There are a lot of mistakes that beginners make when it comes to losing weight, getting fitter, and honestly, just creating an awesome life.
How many of these five do you see yourself making?
At one point, I made all of them.
Mistake #1: Sorry – Doing More Does Not Make You Get There Faster
The very first thing is the thinking that doing more inevitably gets you to your result faster. I got an email from a guy recently that said that he’d been working out two hours a day, and despite that, was not getting the results that he wanted.
Unfortunately, this is very common in the fitness and the diet industry. We assume that with working out more, we’ll burn more calories and therefore lose more weight.
In some ways, that may be true. But the problem is that working out more (e.g. double) affects every aspect of your life.
It makes you want to eat more, it makes you more tired, it burns you out more, it makes you require more sleep, and it takes a lot more time.
The same thing could be said for eating less. Theoretically, if eating 100 calories less a day helps you lose weight, why wouldn’t you just eat 300 or 500 less? Why not 1,000 less?
There’s a limit to how little you can eat, and it has an enormous impact on your mood and energy during the day.
Mistake #2: Counting the Wrong Kind of Calories
The second beginner mistake is underestimating how many calories (particularly bad calories) are in liquid drinks. Here’s a scenario: Many people drink coffee in the morning, right? And then by lunch time and mid-afternoon, some will have a can or two of soda.
If you add milk and sugar in your morning coffee, you’re getting an extra 200 calories that you would not have been there if you opted for black coffee or tea instead.
And let’s not forget the after-office drinks. When you’re stressed with work, sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is heading straight to the bar after work for some drinks. That right there can be about 400 to 600 calories of essentially just sugar. Not a great option if you’re trying to lose weight and want to be fit.
Sometimes it’s easy to track only what we eat, but in many of us, what we drink is much more indicative of weight gain.
Mistake #3: Stop Screwing up A Basic Habit
The third mistake is changing too many habits at once. The New Year is the funniest time of the year because it’s the time when people make their resolutions.
Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better. But it’s how we position our resolutions that makes a difference.
Oftentimes, I hear people say they’re going to work out two hours each day, cook their own meals, eliminate sugar, carbs, or wheat from their diet—basically removing everything that they love in their life.
And the sad thing is that they expect this method to work. They expect these newly established habits to continue for months and years.
In reality, that just doesn’t happen. When I’m working with a client, the first thing I help them do is figure out what are the smallest habits that they can do the most consistently over months and over years.
It may not sound as dramatic as changing your habits overnight (which never happens, anyway), but it’s more reasonable and more doable. Small things add up, and if you’re consistent, you’re going to see major changes over the next couple of months.
Ultimately, the million dollar question is simple:
How can you enjoy your life, and enjoy the food you want, while also doing what you need?
Are your habits realistic enough that you can do them for the next thirty years?
And are they few enough, that you have a crystal clear focus for what to do each day?
Mistake #4: Not Reframing Food
Mistake number four is thinking that losing weight is all about counting calories and not food composition.
This is really common in the macros kind of movement wherein you simply eat more or less, depending on your weight goal. This method assumes that all food has the same nutrition—that the same micro nutrients and effects on your body are the same.
Surprise, surprise, 200 calories of broccoli and 200 calories of Oreos do not do the same thing to your body. They don’t.
They may calorically function similarly, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes there. Don’t be stupid thinking you can just binge on sugar if you are trying to “gain healthy weight” or only eat rice cakes if you are trying to lose “healthy weight.”
It’s surprising how much we can throw logic out the window when it comes time to change how we look.
Mistake #5: Diets Don’t = Habits (and Focus on Habits)
Mistake number five is thinking too much in terms of diets and not habits. For me, this was one of the biggest revelations in my life that I shared in my book.
When you think of a diet (like the grapefruit diet, alien plankton diet, or whatever weird diet we want to be on), most of the time we’re grasping in the dark. We don’t really know what we have to do on a daily basis to transform our body and also our life.
If you go through a diet and you figure out what your new habits are for the day, you’re going to have a very crystal clear roadmap of what you need to do to lose weight and feel awesome.
Instead of looking for more magical information, consuming all these resources, and watching all these videos, try to pick only a few things and turn them into habits for tomorrow and start on the habits right away.
The Bottom Line: Simple Mistakes = Lost Time
If you need to lose weight and keep off the excess pounds for good, you need to create a new mindset in relation to fitness:
One, don’t think that more gym time is going equal more results.
Two, don’t underestimate how many calories are actually in liquid drinks.
Three, stop going over the top or changing your habits drastically.
Four, take your mind off counting calories (and count the right thing).
And five, focus on daily habits instead of diets and workout plans.
Let me know: What’s been a beginner mistake you’ve made on your path to losing weight and getting fitter? Leave a comment below.