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October 2010 - 3 Common Mistakes Dieters Make

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Have you started a diet and you lost some initial weight, but now the weight has slowed down or completely stopped? You’re not alone. Weight loss is the number one reason clients come to my office for hypnosis. It’s a powerful tool to help you shed the pounds for good.

Here are 3 Common Mistakes Dieters Make.

Mistake #1 Not changing your calorie plan as you lose weight. Here is the fallacy of the "1200 calorie diet" plans and the like.

Most people fix their calorie intake to a given number and expect to lose weight at the same constant rate over a period of weeks. Hence, dieters look for 1000 calorie or 1800 calorie diet plans on the internet. The fixed calorie diet plans don't work. If you burn 3000 calories a day at the start of a diet, after a week or two of losing some weight, you are no longer burning 3000 calories. Now you might be burning 2800 calories. If you fix your calorie intake in the face of a decreasing calorie expenditure, your weight loss will slow down more and more as you lose weight.

If you want to lose weight at a constant rate, you must repeatedly:

  • Decrease your calorie intake to accommodate the calorie expenditure drop
  • Increase your calorie output by exercising more
  • Do both

It’s important to set realistic slow weight loss goals.

If you go for fast weight loss you would not be able to sustain it for a long period unless you go extreme in the calorie reduction and exercise a lot. For people who have to lose more than 20 pounds, the goal should be a loss of no more than 2 pounds per week. People who need to lose just a bit of weight should go for weight loss of 1 pound per week.

Why does my calorie expenditure drop as you lose weight? The most important factors are:

  • You weigh less. A smaller body burns less calories both at rest and while active
  • You may involuntarily burn fewer calories. Dieters often lack energy and move less
  • Calorie restriction suppresses the metabolic rate
  • You have less body fat, which may further suppress your metabolic rate

These major factors contribute to an ever-decreasing energy expenditure as one loses weight. The more a dieter cuts calories, the bigger the calorie expenditure drop. The leaner the dieter, the greater the calorie expenditure drop.

Now you must understand that if you want to succeed in losing weight, you have to make changes in your nutrition plan. I recommend burning more calories, because being more active facilitates smaller calorie restriction and milder calorie expenditure drop.

It is very difficult to estimate the rate of the metabolic drop. Here is the general rule: the bigger you are, the smaller the rate of the metabolic drop. The more weight you lose, the more you have to cut calories or increase exercise. If you are overweight you might need to cut just 10 more calories for every lost pound, while if you are lean you might have to cut 60 calories for every pound lost. I picked these numbers just as an example.

Mistake #2: Training with light weights and lots of reps.
I have seen countless number of ladies come to the gym, get the lightest possible dumbbells, crank out some hundreds of reps and go home. Most often, these women do not get the results they want. The problem with this type of training is that it does not burn many "extra" calories unless you spend a considerable amount of time in the gym.

Mistake #3: Going on very low calorie diets (VLCD)
Research has shown little to no difference in the weight loss rate of 1200 calorie diets and 800 calorie diets. The 1200 calorie threshold is the point where further calorie restriction does not yield faster results. Diets in the range of 800 to 1200 calories a day suppress the resting metabolic rate from the very first day and after some weeks on these diets, the metabolic rate has dropped by up to 20%. This metabolic drop is just a consequence of the calorie restriction factor; other factors such as the level of leanness may further depress the calorie expenditure.

A big percentage of the quick initial weight loss on a VLCD is water. VLCDs create an illusion of fast fat loss, while in reality most of the weight loss is water. It is hard to continue a very low calorie diet for a prolonged time because the harsh calorie restriction makes you hungrier than ever. People on VLCDs often lack energy and move very little. When you stop the diet, you are prone to instant overeating. Eating a very low calorie diet is the ticket to yo-yo dieting.

Instead of using very low calorie diets, I recommend diets with a mild calorie restriction and an emphasis on exercise.

Bodybuilders, powerlifters and athletes must stay away from very low calorie diets because the large calorie restriction causes a greater proportion of the weight loss to be muscle loss.

If you want to boost your weight loss, consider a hypnosis session or two. We also offer personalized CD’s for your weight loss reinforcement. Here’s the amazing news: your unconscious mind will totally accept positive suggestion, unlike your conscious critical mind that often acts as a saboteur. Whatever your unconscious mind imagines and accepts, you’re going to demonstrate. Your unconscious mind is like the hard drive on your computer in that it will either program you for failure or success. What programming would you like to have running in your unconscious mind?

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