In the first article of this Fat Loss Nutrition Series, we looked at four ‘rules’ that are necessary for any fat loss diet. There are so many ways that you can eat for fat loss but there are a few ‘non negotiables’ that cannot be overlooked, such as eating fewer calories than your body requires, eating more vegetables, eating enough protein and drinking enough water.
There are some common mistakes though, that people will often make in their pursuit to lose body fat. This will result in one of two things: 1). Losing little or no body fat, or 2). Losing body fat too quickly and then consequently, putting most of it back on. Neither of these scenarios are ideal, so let’s take a look at the most common reasons why a fat loss diet won’t work.
- Being too restrictive with your diet
This is top of this list for good reason; so many people fall into this trap and many programs still promote highly restricted diets for fat loss. And they do ‘work’ initially, however the issue here is that they are so hard to maintain. The number one aim of any fat loss diet is that you want it to be sustainable, right? Because it takes a good amount of time to lose body fat, especially if you have been gaining weight for a long time, or if you are already relatively lean. A diet with a moderate energy restriction, that is easier to implement and follow in the long term is going to be far more effective than one you can only sustain for a few weeks because you are HUNGRY!
- Being inconsistent with nutrition and exercise
Consistency is probably the most important factor when it comes to fat loss and yet it is often the thing that people find so difficult. An imperfect diet and exercise regime, that you can be consistent with (as in, for years!) is far superior to a perfect diet and exercise plan, that you can’t maintain week in and week out. Again the key here is sustainability… because fat loss takes time… there are no short cuts… sorry for the bad news!
- Having unrealistic expectations for your body
This one is not so much about a diet not working, but more about setting unrealistic goals in unrealistic time frames. Your fat loss diet may be working perfectly well (providing a slow and sustainable loss), however, due to your unrealistic goals, may appear not to be effective (enough). For many people, any loss is fantastic progress, and as long as your body keeps responding to the plan, there is no need to change it up. Keep going, be consistent and only modify as required.
There is great concept called the ‘minimal effective dose’ which is perfect when used to explain the best way to lose body fat. Do as little as possible, make small changes that aren’t too difficult, to get the results you want. You will need to adapt and change as you progress along your journey, but it will not only help to make it more enjoyable, but it will ensure that you achieve your end goal in a healthy yet effective way.