7 Common Diet Mistakes with Coach Mitch
Today we kick off an all NEW weekly feature for the New Year. Our member spotlight has been incredibly popular for the past 18 months or so, but it’s time to change it up as we collect more profiles on all of you.
For 2019, each Wednesday we’ll be featuring a guest blog from a different coach. This will provide a great opportunity to learn about new and interesting subjects, while also creating a forum for your favorite coaches to share their unique voice and perspective.
We hope you’ll enjoy it, and we’re kicking things off appropriately with Coach Mitch who just launched our new CFHV Macros Program! Here he is now:
Around the gym and around town everyone you run into seems to want to be on some sort of nutrition plan or diet- and there are so many different options out there to choose from.
It can be pretty difficult to set up your own plan, especially when the different options seem to be contradictory. The reality is, any nutrition plan can work when it’s applied correctly.
The basics are to sustain a caloric deficit and adhere to whatever plan you’ve chosen. Some common mistakes can lead to the opposite of the desired outcome- so educate yourself on these common problems people run into.
- Being Too Aggressive from the Start
The most common mistake people make when first starting is jumping in too aggressively. With the understanding that fat loss comes from a caloric deficit, there is this idea that a deeper caloric deficit will yield better or faster results. However, too big of a deficit will have unpleasant or unsafe results. When you’re eating too few calories, you’ll deal with irritability, hunger, brain fog, fatigue and likely an inability to perform in the gym. This is incredibly hard to maintain and leads to pretty poor adherence. Furthermore, you can temporarily or permanently damage your metabolism and rapidly gain back any lost weight when you bring your calories back up.
- Failing to Plan, Planning to Fail
Having a working game plan will lead to success. When you plan your grocery trips, food, cooking, and meals ahead of time it makes eating healthy much easier. Think back to a time that you were on lunch break at work searching for an appropriate meal to eat quickly or a time you ran out of your favorite foods at home and were “forced” to order take out. Meal/Food prep will keep you stocked with easy home cooked foods that are ready to grab and go. Looking at menus at restaurants ahead of time will reduce the stress of eating out. These little bits of planning will keep your healthy habits going strong.
- Too Much Restriction
People seem to think dieting and deprivation go hand in hand. Certainly, you will need to limit the consumption of your favorite treats while on a nutrition plan, but too much restriction can lead to an unnecessarily hard time. Allowing some indulgences from time to time may make it easier to adhere overall. Generally fitting your fun foods into your week will help prevent the tendency to binge eat and have “cheat days” which can derail your progress. In fact, binge eating may have a detrimental effect on your mental health. Enjoy your treats in moderation and make them fit into your overall plan.
- Too Much Exercise
Similarly to dieting too aggressively, exercising too much can have detrimental and unintended results. You may lose weight quickly while exercising a ton and on a caloric deficit, but when weight loss ultimately stalls you usually have two choices- less calories or more activity. However, if you’re already exercising a lot you can only drop your calories more. Eventually you’ll run out of real estate and be stuck, hungry, and sore. Too much exercise in an already depleted state isn’t healthy- the stress and trauma from training won’t ever fully repair while on a calorie deficit. Lack of recovery leads to a compromised immune system and often injury.
- The Expectation of Linear Results
It seems like if you’re in a consistent calorie deficit your fat/weight loss will be consistent too, right? It’s just not the case. Some weeks you’ll lose a bunch of weight while other weeks, no fault of your own, you’ll gain a little weight. This fluctuation can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety which in turn leads to low adherence and weight gain. The body is extremely complicated—sometimes you’re losing fat though the scale and measurements don’t move. Water intake, glycogen storage, sodium intake, and hormonal balance all cause drastic swings in metrics and the worst thing you can do is be overly reactive and immediately change your food. Ultimately this will just cause more stress and further poor adherence resulting in unwanted adaptations over time. Make changes only after a consistent reading has been seen for a week or more.
- Putting Too Much Weight on the Scale
Speaking of fluctuations, another common mistake people make is (understandably) putting way too much focus on the scale and overall body weight. While it seems like and objective and good measure of overall success, as stated previously, the body doesn’t lose weight in a linear fashion. Some people find that their bodies look much better after consistent work without losing any weight at all. This is especially true for beginner and intermediate athletes who lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Look for changes in the mirror or in how your clothes fit and recognize where you are making progress as opposed to where you aren’t.
- No Way Out
Imagine your dismay after a months long diet, reaching your target weight or body fat percentage only to put it all back on in a matter of weeks. This is exceedingly common though completely avoidable. What happens for most people is that they have no exit strategy for when they are done dieting or when they reach their goals. What happens is people just stop and often give in to all their cravings that they have been denying. For lasting success with nutrition, you have to transition out safely from fat loss to weight maintenance- and the most effective way to do that is a reverse diet. This helps build your metabolism back so that your calorie intake is more realistic and maintainable.
In short, losing fat means pulling back your calorie intake. It can be that simple, but it rarely is. You will need to be restrictive at times and usually will need to increase your activity to reach your goals. Your strategies will make or break your success.
Being overly aggressive or restrictive results in poor adherence and a poor outcome. Being to reactive to results or lack of results can unravel your progress. Sure, dieting can be unpleasant but eating smarter makes life easier and you can enjoy your results.
Are you ready to jump in head first but have no idea how to start? Or are you tired of the way you’ve been managing your nutrition and need a fresh outlook? Email your resident CrossFit High Voltage Nutritionist at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a casual conversation to see if we can help you get on track and onto your goals!