Most of my online clients just want to look better. They want more muscle/less fat.
99% of it comes down to improving their nutrition habits/increasing activity and focusing on building muscle over time.
Despite common belief, It isn’t this intense diet protocol that you need to follow.
Instead, the goal is to teach clients how to fit it into their lifestyle. Now this doesnt mean it will be a walk in the park, as it will require some sacrifices along the way if you want to change. But the goal is to teach them how they can make choices while still enjoying what they do in life.
However, there are times when we will run fat loss phases that require a bit more rigidity than others.
Read HERE about nutrition periodization.
A fat loss phase usually lasts anywhere from 6-12 weeks and requires you to take in fewer calories than you normally would. Read HERE about the fundamental principle to lose body fat.
In this blog, I want to go over the top mistakes I see made by clients when they are in a fat loss phase so you can learn from them and apply them to your own fat loss phase.
Too much snacking
These snacks (or small handfuls) don’t seem harmful, but if done throughout the day it can easily add 300-500 calories per day. These types of foods also are calorie-dense so it doesn’t “feel” like a lot of food, but they pack on the calories.
An example I like to bring up is a chicken breast (nutrient-dense) vs a serving of Oreos (calorie dense).
A 4oz chicken breast is 120 calories for 20ish grams of protein.
A serving of Oreos is 3 cookies! These 3 cookies have almost no protein and pack on 160 calories.
Which one is going to fill you up more and leave you feeling full?
There is a time and place for Oreos, but if you aren’t seeing the results you want during a fat loss phase, chances are you are snacking/grazing a little too much throughout the day.
A lot of times it’s mindless as well, so you forget, but you also overeat, you dont get full, and then go on with your regular meals.
Too many untracked days
There is no magic to tracking. It’s a tool that can help. But it just holds you accountable and brings awareness to what you are doing.
The big problem I see with untracked days is that these are the days where clients will eat more tasty foods because they dont have to be accountable and their awareness overall is much lower. As I stated earlier these types of foods are more calorie-dense so it doesn’t feel like a lot of food, but the calories can quickly add up.
You get the feeling that you are eating less, but you are eating more calories overall (think about the oreo example earlier).
When you are tracking you are also less likely to make less than ideal choices because you have to be accountable for it.
Letting one bad meal turn into multiple meals
Im sure you have been there before, you were crushing your fat loss diet, and then you had one bad meal, and then the next thing you know that one bad meal turned into an entire weekend.
This is the downside to these fat loss phases, one bad meal can feel detrimental. But don’t let one poor meal turn into multiple. What you do over time is more important.
One of my favorite quotes from James Clear is “Dont miss twice in a row”.
A lot of times with clients our goal is to work on turning the page and getting them “back on track” (I put back on track in quotations because you didn’t actually fall off) as quickly as possible.
If you can start to reduce how often you do this, and how long you stay “off track” then you will see progress over time.
Trying to fit in too many “tasty” foods
The plus side of tracking macros/calories is that it gives you flexibility.
The downside is that this usually leads to you trying to fit in as many tasty foods as possible.
Again this comes down to the fact that most of these foods are calorie-dense so they don’t do a good job filling you up but add a good amount of calories, giving the feeling that it wasn’t that much food.
These types of foods also are designed to make you want to eat more. So your cravings go through the roof.
These foods usually also dont give you the nutrients you need to look, perform, and feel your best.
When it comes to macro tracking we tell clients they can have flexibility but you also want to aim for 80% of your diet to be from whole foods/nutrient-dense type foods.
See the list below:
The rest of the time you can fit in your tasty foods.
You can also think of things like condiments here. They add flavor and calories but not much in terms of fullness.
You want your diet to be tasty, but you have to be careful with trying to maximize taste/pleasure every single time you eat.
Not ok with being hungry ever
We have strategies to help reduce hunger levels (higher food volume, high protein, nutrient-dense foods, activity levels, etc.), but when you lose body fat you’re going to be hungry at some point there is no way around it. Read HERE on how to lower hunger during a diet.
You have to be ok with this upfront, if you’re not, thats fine, but realize if you aren’t ever hungry you probably aren’t losing body fat.
Hunger can be uncomfortable but you are trying to change your body which is supposed to be uncomfortable. Being comfortable has gotten you to where you are today.
Not planning ahead
9 times out of 10 when a client isn’t seeing results, it’s due to a lack of planning.
They didn’t grocery shop, they didn’t have any idea what they were going to eat the next day. They had a party come up and didn’t know how to manage it.
All of it comes down to a lack of planning.
You dont have to have every last macro planned for, but you need to have some sort of plan.
For one client this may be looking ahead to see what events they have coming up this week. Maybe they have a party or a date night, now that we know that we can either see what choices they can make that night OR we can figure out how to manage the days and times around it.
For another client planning ahead may just be getting to the grocery store to have food on hand when they need it at home.
For another client, it may be planning out their next day in terms of protein, or all of their meals.
It’s going to look different for you based on where you are at, but if you wing it each and every day, you’re going to struggle.
Poor environment set up
Your environment plays a massive role in all of this.
If you have tasty foods around the house or laying around, it’s going to be tough to say no to these things.
When it comes to our environment the best is out of sight out of mind, but I know that isnt feasible for some people.
From there it’s just all about increasing the barriers to eating. Putting things further away, only having snacks that you have to prepare etc.
When it comes to nutrition the main thing is that you realize you aren’t going to be perfect.
It’s going to take practice and hard work, but you will get better at it.
The main point of this blog was to bring awareness so you dont have to make the same mistakes that most people make, if you are aware of them then you are more likely to work on them/fix them.
Sometimes though you just need an extra set of eyes or a solid plan to execute, if this is you then apply for 1:1 coaching HERE to see if you would be a good fit.
You can also check out our 1:1 coaching page HERE.