Trying to get lean but nothing seems to be working? Avoid these common mistakes to start seeing fat loss progress now.
YOU'RE EATING A LOT LESS AND MOVING A LOT MORE
Contrary to what we’re told from nearly every medium, eating less and moving more only makes you tired, cranky, hungry, and frustrated. And if done for too long, “eating less and moving more”, will slow down your metabolism. Eating enough to support building lean muscle, and of course to energize you throughout your busy day – is the only way to achieve that strong physique you’re looking for. And, building more lean muscle is one of the most important aspects of fat loss because more muscle on your frame = a higher metabolism!
Think about it – what would happen if you tried to demand more miles from your car’s gas tank that was already almost empty? You wouldn’t be able to get very far and eventually you’d stall on the side of the road. The same thing happens when we demand more from our bodies without providing the proper fuel to make it happen.
You're Avoiding fat
Unfortunately, one common mistake women make when they’re trying to lose weight or lose fat is that they cut calories and start opting for low-fat or fat-free options. This might feel counterproductive when you’re trying to get lean (i.e. “if I just avoid fat, I won’t gain fat”) but the fat in our meals and snacks keeps us full and satisfied, among many other things. And, eating fat does not directly correlate to gaining body fat.
If you’ve ever been on a low calorie or fat-restricted meal plan you probably know all too well the hangry feelings that come along with it. White-knuckling it through each day, and attempting to resist temptations is hard, and definitely not sustainable. When you’re making changes to your eating pattern, it’s so important to include fat-containing foods so you feel stable and in control, not to mention energized for your busy day and for exercise.
Eating to lose fat requires some consistency over time, so make the process as enjoyable and sustainable as possible by including whole food fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, and full fat dairy.
you're tracking calories and not macros
I always teach my clients that tracking only calories influences one thing: body weight, and if you maintain, gain or lose body weight.
Tracking macros influences much more:
- lean muscle gain
- body fat gain
- lean muscle loss
- body fat loss
- feelings of hunger and fullness
- blood sugar balance and stability
- hormone balance
- sleep quality and duration
- stable, consistent energy
- energy for high intensity activity
- cravings for sweet, salt, or crunch
- so much more!
If you are only tracking calories, you’re missing out on all the benefits that tracking macros has to offer. This is important because each macro (carb, protein or fat) has a different role in the body. When you have a specific goal, like fat loss, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the macros in the correct balance so the body has the fuel that is needs to support the goals that you have.
you're inconsistent in your habits
Ever find yourself feeling like you’re “starting over” every Monday? Or, maybe you’re telling yourself you’ll “be better” tomorrow after a night of treats and sweets? You can absolutely undo your progress towards fat loss when you are inconsistent in your eating pattern. Before working with me, many of my clients have inconsistent weekly routines: typically they under eat their calorie and macronutrient needs during the work week and overeat their needs on the weekend. They’re usually frustrated by their lack of energy and fat loss despite “doing everything right” most days of the week.
If this is you: start by taking a hard look at your day-to-day consistency. It takes some time to see changes in fat loss, so stay focused on consistency in your eating pattern for at least 6 to 8 weeks before trying to make adjustments.
you didn't set a process goal
There are two main types of goals: process goals and outcome goals.
The mistake I see clients making is setting outcome-based goals. These goals are focused on an end result, and unfortunately, are often hard to control because there are many outside factors influencing your success. The other issue with outcome goals is that there is no clear path on how you will actually get to the outcome you’ve defined. Examples include:
- lose weight
- lose 5 pounds of fat
- drop 3 pant sizes
- hit a new 1 rep max deadlift
- win 1st place in a competition
On the other hand, process goals are loose-term goals that focus on the journey of creating habits, behaviors and routines. Rather than sticking to strict deadlines to complete a task, you focus on developing a consistent routine over time. Some examples include:
- follow strength programming 4 days per week
- commit 3 months to a structured strength training program
- eat to my protein targets at least 5 days of the week, every week
- lower alcohol consumption to 3 drinks per week
- commit to mobility and stretching exercises at least 2 days of every week
With process goals, you are open to the outcome, and they will likely move you in a direction that gets you closer to that outcome. Process goals focus on building a habit because we know that what we do often is what leads to results that we want.
you're eating out of balance
Without realizing it, you could be eating out of balance. In my experience, most women eat too little protein and too little fat which makes for a high proportion of carbohydrates in their diet. Without the building blocks for building muscle and proper recovery from strength training, your efforts to build a stronger, leaner body will be stalled.
With disproportionately higher carbohydrates in your eating pattern, you could also be setting yourself up for riding the blood sugar roller coaster complete with energy spikes and dips, cravings, and mood swings. I recommend aiming for an even split of calories coming from each macronutrient. In other words, aim for about 30% of your calories to come from protein, fat and carbohydrates to start.
If you’re making any of these mistakes, I can help! Download my free guide below where I walk through how to eat enough to get that lean, strong physique you’re looking for.