The Biggest Dieting Mistake You're Making
Are you neglecting the basics when it comes to dieting?
The first thing I ask when someone says they’re struggling with weight loss is, “How is your sleep? How much water are you drinking? How stressed are you?”
In fact, stress is SO important that I ask about it in our application form BEFORE we even work with you.
Unfortunately, everyone jumps into dieting (typically unsustainable fad diets) without a single thought towards the basics.
Although there are a handful of other basics that come into play, the few I find to be of utmost importance are:
Because I know you don’t just want to know what matters but also why it matters, I’ll go into each factor in depth.
Your sleep has a significant impact on your dieting and fat loss efforts.
The hormones responsible for hunger and fullness get jacked up when you lack sleep, making you feel more hungry and less full.
Research has shown that sleeping for 8.5 hours versus 5.5 hours can lead to up to 55% more fat loss during a dieting phase.
Further, sleep deprivation can increase muscle loss by increasing muscle-degrading hormones and decreasing muscle-building hormones.
Focus not only on getting enough sleep but also make sure that you’re getting high-quality sleep. In other words, sleeping for 8 hours doesn’t help much if you’re waking up every couple of hours and disturbing your sleep cycles.
Some ways you can improve your sleep quality include:
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
- Avoiding electronics before bed (at least an hour, if possible!)
- Relaxing and clearing your mind in the evening (I like to do a brain dump and write down all the things!)
The methods that work best for you might differ from the above suggestions, so you should experiment until you find something that works. More on this topic here!
I’m sure you’ve heard me and the other KJO Coaches talk about the importance of water before. We won’t stop because water is so essential, and not just for your dieting efforts!
Dehydration can cause your body to hold onto extra water, which can mask your fat loss efforts on the scale. You won’t see the number going down and might think you aren’t making progress, which might tempt you to give up.
This is yet another reason why you shouldn’t solely rely on the scale to measure your progress.
Also, research tells us that “water-induced thermogenesis” is a thing. The way it works is by drinking enough water, you increase your metabolic rate, which results in more calories burned.
Another reason you should drink enough water is because it improves your kidney function; this allows excess water and sodium to get flushed out of your system.
The amount of water you should drink is dependent on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live. The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate amount of fluid intake is:
- About 16 cups (3.7 liters/1 gallon) of fluids per day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids per day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food, and the rest is from drinks.
If you’re like our clients (active, on-the-go, etc.) you might want to aim closer to 16 cups (3.7 liters/1 gallon) especially if you live in a warmer climate!
Stress is huge when it comes to your dieting efforts! There’s a reason we ask about it in the coaching application form.
Research provides evidence that stressing out can increase cortisol, which influences fluid retention and water weight. Just like when you’re dehydrated, the increased water weight might mask your progress on the scale if you’re stressed.
There’s also research that suggests that your metabolism can slow down under stressful conditions. A slower metabolism means your body is burning fewer calories, and you’d have to be in an even larger caloric deficit to lose fat.
Not to mention, stress eating and seeking comfort foods are obvious barriers to your fat loss efforts.
There are so many stress-reduction techniques, but none of them is a one-size-fits-all solution. Some things that might work for you include:
- Yoga or meditation
- Talking to a therapist
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (check out my quick video on this!)
You won’t ever rid yourself of all stress, but by finding techniques to reduce your stress to a more manageable level, you will increase the likelihood of succeeding with your dieting efforts.
The bottom line
I’ve had a TON of clients experience “dieting revelations” after focusing on these things.
I’m talking about nearly instant progress initiation after fixing poor sleep habits, drinking more water, or reducing stress levels.
I AM BEGGING YOU – Please consider these things before you spend money and time on a program, meal plan, restrictive process, or unsustainable option.
If you’ve already addressed sleep, water intake, and stress and you want to work 1:1 with a coach, no pressure, but I’d encourage you to check out our stellar team of educated coaches at KJO.
Connect with us!
Email: [email protected]
IG: @coachkaseyjo @kjocoaching