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

April 23, 2013 | By | 55 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 (55)

  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.

      • Julie

        I too have arthritis in knees and hands and back! I have read all different recipe’s for “drinks”. Although all are different with additional indgredients, they do all have honey and cinnamon in common, but my question IS:
        do you have to drink it first thing in the morning? or 1/2 hour before a meal? or does it matter when you drink it?

        Thank You

  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.

  5. Charles Burk

    Hi James……whats your opinion about eating roasted and lightly salted pumpkin seeds….not the store bought ones, but right from the pumpkin to the oven. I love pumpkin seeds cooked like that, but I think they are high in carbs. what do you think????

  6. Djinn Ruffner

    I I could not complete my order for the cruise control package and still get my bill split in half. how can I do this? I can’t afford the $100 for pmt in full. I want to split into the 2 payment plan. Especially interested in the restaurant guide book. Pleas help! Thanks!

  7. Charles Burk

    Hi James……I have my wife on this program now, and she loves it!! She is asking about popcorn, though…….she loves the Pop Secret 100 calorie Homestyle brand. Whats your opinion on popcorn as part of the CCD?? Thanks!!

  8. Charles Burk

    One more question James…..In your book, in different chapters, you suggest using Slimbiotine and IC-5. I’ve purchased both of these items. Because both of those products are, at least partially, intended to control blood sugar levels, do you recommend using both at the same time, or should I not be using both at the same time. Please let me know. Thanks!!

  9. Kea

    I am just starting the first phase and I wonder if I can use butter and olive oil when preparing my meals. I have read the book and I don’t see anything about that.

  10. Grace Ann

    My computer is down and I am using my phone but can’t seem to read anything to get started in diet other than articles. Is there a way I can follow diet from smartphone or can I use tablet? Anxious to get started and haven’t been able to for few days now. Thank you.

  11. barbara maroszek

    I thought I ordered the cruise control diet Feb.26,2017 did it go through? please e-mail me it was 39.99 plus 10.00 for shipping

  12. Julie Porter

    Just finished reading. Thank you.

  13. Jennifer Fincher

    I’ve list about 5-6 pounds my first week, now on my second week and seem to be gaining slowly again. What’s up? I’m still following the diet.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Congrats on your initial weight loss. 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.

  14. Stephanie Stevens

    Can I eat Adkins meal bars on your diet

    • Nik Takano

      Hi Stephanie,

      We recommend eating breakfast, or any meals, and not to use meal substitution products. The Atkins Meal Bars do have added sugar and this can sabotage your weight loss goals.

  15. I’m on day 7. Lost 7 lbs! Have been having 1 tsp. sugar in tea every morning. Is this ok?

    • Nik Takano

      Hi Ellen,

      That’s fine to have. Also, Stevia is the best type of sweetener to use. It’s natural so it doesn’t come with the potential side effects of artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and Nutrasweet.Congratulations on your weight loss. Keep it up!

  16. colleen ann murphy

    Hi ccd, I’m on my 7th day and have not lost one pound.Iam diabetic so I thought this would be a good diet for me. Ifeel fine and am firming up with my exercise routine. Still have serious belly fat. Please advise. Thanks, Colleen

  17. Hi,
    Can I have a cheat meal then a second one the next day?


    • Nik Takano

      Hi Mary Ann,

      Cheat meals are one sitting or one occasion of eating and drinking. For example, if you have a pizza and you drink a soda with it and then have ice cream, that is all considered one cheat meal. If you have a good meal and finish that with an ice cream, that is also counted as one cheat meal. If you have a mid afternoon chocolate, that is also considered one cheat meal.

      What cheat meals are not is cheat days and cheat weekends. The idea is that if you eat well 21 meals a week you have something that is not good for your health but you enjoy it 1-2 times a week, in the grand picture, it will not have an significant impact on your progress but it will allow you to feel not so restricted.

  18. Hi,
    Is sugar free hard candy allowed on this diet?

    Mary Ann

  19. Hello,
    When do I get the link to the digital copy of the book?

  20. Just a quick question before I purchase the book. I have had my thyroid removed several years ago and am over 50 with hypothyroidism, will I have a harder time loosing weight on this program?

    • Hi Kim,

      The Cruise Control Diet is a whole-foods approach to weight loss and overall health. It’s a simple, yet highly effective program with 4 general rules:

      1. Eat natural foods that help your body to burn fat.

      2. Avoid processed, packaged, and other foods that cause your body to store fat.

      3. Treat yourself to some “guilty pleasures” (e.g. chocolate, cookies, candy) from time to time so you don’t feel restricted.

      4. Most importantly, don’t count calories, calculate points, keep food journals, or attempt “artificial” portion controls. Instead, let your body’s natural hunger instinct guide how much (and when) you should eat.

      While the first 3 rules are common to any sensible weight reduction plan, the fourth one is what sets the Cruise Control Diet apart from other programs. It’s also the secret behind its success.

      If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that losing the weight is the “easy” part. Keeping it off is the actual challenge. And the reason for that is simple: most plans burden you with too many rules and restrictions. Naturally, you can’t stick with them long-term (and eventually gain back every pound lost).

      However, when you’re relying on your body’s natural instinct for weight control – rather than forced willpower – dropping the pounds becomes practically effortless. This allows you to stay on the program for life, so once the weight comes off, it’s gone for good.

      It may take you a little longer to lose the weight but you will lose it eventually.

      We currently offer the program or $39.99 + shipping and handling. The S&H is $9.99 for US and Canada and $14.99 for international.

      You can place your order by using the following link:

      When you place your order, you will have the option of customizing it with some additional packages at a deep discount.

      Thanks again for your interest in the program and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns. We are here to assist..

  21. Carmen Flores

    I have only received the digital version and I don’t see the diet. I just see articles. Where do I go to get the diet?

    Carmen Flower

    • Hi Carmen,

      I have sent you all the information regarding your order and log in details to your email. Please check your email.

      Wishing you a great start with the program!

  22. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is great, let
    alone the content!

  23. Have been reading this comments-what the hey- are we getting thid stuff in the mail or not? Sounds like a bunch of shifting around to me.- no complications please.

    • Hi Terry,

      Thank you for your interest in the Cruise Control Diet. We did receive your order and the package will be shipped today. You will receive an email late tonight with your shipping information.

      Wishing you a great start!

  24. Eileen Bennett

    i ditched my Splenda, even before I officially started the diet. I ate protein for breakfast (2 hard boiled eggs ) and did put a LITTLE sugar in my coffee. I just can’t drink it black. I ate some protein and vegetable for lunch and dinner. I Ate some fruit, mostly berries, as suggested, to calm my sweet tooth. I did eat dairy. I believe that choice was left up to me? I took the Slimbiotine twice a day as directed. i did not overeat. I did not eat carbs. at all.
    however, as far as exercise is concerned, i have a stenosis in my spine at L3, L4 level which causes pain in my legs, mostly at knee level. It is difficult for me to walk, much less exercise, for this reason. I also have pain in my spine.

    • Hi Eileen,

      Stevia is the best type of sweetener to use. It’s natural so it doesn’t come with the potential side effects of artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and Nutrasweet.

      Dairy is a grey area. Many people are affected by it while others eat it and still get results.

      You just have to try it out for yourself. If you eat dairy products and are still seeing results, no need to cut it out. If you don’t get the results you are looking for, cut out the dairy for a few weeks and see if that was affecting you.

      You do not have to exercise on the program to succeed.

      Wishing you a great start!

  25. I ordered the cruise control diet. My husband is even going to do it with me.

    What I wanted to know is can I get on your web sight because I have already got my books.

    • Karen Apuan

      Hi Barbara and thank you for your recent purchase.

      Yes, you can definitely access our member’s area from our website. I will be sending you a separate email for your username and password for you to be able to access it. Please expect the email within the day.

      Have a great day!

  26. Linzy Agnew

    Is it okay to use trivia?

    • Nadia Karanastasis

      Hi Linzy,

      Stevia is the best type of sweetener to use. It’s natural so it doesn’t come with the potential side effects of artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and Nutrasweet.

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