The 8 Biggest Diet Mistakes Women Make (and how to avoid them)
On August 2nd we are kicking off our 30-Day Jumpstart Program for Women!
Our program is specifically designed to help women jumpstart their fitness and feel their best this spring with our Women’s Group workouts and nutrition guidance.
30-days of commitment, support, and results!
We've combined our Coach-Led Workouts and our Nutrition Coaching into one program just for you!
Our mission is to provide the ultimate amount of guidance, support, and direction to help you jumpstart your health and fitness, build some momentum, and feel your BEST this summer!
One aspect of our 30-Day Jumpstart Program that I am most excited about (aside from our workouts) is the nutritional guidance.
When it comes to making real changes and working towards your goals, improving your nutrition is a must!
In fact, when it comes to weight-loss, changing your nutrition will have the biggest impact.
Where do you start?
Which information do you trust and how do you make it work even with a busy schedule?
These are very real questions and concerns.
Improving your nutrition is flat out confusing, especially with the amount of products, diets, and information so easily accessible.
Our goal with our 30-Day Jumpstart Program is to clear the confusion and start to build a great foundation of nutritional education (like how to build balanced meals, how to eat for fat-loss, the importance of proper hydration) to work from.
To get you started we have created a list of the 8 biggest nutrition mistakes and how to avoid them.
1| Not creating a successful environment
Your environment is a huge factor in whether you will have success and how much.
Whether you will stay on track with your nutrition goals and keep you from being derailed over and over.
Go through your kitchen and look closely at what foods you have in your refrigerator, cabinets, pantry and on your counters.
These are the options that we have surrounding us and at our disposal at any given time.
If your house is filled with unhealthy options than those are most likely the things that you will be grabbing to eat, packing lunches with and snacking on most of the time.
Nutrition Coach, John Berardi’s First Law states that “If a food is in your possession or located in your residence, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.”
In other words, if it's in your house, chances are you're going to eat it.
In order to get the results you want and to reach your nutrition goals, you have to surround yourself with good healthy foods and purge the stuff that’s holding you back. A major mistake we see is houses and pantries filled with easily accessible, high-calories foods and snacks.
Here's what to do instead:
Set your kitchen up for success by having the healthiest foods and snacks visible, accessible, and ready.
These are foods like cut up fruit & vegetables, lean protein sources, yogurt and beverages like water and tea.
Keep these foods out on the counter, first up in the pantry, and visible in the refrigerator.
This will dramatically increase the chances you cook with these foods and use them as your go-to healthy snacks each day.
Keep unhealthy foods at the grocery store, or make them harder to get to in back of the refrigerator or pantry.
2| Not tracking your food intake
To lose weight, you need to consistently be in what's known as a calorie deficit.
This means we need to consume less calories than we burn throughout the day. We burn calories in order to stay alive and keep our bodies functioning, and also burn them through physical activity.
Let's take a look at energy balance and how calories impact our weight:
Weight gain = calories in > calories burned (eating too much to lose weight)
Weight maintenance = calories in = calories burned (eating too much to lose weight)
Weight loss = calories in < calories burned (eating the right amount to lose weight)
One of the biggest mistakes we see is not spending dedicated time tracking your food intake. This simply means recording everything you eat and drink throughout the day on a food tracking app like My Fitness Pal. As you input the food you eat and the amount, the app counts the calories you're taking in each day.
If you've never tracked before you're eating in the dark. This means you're just guessing when it comes to your calorie intake.
And the research agrees. Studies have shown that we drastically underestimate the calories we take in each day by up to 1,000 calories per day.
Not knowing how many calories we're taking in each day can make it very hard to lose weight. Even if you eat healthy, you may very well be eating too much food each day to lose weight.
One study gave over 1,000 participants a heart healthy diet and exercise regimen. Over the course of the study participants lost an average of 13lbs.
Here's the kicker though: the participants who tracked what they ate lost an average of 18lbs where participants who did not track what they ate lost an average of 9lbs. That's a BIG difference in weight-loss achieved just by simply tracking their food.
So why is that? What happens when you track your food?
1) You start to eat less
Tracking can really open your eyes to the amount of food that you are not only eating but overeating.
When tracking, you're going to be less likely to eat that extra dessert or indulge in an additional spoonful of peanut butter. These once mindless additions to your day add up quick and can easily account for an additional 200-600 calories per day. This is bad news for losing fat.
2) You increase your consistency
When you track you will get a great idea of where your calories end up each day. This is key for fat-loss. If your calories end up where you want them to be one day, only to be too high the next day, it's going to be very hard to lose fat.
Tracking will allow you to be consistent throughout the week and allow you to continually work towards your goals and lose fat.
Stop guessing, start tracking.
Here's what to do instead:
Download a food tracking app and start to measure and track all the foods you eat each day. Once you've tracked for a week or so, work to hit your calorie goal each day.
3| Not Eating Enough Protein
When I talk to women about what they eat during the day, there is typically one very important food that is consumed much less than the rest.
That is protein.
Proteins are made up of molecules of amino acids, also known as the building blocks of life.
They make the building blocks of our muscle.
Proteins also help with various functions like the formation of new bone and muscle tissue and the production of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies plus many others! Think growth and repair!
Proteins are made up of essential amino acids (those that our body cannot make) that we need to consume through our diets and non-essential amino acids that our bodies can make.
Protein can be found in high quantities in animal products such as chicken, turkey, Greek yogurt, and fish, as well as some plant foods like beans, tofu, and quinoa. I also LOVE protein smoothies!
Checkout some great smoothie recipes below!
Consuming enough protein has been shown to help with:
Helping you feel more full after meals
Growing and repairing muscles
The speed of your metabolism
Once women start to eat enough protein they recover better from workouts, burn fat, and feel more satisfied after meals!
Here's what to do instead:
Include a protein source in every meal or snack. It should be the size of the palm of your hand.
4| Jumping from Fad Diet to Fad Diet
One of my favorite quotes is "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
This is a great way to describe dieting.
You see, dieting falls into 2 categories.
- They don't work at all
- They work for a while, and then they don't
Simply put, diets just don't work for lasting results.
A group of UCLA researchers analyzed 31 long-term diet studies. Participants on these various diets stayed on them for 2 to 5 years.
Some people lost weight in the beginning, but only 5-10% of their body-weight.
The result? The majority of people regained all of their weight, plus some.
The health benefits of dieting like decreasing blood pressure and disease risk? None.
In fact, researchers believe they would have been better off not dieting at all from the stress of losing weight and putting it back on. The yo-yo effect of dieting actually can increase our risk of disease.
So, why don't diets work?
First, they are unsustainable.
Those who go on diets sometimes see success early in the program.
The reason of this is restriction.
Low or no carbs -- restriction. Low fat -- restriction. Low calorie -- restriction.
These deficits in certain foods work for a short time mainly through a drastic drop in calories and we see weight loss.
But how do we feel?
Ask anyone on a diet how they feel and you'll hear words like:
It's only a matter of time before we lose our will power and give in to temptation.
Secondly, where is the support?
It's just you and the program. And that is a big problem.
Where do you turn for guidance and support?
Who is checking in with you, seeing how things are going, and making sure you are working toward your goals?
This is one of the major issues with diets. There is no help. There is no support system. It's you and you alone.
Instead, our goal is to help you build life-long, sustainable habits.
To arm you with nutritional education and simple, easy to implement tools.
Things like how to build a healthy breakfast to fuel for your day, how to plan your meals for the week, how to eat for more energy, and how to eat mindfully (not because you’re stressed or bored).
5| Putting Everyone Else First
A common theme we hear from our women members is their hesitation to do something, like joining a new fitness program for example, because they are not used to putting themselves first.
Plain and simple: whether it's a spouse, child, friend, parent or even a pet... women tend to put the needs of everyone else above their own.
This is one thing that makes women so amazing and it's not inherently a bad thing, however, when it starts infringing on your own health and wellbeing it becomes an issue.
The thing is, you deserve to be a priority. Number One. Top of the list.
And that does not make you selfish.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Putting yourself first to focus on your health and wellbeing will only make you a better spouse, mother, friend, caregiver, etc. in the long run.
This is why on planes they still advise passengers to put their own oxygen mask on first before helping others.
While you may initially think that seems backwards, it actually makes a lot of sense!
When you're not functioning properly, your capacity to help those around you will diminish, even if you have the best of intentions.
By always focusing on everyone else, your nutrition will suffer.
You revert to eating out a lot or grabbing the quickest food, or you don't eat at all.
We are going to cover how to plan ahead and navigate your nutrition even with the busiest of schedules with our 30-Day Jumpstart Program.
6| Ignoring Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
Improving what you eat around your workouts might be the most overlooked, yet most beneficial ways to improve your workouts and ultimately, your results.
I often ask our members what they ate before class or what they are going to eat after.
I unfortunately often get a response of, "nothing".
There seems to be a fear that eating before will make them sick and eating after or too late will make them gain weight.
Here's the truth though: eating properly before your workout will give you the energy needed to push harder, fatigue less quickly and help you lose fat and eating the right foods after your workout will help you recover from your training session and help build muscle.
Getting your nutrition around your workouts right will also help you:
Boost performance and delay fatigue
Burn more calories during your workout
Stay mentally focused and motivated
A big theme of our program will be how to eat properly before your workouts to help you feel energized, shred fat, build strength, and feel GREAT!
7| Weekend inconsistency
A big mistake we see is people eating really well throughout the week, only to blow it on the weekends.
Think of weight-loss success as the average of your calorie consumption for the week (Monday - Sunday). Say you eat the right foods, in the right amounts each day of the week, Monday - Thursday and your calories average 1,500 each day.
Then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday turns into a weekend binge of overeating with takeout, drinks, and desserts. Those 3 days take that 1,500 calorie average and lifts it to a point where you're averaging 1,800-2,000+ calories each day.
You just went from a calorie deficit (losing weight) to either calorie maintenance (maintaining weight) or a calorie surplus (gaining weight).
This weekend inconsistency makes fat-loss nearly impossible.
Here's what to do instead:
1) Stop trying to be so perfect during the week
One thing that will help you dramatically over the weekend is to stop trying to be so perfect over the week. This perfection causes us to feel deprived and by Friday we just want to let loose -- enter weekend binge.
Remember the 80/20 rule? This is a great concept to focus on during the week. 80% of the time crush your healthy eating and workouts. 20% of the time let yourself choose that side of fries or that slice of pizza then get right back on track.
2) Keep your normal weekday routine over the weekend
This is a game changer when it comes to improving your weekend consistency. Treat it like a weekday. The more we can keep our routine, the better. Aim to get to bed at your normal time, wake up at your normal time, get your normal walk or workout in, and stick to your normal home cooked meals.
3) Aim for progress each weekend
When it comes to improving, always chase progress, not perfection.
Start with small wins and changes like opting for a home cooked meal on Saturday night vs. takeout. Drink a bit more water than you normally would. Get 30+ minutes of movement. It all adds up and these behaviors start to become the weekend norm.
8| Drinking Calories
As we talked about earlier, to lose weight you need to be eating the right amount of calories.
One way to drastically increase your calorie intake, and slow down weight loss is by drinking your calories. These calories do little to nothing for our overall health and unlike food, keep us feeling hungry.
Additives like cream and sugar in your coffee, soda, fruit juices, and alcohol are loaded with extra calories.
In fact, the average American consumes an extra 400 calories per day just in beverages.
Now multiply that by seven days a week.... YIKES! That is not good for weight-loss and something you can easily avoid.
Here's what to do instead:
1) Start your day with water
Proper hydration starts first thing in the morning as we actually dehydrate when we sleep.. Once you wake up and use the restroom, the first thing I want you to do is consume 8-16oz of water. Do this before anything. This will begin your hydration and set the tone for a great day!
2) Have water with you at all times
Wherever you go, have your water with you. This will keep your hydration top of mind and allow you to continue drinking and hydrating throughout the day. This will make it much easier to reach your water habit goal.
3) Track it
The best way to ensure you're meeting your water habit goal of at least 64oz per day is to keep track of it.
Here's a few ways to track it:
- Use a refillable bottle with an oz measurement
- Use a piece of paper to check off every time you drink 8-16oz
- Place rubber bands on your water bottle. Each rubber band will represent how many bottles it will take to reach 64oz. Each time you drink a bottle, remove a rubber band.