My 5 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes

I eff up. Kinda often. I’m totally not perfect. Most of my days don’t go according to plan. In fact, the other day I walked into the grocery store giving myself the mental pep talk “I will not buy any nuts” and walked out of the grocery store with a bag of macadamia nuts. Oh but it gets worse. I was that woman. I opened the bag while still in the store and started eating them while I shopped. Eh, nobody’s perfect.

There is, however, a big difference between my screw ups now and my screw ups when I was over 300 pounds. A few years ago, eating something I didn’t intend to eat would trigger the mindset of “The day is totally shot. I might as well eat ice cream and Doritos and attempt perfection tomorrow”. Seriously guys, I did that allllllll the time. I’ve heard it compared to getting a flat tire so you go ahead and slash the other 3. Yeah, nobody would do that – but when it came to food, one little slip up would convince me to totally go off the rails. That perfect day would never happen and so I’d be perpetually stuck in an overeating cycle. No bueno. That, my friends, is how you get to 300+ lbs.

Back to the macadamia nut story….when I got to my car I kinda laughed at myself for not only buying the very thing I said I wouldn’t but for being so desperate that I started chowing down while I was still in the freaking store! I wasn’t even enjoying them. How can you enjoy anything while pushing a cart and avoiding frustrating people who block the aisle for what seems like an eternity (though is probably less than 20 seconds)? So I fed the birds. Yup. Opened up my car door and dumped the macadamias on the ground. No litter. I don’t litter. Relax.

So I don’t count that as a failure or a big mistake, but I share that only to tell you that we all have off moments. I have, however, made a few major missteps along the way and I wanted to share them with you in case somebody can learn from my speedbumps.

No matter what your journey is, you’re going to make mistakes. No matter how long you’re pursuing a goal, you’ll screw up a few times. What is NOT guaranteed, however, is that you’ll choose to learn from those mistakes. In my opinion, true success comes when we embrace our failures, when we study them and when we use them as tools to help us moving forward. I have no doubt that I’ve made thousands of mistakes. I probably make mistakes on most days! I am in search of them. I journal about them. I try to understand why they happened, how I can avoid them moving forward, and what lessons I can learn from them to make myself even stronger.

Here they are, my 5 biggest weight loss mistakes:

  1. Exercising too much
    I went through a period of time along my journey when I was hitting the gym every single day with SERIOUS intensity. I was working out intensely at the gym for 60-90 minutes and then later in the day I’d run for another hour or more. Yes, I was losing weight but two other things were also happening: I was hungry as hell & I was not allowing my body to recover. I ended up developing severe tendonitis in both of my knees. Some days were so bad that I honestly had trouble walking up the stairs at my house and would go up backwards on my butt (but I STILL would go to the gym AND run). Moron. Plus, that level of activity triggered such intense hunger that there is no question I was eating more. After multiple doctors and friends told me I needed to back off or risk permanent damage to my knees I actually found that I still lost weight at the same pace because I wasn’t eating as much! More is not always more, my friends.
  2. Eating too much protein
    I get a little irritated when I see fitness/health professionals telling their clients that as long as they eat lean protein and veggies they can eat as much as they like. Don’t tell that to a seriously overweight person. We can throw down, k? I was eating 2 or more servings of protein at each meal and having a couple of protein shakes. I was hungry!! One reason I was so hungry was that I was working out too much, but I was also eating protein at the expense of fat. When I started swapping fat for protein I found that my hunger totally disappeared and I didn’t need to eat as much. I still load up on non-starchy veggies like Brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage & cauliflower but I don’t exceed 1 serving of protein per meal and I always incorporate fat. Excess ANYTHING is a problem – even if its protein. Your body CAN use protein to generate glucose (sugar) and it CAN be stored as fat. Watch out. {Sign you’re eating too much protein? When you drink your protein shakes out of a massive flower vase…ummm…yeah, this happened. More than once}
    2014-07-14 13.00.01
  3. Snacking
    If you are hungry in between meals that is a sign that you’re not fueling your body optimally. I know we have been told to eat every few hours but your body was not designed that way. Do you think our Paleolithic ancestors had the opportunity to stop and much every couple hours? No way. Our bodies are far more efficient than that. Two things happen when you are CONSTANTLY grazing and snacking: you train your body to look for food every couple hours (a la hunger & cravings) and you prevent your body from ever seeking fuel beyond what you provide it. You know how you burn fat? When your body goes in search of fuel when you’re not eating. That’s when its able to tap into your body fat and torch that stuff for energy. Not when there is always a steady supply of carbs/fat/protein coming in through your MOUTH. Remember that your body is constantly communicating with you. If you’re hungry all the time that is a signal that you aren’t choose the best foods at meal time. Try increasing the amount of fiber and dietary fat. See how that feels. If you need a little more, try bumping up your protein. If you want to know more about this check out the blog post I wrote about certain foods that trigger hunger and cravings alllllll the damn time.
  4. Not being consistently accountable
    If I’m not constantly staying accountable, chances are I’ll start to make little concessions here and there. Overall, it’ll look like I’m doing well and staying on track but every day there are one or two little slips I make. These slips DO ADD UP. And if you aren’t paying attention, you’ve packed back on the weight you’ve lost in no time. I went a couple of months like this. I wasn’t wearing fitted clothes so I couldn’t sense that those “skinny” jeans were getting snug. I wasn’t checking my weight. I wasn’t taking my measurements. When I switched to a new gym and new trainer I was shocked to find that I had put some weight on. I was pissed. I was shocked. But honestly, it was no one’s fault but my own because I wasn’t maintaining accountability. This has to be a DAILY practice. Here’s what I do now for accountability: I write down my food EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. If I bite it, I write it. No exceptions. Even if its two peanuts from the little can my husband keeps in the pantry. My strength coach checks my weight EVERY.SINGLE.MONDAY. I hate that part but I know its important to me. I have a pair of pants that are too small and I put them on AT LEAST ONCE EACH WEEK. Even if I know I won’t like the results, I force myself to face reality. Turning away while we make bad decisions is the most dangerous thing we can do. PAY ATTENTION. Be accountable.
  5. Not eating enough fat
    It was probably 18 months into my fat loss journey before I learned how important dietary fat is in my diet. I was really focused on protein and non-starchy vegetables but like I said earlier: I was hungry all the time. I was eating like a trucker. I didn’t understand why I was so famished AND I was spending a ton of money on groceries (because I was eating so much). When I started adding more dietary fat I instantly noticed a change. I had more energy, I was more focused, I had more endurance in my workouts, I was sleeping better and I was waaaaay less hungry. I no longer had to eat double servings of protein and snack throughout the day. It was the single greatest shift I’ve noticed of all the changes I’ve made. Now, I incorporate fats like MCT oil, coconut oil, avocado and ghee into every.single.meal without exception.

Own your mistakes. Embrace them as incredible opportunities to learn and improve. Study them. Ask other people. Write about them. Try new things and see if they work better. If they don’t, that’s not something to be frustrated by, its something to celebrate because you now know more than you did before! Always be learning. Always be assessing. It’s the most powerful tool you have.


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4 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    Heyyy great post!

    I think the whole under-eating/over exercising thing was big for me when I was trying to eat conventionally healthy ultra lean sort of meals. I was absolutely exhausted all the time! There was no way my body was gonna give up any fat!

    Reply

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