Mistake #1: Adapting a too severe calorie deficit
If an energy deficit of 300 calories a day will get you lean, a 900 calorie deficit should slim you down three times as fast, right?
A severe calorie deficit will not lead to superior fat loss but actually hurts your progress for four reasons:
- It slows down your metabolism, which means you’ll burn fewer calories a day. This sets you up for regaining all the lost pounds once you go off the diet
- Severe dieting causes excessive muscle loss, which hampers metabolism
- Your cravings go haywire, which makes you more likely to cheat on your diet plan or even toss it out the window
- It wreaks havoc on your hormonal health. For example, it spikes the “stress hormone” cortisol, which stimulates muscle wasting and reduces fat burning
That’s why low-calorie diets are doomed to fail. While you may lose some weight during the first few days, you’ll regain the lost pounds once your willpower runs out. Plus, you’ll likely gain some weight on top of it.
Mistake #2: Thinking all calories are created equal
As mentioned, being in a calorie deficit is key to losing weight. But this doesn’t mean all calories are created equal!
You see, most of us strive to improve our appearance. And to do this, it’s not about weight loss but instead about fat loss.
To lose fat, it’s essential to consider which energy sources you use for your calories.
For example, if you don’t consume enough protein, much of the weight you’ll lose will be muscle tissue.
But, on the other hand, if you make sure you consume enough protein, you’ll maintain your muscle mass, and a significant share of your weight loss comes from actual body fat.
Besides, consuming the right foods is also essential for diet adherence. Simply put, certain foods are more satiating than others, and if you eat such filling foods, it’s easier to stay on track with your diet.
That’s why you want to have a diet with an optimized food selection – a selection based on your own personal situation and goals.