10 BIGGEST Diet Mistakes

June 11, 2012

Dieting is not JUST about eating right and exercising. It’s not JUST about running as long as you can or eating the least amount of calories. It’s about eating enough, setting goals, telling people and being confident. These are my 10 biggest diet mistakes from my experience with people who have succeeded and FAILED at losing weight.

1.       Not eating enough.
When switching to a healthier lifestyle you will eat better foods. When you eat better foods, your calories intake will naturally drop.  3 apples adds up to 1 bag of skittles. The former has a lot of fiber, water and nutrients. Skittles, on the other hand, are what many call ‘empty’ calories. They don’t ‘fill’ you, they don’t provide you with any true nutrition. Also, if you don’t eat enough calories, your metabolism will slow down because your body will go into ‘survival mode.’ Your body won’t know when you will feed it next!!

When I put my mother on a weight loss program years ago, she was SHOCKED how much she ate. She ate every 2-3 hours. She ate nutrition-rich, fibrous, whole foods and it made her full. Most overweight people are not used to eating constantly throughout the day. Most would say ‘they hardly eat at all.’ If I had a nickel for every time an overweight person told me they hardly eat I’d be rich! The truth is, they probably DO feel they ‘hardly’ eat because they eat a ton once or twice a day.

2.       Not eating enough (Part II)

It amazes me how people go from eating 2500+ calories a day to a measly 800 calories. I get that you’re motivated – I get that you want to see results. BUT, in the long haul this is no good. Besides your metabolism slowing down, you have to also consider what happens when you plateau. Are you going to eat 500 calories? Are you going to suck on ice all day!?!! That’s the problem with DIETING – it doesn’t work. It’s not realistic. You HAVE to eat. You need room to progress.

If you’ve been eating like crap for a long time, eliminating 500 calories a day from your diet is still going to make you lose weight. For most people, I tell them to start consuming half of everything they eat. After a month passes (and they lose weight), I will give them more tips…like maybe cutting off some carbohydrates at night or limiting their snacks or switching from simple to complex carbohydrates. There’s so much you can play with IF you are eating something.

3.       Not setting short term goals

If you are not setting short term goals, you’re not setting realistic goals. REALISTIC goals are things you can focus on….things you can touch, taste, and feel because you are ALMOST there. I’m talking about losing 2-4 pounds in one week. I’m talking about running an extra mile by the end of this week. I’m talking about eating clean for an entire day. These are short term goals…goals that you can achieve quickly and feel accomplished by them.

Remember – a big goal is only achieved because of many smaller goals.

4.       Not being Specific about goals

I get it. You want to lose weight and eat better. That’s what I hear when I ask people to write down their goals. (If you haven’t written down your goals, WRITE THEM DOWN) But what you need to do, is make your goals personal to yourself. Do you want to fit into your old college jeans? Do you want to feel confident in a dress? Do you want to get your blood pressure down to a specific number? Do you want to run in a specific race? You need to specific. NOT just eat right and exercise. You need to be attached to your goals.

5.       Not strength training

SO many people will perform Zumba, go to kickboxing, or get on an elliptical or treadmill for an hour. Cardiovascular exercise is awesome but STRENGTH training will take your body to a different level! Not only will trying to get more muscle burn more fat, but HAVING hard earned muscle will increase your metabolism therefore burning more fat.

People will always comment that they want to ‘tone’ their arms or not have flabby legs. Well – if you lose weight by diet and just cardio exercise you will still have flabby arms and legs. You will be ‘skinny fat’. If you want to be ‘skinny fit’ then you need to incorporate weight training.

6.       Not seeking help

Believe it or not, I have MANY people in my life (probably some of you reading) who never ask me for fitness advice. They know I’ve been in this field for nearly 15 years but they don’t ask me to help them with anything. Many people think they ‘know’ what to do – most of the time, these are the same people who are ‘yo yo’ dieters and never succeed long-term on a fitness plan. If you want to go somewhere you’ve never been, seek the advice of the people who are there. I STILL do it. I call on my fitness friends all the time for help, advice or motivation.

7.      Not listening

IF people DO ask, often times, they don’t listen. I’ve had people ask me – but they don’t listen. If I tell them to start writing down what they eat, they don’t listen. If I tell them to send me their diet, they don’t listen. (1 out 5 times does someone actually send me their diet) If I tell them to eat more – they don’t listen. IF I tell them to incorporate more protein, they don’t listen. Do you get my gist?
Why don’t people listen? Because it’s easier to do what they are used to doing. Change is hard and it requires faith to believe that what the other person is saying might be helpful. There may be a chance they may not respect the other person’s view – but most of the time, it’s because they aren’t humble enough to realize that what they are doing is wrong.

8.       Not telling anyone

Accountability means telling someone about your goals. I tell my husband that I’m going to workout in the morning so that when he wakes up he asks, “why are you still here?” LOL. Seriously. I tell people I’m preparing for an upcoming event or shoot so that people look at me weird when I’m eating a buttery piece of bread in front of them. Sometimes I will workout with a girlfriend who expects to meet me at the gym. Sometimes I don’t blog for over a week and readers wonder where I’m at.

I know many of you want to DO this by yourself – and ‘surprise’ people of your weight loss. Many of you don’t want to tell anyone in fear that you will fail. What telling people does is create an environment of NO failure. This a very big MENTAL aspect to weight loss. Sometimes fear of failing in front of other people is more motivating than just being accountable to yourself. At the same time, sometimes having more people around you…supporting you and doing this with you…is better than doing it by yourself

9.       Not having an End Date.

You need something to look forward to. This ‘deprivation’ can’t last forever. This doesn’t mean that you will go back to your old habits, it just means you will reach your goal weight or fitness level and be able to ‘maintain’ instead of constantly having to lose weight. For people who have to lose 50+ pounds, the end date might be in a year’s time. For others it may end in just 12-16 weeks. Whatever your end date is, make sure you make one. It’s always shocking to people when I pull out a calendar and choose a date 12-16 weeks from now when they will be at their goal weight. They always say, “Really?” …YES! REALLY. And if you maintain your 2lbs/week loss, that means you will be 24 pounds lighter in three months, 32 pounds lighter in four months and 40 pounds lighter in five months~! !! Wow, it’s crazy to look at weight loss in such a reachable way!!

And by the way – it’s always nice to include an event or reward on that end date. It could be to wear a really nice outfit (that you couldn’t wear when you were larger) to a nice place. It could be walking into your birthday party surprising everyone! Whatever it is, make the reward worth it.

10.   Not having Confidence.

You can call it what you want…call it confidence, hope, optimism…whatever! You need to have ‘whatever’ it is that makes you feel like you CAN do it. You CAN go to a party and not eat unhealthy foods. You CAN run an entire mile without stopping. You CAN eat clean for a full day. You CAN give up rice, soda, Starbucks…..YOU CAN! And when you start believing in what you can do, you will eventually see that yes, you CAN get to your fitness goal. You have to believe it – once you believe you can achieve.

Believe it. Know it. Live it. Become it.

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  • Reply Johanna October 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Hi! How do I go about getting personal fitness advise from you? Do you charge for online training/coaching?

    • Reply Maria Kang November 1, 2012 at 5:59 am

      I’m not an online personal trainer (or otherwise) but I would be happy to help you with any questions you have regarding fitness. You can also join my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mariamkang for fitness tips.

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