So you decided to take the plunge and start a diet. But a few weeks in you are still feeling uncomfortable in the too-tight jeans and the scale dial is still flickering over the same number each week. You’re about to throw in the towel and crown the bulk as Victor, but wait 5 minutes and take a read through these 10 reasons why the diet may not be as effective as you think.
Keeping consistency in both your caloric intake and your training is the biggest variable that can make or break your diet. If you are inconsistent with your workouts or change your caloric intake from minimal on weekdays to infinity macros on the weekends, don’t expect linear progress.
- Program Jumping
This comes under the umbrella of consistency. With all the new programs, workouts and newest techniques coming out each week in the newest edition of Men’s Health, it’s not uncommon to see people get distracted and jump from one program to the next. Pick or develop a simple program which allows for progression each week, stick to it for at least 4-6 weeks and the gains will come.
- Changing too many things at once
Not only do you change your program more than you change your underwear. But when losing weight, you try to change too many variables at once. Pick one variable at a time (e.g. drop calories, add cardio, drink more water), trial it for a couple of weeks, then add another one in when progress stalls.
- Changing too many things too soon
Following on from the previous point, you try to do too much all at once far too soon into the diet, so when plateaus strike there is little for you to play with to kick-start the weight loss again.
- You drop calories too low and too fast
You want results, and you want them fast so you think the obvious answer would be to drop your calories fast.
- Patience is a virtue – You are too impatient
You find yourself becoming impatient. You utilise points 4 & 5 and come to an abrupt halt after a mere few weeks. Rapid weight loss is not sustainable, choose slow and consistent over fast and ineffective.
- You avoid carbs
You convince yourself that carbs are the devil and they will make you gain weight and you avoid the carbohydrate macronutrient entirely. Carbohydrates provide you with fuel to workout, keep the metabolism high and spare active tissue alongside sparing protein.
- You are still in a caloric surplus
You are actually still in a caloric surplus. You miscalculate your macros if you count them, or you are tricked by the trap that ‘clean’ food has no calories and load up with avocados, fruit smoothies and nuts without calculating the serving sizes.
- You don’t expend enough calories to be in a deficit
You don’t burn enough calories respective to those that you consume. So you workout 5x a week and get in a few sessions of cardio but what are you doing in between? This is often referred to as your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). If you are sedentary between your workouts or work at a job which requires little movement, you may be burning off fewer calories than you think.
- You eyeball both diet and training
You eyeball your meals and your serving sizes, which means there is a good chance that you are ladling on more than you need. You also don’t keep track of your workouts – only an individual with photographic memory can remember their weights and reps from the previous week. Make it easier for yourself and jot down your workouts in each session for reference for the next week. You can old-school it with pen and journal or there are many apps that you can use on your phone to keep note.