“You realize that’s, like, the biggest fat-loss cliché ever,” I told my friend as she dove into the breadbasket. She belongs to what I call the “last supper” club. Tomorrow will be the day she finally develops lasting habits to become lean and healthy.
Here we were, one recent Friday night at an Italian restaurant notorious for its pasta entrees. “How could you come here and not order pasta?” my friend asked, and then proceeded to order fettuccine Alfredo. That’s when she uttered those three words that become every future-dieter’s mantra:
“I’ll start on Monday.”
Intellectually, that rationale makes complete sense. Suddenly you have a perfectly legitimate reason to devour your favorite carb-loaded, sugary, fatty dish and finish it off with a massive dessert.
Far from being an innocuous indulgence, that meal paves the way for hunger, cravings, weight loss resistance, and food intolerances. That’s why, even though you vow to uphold dietary piety, you struggle to maintain control on Monday.
“I’ll start Monday” falls into the self-sabotaging clichés that sound perfectly legitimate and yet highjack fat loss and optimal health. They stop you from becoming your very best self. I’ve heard them all, and these are among the ones I get most often.
1. “I went to the gym three times this week so I’ve earned my frozen yogurt."
Using food as a reward for hard work practically guarantees fat-loss derailment. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet, and even vigorously working out can’t compensate for that low-fat fro-yo’s 600 calories of sugar.
If you lift heavy or regularly do burst training, you can probably get away with a little more sugar. I’m talking a piece of dark chocolate, not surrendering to the yogurt bar with all your favorite toppings.
2. “I do intermittent fasting, so I can eat whatever I want when I do finally eat."
As its name implies, intermittent fasting involves alternate periods of eating and not eating. For some people, it works. For others, not eating 16 hours can create the perfect storm, where you ravenously devour anything within eyesight.
Fasting doesn’t rectify the consequences of going whole-hog into a pepperoni deep-dish. Especially if intermittent fasting isn’t for you, feasting on the wrong foods can create or exacerbate food intolerances, skyrocket blood sugar levels, and even contribute to eating disorders.
3. “I eat healthy all week so I can splurge on the weekends.”
Your body is a very complex chemistry lab — not a bank account. You can't "save" calories and spend them elsewhere. Hormones, not calories, run the show for fat loss. Keeping your fat-storing hormone, insulin, jacked up with weekend splurges stalls fat loss and sets you up for failure.
4. “A couple of bites won't derail my plan.”
If you can stick to my three-bite rule – that’s three polite bites when your dining companion insists on French silk pie, then fork down – go for it. If three bites of carrot cake send you into a downward spiral that ends with an 11:30pm butter pecan freezer raid, step away from the dessert.
5. “If I take a bunch of supplements, I'll get the nutrients I'm missing in this processed food.”
I'm a big supplement fan to fill in any dietary nutrient gaps. At a minimum, everyone should take a high-quality multivitamin and fish oil. Just don’t think supplements can replace nutrient-rich whole foods or the damage that processed foods and food intolerances can create in your body. Supplements are designed to supplement (not replace) nutrients you get in a well-designed eating plan.
6. “That packet of cookies is only 100 calories, so I won't ruin my diet.”
Raise your blood sugar with sugary processed foods – even if that well-portioned snack only contains 100 calories – and you increase insulin, which not only stores fat but blocks that fat from being burned. Besides, you’re probably going to eat more than one of those tiny packs, delivering an early-afternoon sugar surge that crashes at about 4pm.
7. “I'll skip breakfast to save calories.”
Surely, you’re not still falling for this one, since breakfast sets your day’s metabolic tone. Skipping becomes a surefire way about to hungrily devour two homemade chocolate chip cookies your coworker brought into work that morning.
Skipping breakfast sets the stage for an all-day blood sugar roller coaster, leading to hunger, cravings, and crankiness. Plus, you’re going to make up those calories – and probably consume even more of them – throughout the day. I frequently that those who skip breakfast make late-night kitchen raids, and they aren’t for brussels sprouts, if you catch my drift.
What’s your biggest self-sabotaging fat loss trap?
I’ve heard some pretty clever excuses over my nearly three decades as a celebrity fitness and nutrition expert. Using the right logic, you can justify nearly anything, but the repercussions often backfire on your weight loss attempts!
What fat loss lie held you back from your goals, and how did you overcome allowing it to sabotage your success? Share your story below.
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