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Common dieting pitfalls

I wrote up the second part of my weight loss story and it ended up being unsatisfactory because it turned into a rant.  It turned into a rant mainly because I had only 4 hours of sleep last night. Which led me to this particular post. I should be writing what causes us to fail. Because that’s where the common stuff is. There are many paths to dieting and weight loss success, but almost all of us fail for the same reasons. Here goes….

1. Not sleeping enough. You need 8 hours of sleep. It needs to be regular. It needs to be high quality. This is the commonest reason for why your attempts at weight loss failed.

2. Eating after sunset. I started timing my meals to end by 5.30pm two years ago. And that has been a game changer. I can be less strict about what I eat and still manage to get away without much weight gain, at long as I’m eating my last meal before 5.30pm. You can call this intermittent fasting. But, timed eating might be a better term

3. Eating too frequently. If you’re snacking constantly, even if it is in small quantities, you’re triggering an anabolic process. There will be very little fat burn. Eating small frequent meals to keep your metabolism high is BS. Do not do it. You’re setting yourself up for certain failure. It is a technique used by bodybuilders to retain muscle while at extremely low body fat percentage. It requires superhuman willpower. Guaranteed that us mortals do not possess it. If we eat small frequent meals, it’ll just trigger more appetite and cravings and make us more and more obsessed about the next snack. Your digestive system also ends up not getting enough of a rest period and gets inflamed, further increasing a stress hormone response

4. Working too hard. Your health is your responsibility. Your boss or your company doesn’t care about your health. If you fall sick, you will get replaced. But your body stays broken. Make sure that work stress isn’t sabotaging your weight loss.

5. Too much exercise. Yes this is a thing. If you’re doing too much moderate intensity exercise, you’re going to trigger a stress hormone response that will cause you to burn away muscle and retain fat. If you’re depriving yourself if sleep in order to cycle or run for hours in the misguided attempt to lose fat, you’ll get hit with a double whammy

6. Too little of the right kind of exercise. Walking, loaded carries and weight training. I’ve not discovered an upper limit for the amount of walking you can do to lose weight. The more you walk, the more fat you’ll burn. Add long as you don’t compensate by overeating. When it comes to weight training, you can do too much. You don’t need to without for longer than half an hour a day total, if you’re using weights correctly. I managed very well with half an hour on alternate days

7. Not eating enough vegetables. People might think I’m pro meat. That I am. But I’m a bigger proponent of vegetables. Have a look at the pictures of my meals I’d posted in my previous blog. I eat more vegetables than most vegetarians. Vegetarians handicap themselves by thinking that they’re eating enough vegetables. If you look at the actual quantity, you’ll see that the bulk of their food is actually grains and sugar, not vegetables. That’s why they fail. That’s why most of us fail

8. Not drinking enough water. Dehydration will cause appetite to go up. It will also trigger cravings for junk food. Worse, you can blunt your sense of thirst by remaining chronically dehydrated. Which means you’ll never realise that you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Best way to fix that is to drink a liter of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Don’t whine and complain, just do it.

9. Not adjusting your dietary intake of carbohydrates according to your activity pattern. Unless you’re racing or training at an elite level, you don’t need carbohydrates in high quantities. Sedentary people hardly use their muscle glycogen stores. Their activity pattern is not intense enough

10. Not eating enough organ meats. This is for non vegetarians obviously. Most non vegetarians stick to chicken. It is nutrient poor, relatively. Red meat is more nutrient dense. But compared to organ meats, even red meat is poor. You’ll need to consume at least one portion of organ meats a week. I aim for 3 portions. My weapon of choice is liver. Bone broth is a close second, but it used daily. Mussels are the alternative for people who can’t stand the thought of liver or bone broth, but let it be known that I can’t stand the thought of non vegetarians who refuse to eat the best, most nutrient dense portions of an animal that has been killed to feed you.

11. Retaining dietary fat phobia. Decades of brainwashing have left us terrified of healthy natural fats like ghee, butter, egg yolk and coconut oil. I’m not saying drown yourself in ghee and coconut oil. I’m saying use them to taste, at least. There’s no need to avoid them

12. Not eating enough. No, I’m not talking about starvation. I’m talking about trying to use willpower for portion control. If what you’re eating is clean, and nutrient dense and you have the appetite for it, you should eat it. If you cut back on good quality food because of a misguided attempt to cut calories, you’ll end up hungry. There is only so much willpower you’ve got. A few weeks down the line, you’ll be raiding the fridge at midnight, scarfing down all the junk you can find in there.

13. Giving up. This probably should go up to the top of the list. All of us have cravings and we’ll all go insane and order 3 large cups of ice cream once in a while (I’ve done that) trick is to not get disheartened and let the rest of the day go to waste. Make your next meal super strict. Make your next day super strict. Each time you make a mistake, learn from it and come back stronger

14. Plan for temptation. If you know you’re going to get tempted, rehearse the situation ahead of time. Set a strategy in place. You might escape. My worst temptation is after a 12 hour shift at work. I get home by 8.30pm , which is my bed time on normal days. If I’ve rehearsed it before getting out of the car and walking into my house, I’ll escape. Else, if I walk in unprepared and see junk food on the table, the stress of the day and the sleepiness will overcome my willpower and I will finish the whole bag. And then raid the fridge after that. Which is a happened last night. And that led to this post and the crappy post before this one. Don’t be like that. I’m an ideal situation, I would have called home before my return trip from work started and I would have strictly instructed my wife not to offer me any food. If she offers the food, I’ll lose control. I’ll also announce ahead of time, that I’ll be having only one glass of bone broth. If I drink that as soon as I walk in, I’ll escape. You’ll have to work out your own strategies.

15. Thinking that you’ll be able to lose weight successfully if you “moderate” the amount of sugar and alcohol you consume. I’ve not seen that work. Complete abstinence while you’re losing weight is the best way to do it. Once you’ve reached goal, you’ll could try adding those poisons back to see how it affects you. If you can handle it, knock yourself out.

16. Thinking that this is a short term thing. It is not. I lost my weight ten years ago. I still have to watch what I eat. I still weight myself every morning. But I going a method that works for me sustainably. You’ll have to do the same for yourself.

This is all I can think of for the moment. Have a look and please ask your questions and give your comments.

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