If you are having trouble with shedding body fat, this article is for you. You will be reading all about the 4 biggest fat loss mistakes, which I see people make every day. I will show you how to prevent making these mistakes, so you can keep burning fat at a rapid pace.
I recommend you to read through this article carefully since it is easy to think that you are doing everything right (I’m guilty of this too). Being critical of the way you set up your diet and training will tremendously help improve your fitness results whenever possible.
Mistake #1: Focus on eating ”clean”, instead of eating less
The first thing many people do when they want burn fat is start consuming more nutritious meals. This is great, but your body does not burn fat based on how “healthy” your meals are.
Fat loss is a response to an ”energy deficit”. If the number of calories consumed are lower than the number of calories burned, your body has no choice but to burn fat. If you are familiar with my work, you know that this is dictated by something called the ”Energy Balance”, which is supported by the law of thermodynamics.
The scientific law of thermodynamics shows that energy can’t be destroyed or created, only transformed. So a surplus of energy has to be stored (fat gain) and an energy deficit needs to be ”compensated” by internal reserves (fat loss).
So regardless of how ”clean” your meals are, you always need an energy deficit to burn fat. Goji berries, chia seeds, brown rice etc. won’t make you burn fat if you consume more calories than your body requires.
Does this mean that I can eat whatever I want?
You could eat mainly junk food all day and still burn fat. A professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas University State, Dr. Mark Haub, did it to prove this point. After all, snacks do not make you fat, overeating on snacks does.
Fitness is not just about burning the maximum amount of fat in a short period of time, but also about feeling your absolute best in the long-term.
Mistake #2: Taking it ”slow and steady”
You now know that you need a ”calorie deficit” to burn fat. It’s often thought that maintaining a small calorie deficit will help preserve muscle during a fat loss phase. The issue with this is that you lose fat very slowly and often need to extend your fat loss phase to achieve your goal body-fat percentage.
This is unfavorable because the longer you are in a calorie deficit, the more your metabolism slows down and the less muscle you build. That’s why it’s generally a good idea to keep a fat loss phase short if it’s possible.
This said, crash-dieting is also not the answer.
Crash-diets basically make you feel like crap. An experiment by the University of Minnesota shows that starvation-based diets negatively affect mental health. The volunteers of this study could not stop thinking about food. Some were unable to handle the restrictive diet and eventually binged on snacks.
Crash-diets can also cause muscle loss. Since we want to improve our overall body composition (more muscle and less fat), it is not smart to implement a crash-diet.
So instead, opt for an aggressive calorie deficit that allows you to burn 0.5-1% of total body weight (in mostly fat) per week. A research review suggests that this rate of fat loss is effective for those who want to preserve muscle during a fat loss phase.
This usually can be achieved by maintaining a calorie deficit of roughly 20-25%. At the end of this post, you will be able to download a free fat loss checklist that will show you exactly how to implement this.
Mistake #3: Not consuming enough protein
When food is scarce, the human body primarily taps into two internal energy sources: Body Fat and Muscle Proteins. So muscle breakdown increases when dieting (don’t worry, this does not have to result in net muscle loss).
Plenty of studies show that a high-protein intake during a fat loss phase decreases muscle breakdown and stimulates the synthesis of new muscle proteins. So dietary protein plays a vital role in muscle preservation during a fat loss phase.
In one study, increasing protein intake from 15 to 30% of total calories resulted in a large spontaneous drop in food intake, most likely because of a sustained decrease in hunger and appetite. Because of this drop in food intake, the volunteers lost more fat.
That helps explain why research shows a high-protein intake doesn’t just decrease muscle breakdown but also increases fat loss.
A good general recommendation for protein consumption is around 1.6-2.2g/kg (0.7-1g/lb.) of total body weight
You can find out more about macronutrient requirements in the free fat loss checklist below.
Mistake #4: Being too strict
The science is quite clear on this: Flexible dieters lose weight and keep it off, whereas those who are very strict lose weight and gain it back quickly. This can differ per person of course, but implementing a flexible diet increases your chance of success.
Don’t get me wrong, flexible dieting does not mean ”Eat whatever you want and get to 6% body fat!”. Flexible dieting refers to consuming mainly nutritious meals that you enjoy and not being overly obsessed with caloric and macronutrient tracking.
Tracking food intake should not cost you more than 10 minutes a day
We are not good at estimating how much food we need to consume. A well-designed study shows that we tend to underestimate just how many calories we truly are eating in our diet. That why’s tracking calories can be useful. This way you ensure you are near your caloric and macronutrient requirements.
But trying to be 100% accurate when tracking calories and macros is not realistic. The FDA allows a 20% variance on nutritional values. So a meal that is listed as 600 calories, is allowed to be 720 or 480 calories.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that research shows that most nutritional values, found online and on packages, are not precise and have an average variance of 20%. This means that we can’t precisely track food intake, as there are no 100% accurate nutritional values available. So a lenient approach to tracking calories and macros will do just fine.
Final words + Free fat loss checklist
There you have it, the top 4 fat loss mistakes. Preventing these 4 mistakes will improve fat loss tremendously.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment below!
Free fat loss plan
If you are planning on performing a fat loss phase soon, I highly recommend you check out my free ”Fat Loss Checklist”. You can download it by filling in the form below!