Mistakes People Make When Trying To Lose Weight

Nobody wants to make mistakes when trying to lose weight. You made the conscious decision to take your health seriously and set yourself a weight loss goal, you want more muscle mass or a combination of the two. Now, you want to see the positive results. 

Successful Weight Loss

Losing weight, or more importantly, fat loss is not always easy. You believe you are making the right decisions and for whatever reason, you are getting nowhere. If this has ever happened to you or you just don’t want any setbacks then let’s get to it. 

How The Weight Loss Process Normally Goes

There are several reasons losing body fat could be a challenge and you may not always realize them early on. Seeing results early is critical as this serves as your motivation to continue on. This is also the time you are most likely to make those positive changes like; more healthy food choices, consuming fewer calories, and starting your efforts to better body composition. However, nothing can stop you quicker than thinking your effort is for nothing. If you want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, then make sure you are not making one of the mistakes below.

The truth is, losing weight is not always as simple as some commercials or other media channels may make it seem. Everyone is looking for the magic pill that allows you to eat everything in sight and still maintain a healthy weight. Or, you’re searching for that secret workout that magically creates lean mass in an 8-minute workout. Unfortunately, this is not how it works and I am here to tell you that doesn’t exist. 

Nothing like some good old-fashioned hard work and consistently to get the job done. I know, not the sexy answer you were looking for but if it’s the magic pill you’re after, you’ll likely still be looking for it several years from now. 

Food & Nutrition Mistakes

Starting In A Severe Calorie Deficit

In order to reduce body fat, you have to reduce calorie intake but it also must be manageable long-term. A significant calorie deficit Is not only last not sustainable, it may also result in muscle loss. 

A severe caloric restriction is not only a mistake people traditionally make, it can also be quite dangerous for hormones, sleep, energy, and brain function. The fact is, your body needs fuel to perform and to be at its best. This does not mean you should pound all the candy and pizza you see though. This means you need to eat a sound nutrition and if you are trying to lose fat, you should start with a modest 10 – 15% caloric intake below your daily caloric need. Reducing your calories too much cannot be sustained and you’ll likely find yourself stopping this real quick. You will also be lacking many vital vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, especially when you reduce calories.

Trying Diet Fads

Fads are usually fads for a reason. Ever wear Zubaz pants in the nineties? These were a short fad for good reason. There are no shortages of the “newest” diet or “fad diets” promising you amazing weight loss results. They promise there will never be another diet you’ll ever have to follow, cause this one’s guaranteed. 

These diets rarely ever help you and are really there to take some of your hard-earned money. This doesn’t mean there isn’t the right diet out there for you, there is. There are some sound diet options to consider but the thing all successful diets have in common is the ability to help you consume fewer calories than you burn. Rocket science, no. A successful strategy, yes. Trying a few different options to see which you can adhere to is likely the best choice. 

What are some good ones to try? Ad Libitum dieting, Keto, Carnivore, Intermittent Fasting, High Protein, just to name a few. Just keep in mind, no diet option will work if you consume more calories than you need. If you want a good calculator, check out Mike Matthew’s at Legion as this is very comprehensive –

No Meal Prep

There is a saying out there, that if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This saying holds true with meals and nutrition. If you do not plan your meals or do any food prep, you are prone to overeating. Why is this the case? When there is nothing ready, we tend to make bad choices and eat whatever is available. Now I am not saying every single meal needs to be prepped but making meals on the weekend for lunches at work is a good plan to have. Making some healthy snack options may also help stop you from grabbing cookies and other garbage.

Have some good options available like fruits. Please don’t read into the fruit is bad for you nonsense. Yeah, there is sugar in them but this is nature-made sugars. What would you grab instead? Likely something that would be a bad choice. Also once you have prepped a few meals, you’ll likely have a better sense for calories or good options. 

Too Many Cheat Meals Or Even Worse, A Cheat Day

None of us can be on point with our physical activity, diets, or nutrition 100% of the time. Also, you can and should still enjoy a nice treat, ice cream or whatever foods you like without having to stress over it. But if you want to know a good way to blow a whole weeks worth of effort, have a cheat day! 

If you are in a slight caloric deficit, say 10% each day and let’s say that equates to about 250 calories a day. After 6 days you would now be about 1300 calories below maintenance intake. One crazy meal will net zero all of that effort.

So don’t do cheat days as 1300 calories is very easy to consume. So what are some options or other approaches than a “cheat day?” How about a modest cheat meal once or twice in a week. Don’t get the deep dish at Uno, that thing will crush your week. This does mean you can get dessert once in a while. Or even better, build this planned meal or snack into your calories for one day.

Eating More Than You Think

There is no lack of people claiming they barely eat and can’t lose weight. This is not the case as when you consume fewer calories than you need, you will absolutely lose weight. There are a couple of things in play here.Most people are not counting calories, period, so how do you really know? Guessing is not a good route to go unless you have been tracking for a long time.

For those who do some tracking, they usually do not add liquid calories or salad dressings. These situations will cause you to significantly underestimate calories. You also have to count the snacks You eat. If it goes in your mouth and it is not water, it counts. You have to track everything to know what you are actually consuming! 

These few mistakes will add several hundred calories, easy, in a day. If you really want to know what you consume, you need to track everything but water and black coffee. If you are not doing this, you are consuming more than you think. No questions asked.


Not Lifting Enough Weights

If you want to lose weight, even while at rest, adding more lean mass is essential. Resistance training is important for weight loss and too many people do not perform it. Why, they think hours upon hours of running is the key to melting off pounds. This is another mistake too many make. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn at rest. You see, muscle has a knack for increasing your metabolic rate. How nice would it be for your body to burn calories, even when you are not doing anything. If you want sustained fat loss and you want to keep off, you should likely do both, not just cardio. 

You Perform Cardio Only

Just like I mentioned above, a cardio only program is not optional in losing fat. It is sometimes amazing to see how myths are created. Can you lose weight doing cardio, you absolutely can, if you are in a caloric deficit. If you only care about the scale weight then you don’t even necessarily have to exercise at all, if you consume less calories than you burn. But let’s face it, not exercising isn’t any fun and neither is consuming the low number of calories you would have to consume since you are not performing physical activity. 

If you read the next excerpt below, many people also overestimate how many calories their “running” session burned. If you are doing slow steady-state cardio, you are burning a lot less than you think. Check out this study by Harvard for realistic calorie burning expectations.

It’s likely your aerobic workout, for 30 minutes is burning under 300 calories, unless you run really hard. Compare that to 30 minutes of weight training, and it’s not that much different. Also, many people reward themselves or binge when they exercise as they feel they have earned it. No, that’s exactly why you performed exercise In the first place. To burn off the weight don’t negate the work from that entire session.

People Think Exercise Burns More Calories Than It Does

We have all seen trackers telling us our 41 minute session just burned 1,000 calories. Success, you crushed it! Check out the research on actual calories being burned (included above) and you’ll now have a good idea on what your effort is actually netting you. Just check out a few and see how surprising this really is. If you burned 200 calories you know how quickly you can negate that with a snack? Yeah, real quick! A small bagel is about 200 calories and one donut is 240 calories. 

Exercise does not supercharge your metabolism. You likely burn a couple of hundred calories and if you want to lose weight, stop adding reward calories or you just “net zero’d” your efforts. Stop making this critical mistake but don’t get me wrong, exercise is still crucial for overall health. It’s just not burning 1000 calories as you think.


Going Gangbusters Out Of The Gate

I get it, your ready to get on with getting in shape and looking and feeling your best. It is a great feeling to get started and to get moving but going gangbusters at the start can be a costly mistake. You’re working out 7 days a week, two hours a day, and doing strength training and cardio work. You’re crushing it! For about three weeks until you burn out. 

Why does this happen? It’s just too much at once and not sustainable. This is especially true if you are making many changes all at once or have any type of responsibility. What’s the solution? You need to know what you can commit to for the long haul. That is likely not 14 hours of exercise a week and don’t let anyone let you think this is the time required for positive change. If working out for 45 minutes a session, 4 days a week is what you can do long-term, then just stick to that. That is more than adequate to make progress for many, many years. 


I can’t speak too strongly that you have to be consistent. You cant only work out some of the time our eat well some of the time and expect results. You’ll find yourself making this mistake in not being consistent. If you can be consistent 80 – 90% of the time (But shoot for 100%) then you’ll be well on your way to your best physique ever.

You Think You Need To Be Motivated To Workout

This is one of my favorites in that many individuals believe that you have to be 100% motivated to work out. What’s more important is being 100% committed to working out regardless of motivation. None of us are motivated all the time and the great news is you don’t need to be. You have to work out 3 -4 times a week for a total of about 3 to 4 hours. If you can do this when you are or are not motivated, you will find yourself making continuous progress toward your goals. 

Caring Way Too Much About Your Scale Weight

If losing weight or fat is the journey you have set out on, you likely have high expectations of pounds melting off your nobody and it showing you on the scale. Weight reduction can be an indication of positive changes and can show you are on the right path. When it is not coming off as fast as you like, you wonder what is going on. 

TV shows have made the weekly 20 pound drops seem like the norm and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Improving your health and doing it the right way is not a quick process. If you are lifting weights and performing cardio, my recommendation, you could be experiencing some body recomposition. This means, while you are losing fat, you are likely also gaining muscle. 

If you find yourself fitting into clothes better, this could be a better indicator of your progress. It is also important to understand your weight can fluctuate by up to 4 pounds in a day. The weight on the scale is not always the best way to be measuring success. Pay closer attention to how you feel, how clothes fit, and the weights on your lifts.

Be Better, Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

Now that you know the common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight, don’t make them yourself. Some of these may go against what you have believed or some are likely new to you. No matter what the circumstance, don’t let these get you off track and discouraged. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up

Get Early Access