Are You Sabotaging Your Diet With One Of These Mistakes?

“I’ve read peanut butter before bed helps you burn fat, is that true?”

A client recently sent me that message.

It inspired me to write this article to clear up the confusion out there, once and for all.

I’m going to tell you how to avoid sabotaging your diet.

This article won’t involve any of the following:

– ‘Detox’ teas and quick fixes

– 15 minute a day workout programs

– Fad diets

– Sugar pill supplements

But you need to hear it if you’ve been approaching fitness like this…

… looking for quick fixes

… not having the foundations in place

… not knowing the road ahead

This article is 100% for you.

It’s not going to make false promises.

It’ll just promise you practical changes to make your diet stick.

Before we get into this, let me start with a story …

In college, I remember wanting so badly to fit in that I went full Party Boy from Jackass mode (See what I mean in this video).

I felt I missed out on things by not being ‘cool’ in high school and had some catching up to do.

My first night out with my new college crew went down like this (sorry, Mom)…

I guzzled one too many rye and diet cokes…

Puked in a cab and got momentarily chased by said cabbie, but thankfully he didn’t want to abandon his car and gave up quickly (my “run” was more of a stagger),

Got picked up by a RANDOM car full of teenagers/young adults who found my state of inebriation VERY amusing (I still can’t picture their faces, but do remember their laughter),

Managed to get dropped off on the right street by slurring the name of it repeatedly…

Mercifully, I eventually awoke on the couch to the disapproval of my parents (it was Remembrance Day – my way of honoring our troops was to not remember much of the night before).

Anyway, where am I going with this?

It’s very easy to be swayed by peer pressure. The masses mentality. Marketing is coming at you from every angle, telling you how you should dress, think, talk and act to fit in.

It’s no different when you start trying to make changes to your diet and lifestyle, right?

You logically start your search on Google and instantly get pulled down a rabbit hole. One site tells you to eat carbs. Another says to avoid them entirely and just eat fats. Eat gluten. Don’t eat gluten. Only buy organic vegetables harvested in the far northern plains of Tibet.

You get my point. It’s complicated. Everyone has an agenda or product to sell. And, hey, I run a business too, so I get that.

But you just want results. So here’s where you should start come Jan. 1 or sooner.


Mistake #1: Not Planning Your Day (Or Week)

It’s so simple, and yet so many people overlook this.

You need to know what your meals are going to look like for the week or day ahead, or you’re bound to fail.

Without a plan, you’ll succumb to the temptations of the work pot luck or nearest fast food joint.

You need to take the 10 minutes necessary to prep some quality meals to pack for the day.

I cook a big pot of jasmine rice once a week. Alongside that is a pan-full of extra lean beef. That’s my fall back meal for lunches most days.

Hell, you can even plan to have a chicken burger from McDonald’s – just make sure you have a plan!

You’re a grown adult. Your diet shouldn’t consist of leftover donuts and a handful of gummy bears.

By portioning out your meals the night before when you aren’t hungry, you’re self-regulating your calorie intake without having to decide in the moment when you’re “hangry.”

You’ve seen the Snickers’ commercials. Don’t risk it.

That might mean eating the same things a little more often than you’d like, but that’s what separates successful dieters from those who fail. Over and over again.

Take home: Plan ahead and success will follow.


Mistake #2: Ignoring the Hidden Calories

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.

A lot of fad diets and fitness influencers would like you to believe you can defy the laws of physics (Energy Balance Equation) and somehow lose weight in a significant calorie surplus through eating fats and keeping carbs on the sidelines.

Fats are fine – in moderation – but there’s no magic there, no matter what some guru tells you. You don’t need heaps of butter and coconut oil in your coffee to get your brain working in the morning. One little tablespoon of butter has as many calories as almost a pound-and-a-half of fresh spinach.

Watch the sugary sauces.

Barbeque sauce. Teriyaki. Honey dill.

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

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.

Take home: Swap out the sugary sauces and cooking oils for low or calorie-free alternatives.


Mistake #3: Not Slowing Down, MuthaF$%#@

Here’s something you may overlook as being too simple, but it can make a big difference.

Slow down your eating.

Slow eaters consistently have lower body mass index (BMI) than fast eaters.

Some just seem to be born this way. Eating slowly is a real struggle for me, while my dad can be halfway through dinner while the rest of us are onto dessert.

If you fall in the same camp as me, you may need to force yourself to use chopsticks, the worst food utensil invention on the planet, to get the job done.

What gives here?

Salivary amylase is an enzyme in your saliva that starts the digestion of starches in carbohydrates. The gene that makes amylase, AMY1, varies in number from person to person. The more of it you have, the faster and more effectively you digest carbs.

Researchers compared the genes of 149 Swedish families that included siblings withBMI differing by more than 10 kg/m2. The single biggest factor determining variations in BMI from one individual to the next was the volume of AMY1 in their saliva.

Take home: Be present at meal time, eat as slowly as possible and really take your time at each meal. Use chopsticks if you need a handicap. This evens the playing field with people with more amylase and/or naturally slow eaters.


Mistake #4: Not Investing In Yourself (So Failure Isn’t An Option)

If you’re serious about making lasting change, it’s decision time.

Go all in and commit to making this work or don’t do it all.

Don’t dabble.

Dabblers don’t get anywhere.

You have dabbled in the past, right?

But when you dabble, you quit at the first sign of resistance.

There will be some resistance and discomfort.

It’s a diet after all – you’re eating less calories than you need to maintain your weight and your body doesn’t love that.

But if you follow the plan and implement these dieting rules, you’ll be on your way.

If you’re sick and tired of dabbling and you know you need someone to hold you accountable – apply here to have a conversation with me about joining my Mansformation 2.0 coaching program.

Look what my man Curtis has accomplished in just shy of 6 weeks (he’s in my Mansformation 2.0 group)



He’s down 12 lbs and has put on some muscle too.

Do you want to be part of the next Mansformation 2.0 group coaching program? If you’re sick and tired of dabbling and you know that it’s time – apply here to have a conversation with me about joining the next one in January.

I’ll be there to help you build your foundations and set you up properly so that you actually prosper in 2017.

The real question is…. Are you ready to go ALL IN in 2017?

Click here if you are.

To recap, avoid diet sabotage with these four strategies:

  1. Plan your day or week
  2. Watch the hidden calories
  3. Eat slowly
  4. Invest in yourself so failure isn’t an option
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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.