7 Common Fat Loss Mistakes (Here’s How To Fix Them)

I want to share a secret with you…

Come closer.

It’s just you and me now…

Here it is: If you aren’t burning more calories than you’re consuming, you aren’t going to lose weight (for those that are trying to).

One of the simplest ways to cut calories (and speed up fat loss) is to eliminate some of these “calorie bomb” foods and employ a few tricks to keep yourself under maintenance.

Here are 7 common fat loss mistakes and tips to correct to them:

Mistake #1: ‘Healthy’ Cooking Oils

You should be finding areas to “save” calories on a diet.

As you may know, fat is the most calorie dense food at 9 calories per gram.

You can very easily turn a calorie deficit into a surplus by getting a little too liberal with the peanut butter or cooking oils.

Watch your oil intake. Free-pouring oils (even healthy ones) into the pan to cook can quickly add as much as 250-300 calories.

How do you avoid this? Swap out cooking oils for sprays when preparing your meals.

Any cooking spray will do – even canola. You’ll be using trace amounts anyway.

Mistake #2: Watch the Sugary Sauces

Barbeque sauce. Teriyaki. Honey dill. Full sugar ketchup.

Sauces can add as much as 10 grams of sugar with every single tablespoon (and let’s be honest, you’re using a lot more than that!)

Instead of flavouring your meats with sauces, swap them out for seasoning salts and spices. Salt doesn’t add any calories to your meal, and in fact can aid your performance in the gym.

There are countless rubs, spices, salts, etc. for you to try out on your meats.

Whether you go for a pre-made rub, or create your own, pick out some new spices and give them a go.

Here’s a poor man’s alternative to teriyaki sauce: soy sauce with a few packets of Splenda mixed in.

Or look into Walden Farms line of calorie-free products.

As much as you may hate to hear it, if you are struggling to manage your weight it’s likely your portion control sucks.

By eliminating hidden calories, you won’t notice much difference in taste but your calorie intake will decrease on auto pilot.

Mistake #3: Drinking ‘Healthy’ Sugar Bombs

Drink zero calorie beverages only.

Somehow, drinks with ‘new’ versions of sugar such as agave and cane are being marketed as better choices than zero cal drinks.

Both sugar is still “sugar” – no matter what way you dress them up.

Stick to the odd zero cal beverage, water, teas, and coffee.

But there’s a caveat with coffee: Drink it black.

Forget the venti frap with whip that has more calories than a Big mac.

You don’t need a metric tonne of sugar before work.

PS – Even worse, if you put butter and coconut oil in it, I will hunt you down.

Mistake #4: Being Scared of Eating Meat

Protein reduces your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.

It also has a high TEF – or Thermic Effect of Food. Meaning that as much as 20-30% of the calories from protein are “burned off” just to digest the protein,  compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%).

Plus, it helps you maintain lean body mass as you diet down. When you’re in a significant calorie deficit (i.e. eating less than you burn), your body is happy to feast on muscle for energy. It doesn’t tend to throw out just fat and keep muscle… unless you eat lots of protein and weight train.

That’s why scale weight is not the only measurement of success.

A high protein intake may help prevent muscle loss when daily calories are reduced for weight loss.

In one study, researchers at McMaster University, found it’s possible to gain muscle while cutting fat—in just 4 weeks.

In their month-long study published last year, 40 overweight men in their 20s followed an exercise program and ate a calorie-restricted diet of 40% fewer calories below maintenance.

The wrinkle? Half the men followed a lower-protein diet (1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) and the other half followed a higher-protein diet (2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight).

The results: After 28 days, the higher-protein group saw 2.3 pounds of muscle gain and 10.5 pounds of weight loss. The lower-protein group retained their muscle mass (broke even) and lost about 8 pounds.

Mistake #5: Not Getting Enough Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep can also help reduce hunger and protect against weight gain.

Studies show that too little sleep can increase hunger and appetite, and chronically over time has been linked to higher rates of obesity.

Get your shut-eye by any means necessary!

Mistake #6: Overcomplicating Dinnertime 

It’s a great thought to start making elaborate, healthy recipes to support your goals.

But often these complicated recipes come with tons of ingredients in them.

You don’t have time to be consistent with this.

Many people my age have children of their own along with their careers. If your meals contain more than just a few ingredients, they probably won’t be made on a regular basis.

If you’re struggling to find good, wholesome, healthy meals, remember you can’t go wrong with a piece of meat, some whole food carbs, and some veggies.

A few simple, meal examples you can easily fit into this:

  • Mexican night – tacos or fajitas
  • Stir-fry
  • Steaks
  • Spaghetti
  • Fish/salmon
  • Crockpot meals – beef stews etc.

Any of these can be combined with some rice/potatoes/pasta and veggies to make a wholesome, complete meal in minutes.

BONUS: Grab this free Mansformation cheat sheet and get a simple and sustainable nutrition plan to follow. Warning: You might need to create a new hole in your belt as your waist shrinks…

Mistake #7: Grazing After Hours

A tip I picked up from Jason Helmes: “Close the kitchen” immediately after dinner.

As soon as you are finished eating dinner, “close the kitchen” and scrub all of the dishes, pots, and pans.

Wipe off all the counters, close all the pantries, put away everything, and leave the room.

At that point, the kitchen is “off limits” and feeding time is over.

This may not prevent you from wandering in and staring longingly into the pantry for junk food to appear, but because you’ve cleaned up, subconsiously you’ll have second thoughts about messing it up again for a quick fix.

Such a simple thing, and it works like a charm.

PS – When you’re ready, here’s the three most popular ways to work with me that my clients love…

1. 30 Days To Thor: The Ultimate Chubby-to-Jacked Transformation Plan. Ryan lost 20 pounds in one month following this protocol (see his testimonial at the link)

2. Mansformation Group Coaching. If you’re tired of looking and feeling the same… year in and year out… Mansformation Group Coaching shows you exactly how to eat and exercise properly so you finally get the pinnacle of fitness (health AND body) you want.

3. Mansformation Custom VIP Coaching. The most remarkable transformations happen here. If you want to impress your wife or mistress with a lean midsection and bicep peaks, this is for you.

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.