the first three days, but now have stopped…is this normal? I walk about four miles three times a week, and an active around the house daily…I’m following the plan exactly but probably get more veggies than protein most days. Could that be stalling me?

    • Hi Carrie,

      The first two weeks of the program are the metabolic reset phase. It takes time for your metabolism to change in order for you to loose weight. Everyone loses weight at a different pace. As long as you are feeling better overall, sleeping better, and have more energy, the diet is working. You need to stick with it and you will look and feel better.

  3. Norma Caple

    I started diet a week ago and have lost 5 lbs but I don’t have any energy what can I do about this

  4. Deborah Zsebik

    Are sandwich thins a healthy replacement for bread? And are veggie chips and good replacement for chips?

    • Hi Deborah,

      Veggie chips are fine to have and you can replace regular bread with ezekiel bread. You can have it from time to time and not count it as a cheat meal.

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