8 Weight Loss Mistakes I've Made |

8 Weight Loss Mistakes I’ve Made



You know how the cycle works.

  • You get fed up with being fat, jump on the scale, and make sure no ones looking.
  • *gasp*
  • Gorge yourself on a “last supper
  • Wobble into a gym and run on the treadmill for 5 minutes. You register on the Richter Scale.
  • The next morning you’re in pain.  Eat 1/2 a rice cake—shoot some wheat grass.  Head to work.
  • Worst day ever.
  • Return to gym.  Walk on treadmill.  Go home.  Eye Oreos.  Burn the bag in your fireplace.  Celebrate by pounding a Coke Zero.
  • The next morning, you weigh 3 lbs less.  Now you make a choice: 1) eat a burrito or 2) repeat plan from yesterday
  • You choose the rice cake—REPEAT
  • Late at night, you awake in a cold sweat.  Against your better judgement, you text Pizza Hut.  “Just one slice” you say.
  • The whole pizza.
  • Scale goes in the fireplace

I’ve said it before.  I’ve failed several diets over the years.


Years of trial + error have revealed many mistakes

1.  Skipping Breakfast

Skipping or having a small breakfast means less calories right?

Yes technically, but you’ll kill metabolism and be more likely to binge later

Lesson learned: 300-600 calorie breakfast rich with protein works for me.

2. Over/underestimating Calories

We tend to underestimate how many calories we eat and overestimate how many calories we burn exercising.

It’s a rude awakening learning that your favorite meal breaks 1000 calories easily.

Even more frustrating is finding that your calorie budget was wrong when you step on the scale expecting a loss…

Lesson learned: I use this—as other cool people do.

3. Wrong motives

The more vague or temporary the goal the more likely I’ve abandoned it when I stopped caring.

  • what happens after beach season?
  • or after you get the guy/girl?
  • or after you get your first compliment?

The better I can explain the “why” of getting healthy, the better my chances.

Lesson learned:  Question everything.  Especially your own motives.

4. Under/Over-tracking results

I used to think that the scale readout was the only important number.

If scale readout doesn’t change, consider:

  • Did you gain muscle?
  • Are you losing inches?
  • Are you sleeping better?
  • Are you more friendly/patient?
  • Do you have more energy?

Lesson learned:  The more “wins” you anticipate/celebrate, the more encouraging the journey is.

5. Poor exercise form/Over-exertion

I should know better—but I’m constantly making this mistake.

A couple days ago I hit the gym in the morning for 30 min, walked my dog for 30 min after work, then did a kettlebell workout.

Surprisingly, the only thing that hurts is my foot—but it hurt enough to make me second guess today’s workout.

Same goes for form especially in weight-lifting.  While not knowing the proper exercise should never be an excuse for not learning—you should learn the proper form or risk injury.

Lesson learned: A few hundred calories burned from over-exertion isn’t worth the resulting injury—Rome wasn’t built in a day.

6. Forbidden foods

There’s a lot of good vibes on these world wide internets that basically sounds like this:  when it comes to dieting, do what works for you!

So you want to go no-carb? Cool.  Want to shun all sugars? Sweet.

Not me.  I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out— I want to feel like I’m taking care of myself.  That’s what works for me.

Anytime I made a food forbidden, I obsessed and eventually binged on it.

Aside: Steve Martin has a great rule 

Lesson learned: It doesn’t have to be feast or famine—moderation is the thiiird way.

7. Forgetting to Build Muscle

Read it

or regret it

Lesson learned:  Building muscle helps me lose fat and keep it off.  I go simple with kettlebells and benchpress for now.

8. (In)Frequent Weigh-ins

I tried the monthly weigh-in—-I didn’t lose any weight.

I tried the daily weigh-in—I got discouraged by fluctuations and quit.

Lesson learned: Weekly weigh-ins work right for me.

 What lessons have you learned?

10. January 2013 by chris
Categories: Diet, Losing Weight | 9 comments

Comments (9)

  1. I have learned to do the head work about WHY so that I can stop the WHAT. I have also changed “no pain, no gain” to “no push, no gain”. Things don’t have to hurt to be effective.

    Good for us…conquering our previous mistakes!

    • That’s the only way to learn. We end up “busting” the myths along the way—but only after we find out that they weren’t helpful.

  2. Love your blog, Chris. You and I are like soul brothers when it comes to yo-yo dieting, frustrations about “diets” and the wrong motives. Keep up the great work. I’ll be watching and cheering you on as I continue on the same path.

  3. Hi Chris! You really do have thoughtful writing on your blog.

    Let’s see:

    1) I usually don’t eat breakfast (instead I eat “brunch” at 11:30 a.m.), and it hasn’t affected my metabolism at all. I don’t think the research is very strong in this area–for breakfast *or* against breakfast. I’ve seen both sides advocated.

    2) My first meal is also heavily protein.

    3) I used to *severely* underestimate my calories! Boy, did I used to eat a lot!

    4) Yes! People should get off those treadmills and ellipticals to go do heavy weightlifting and do serious yoga–for the reasons you say. Muscles!

    5) Yes, the only times I’ve injured myself in the gym was when I was too tired to keep good form. Now, I stop about 10 minutes before getting to that point. When I start preferring Bee Gees to Pitbull as a playlist, that means it is close to my time to stop.

    Great post!

    :-) Marion

    • Sounds like we’ve learned some of the same lessons. I need to pay better attention to my fitness level before attempting certain things…

      Yes it seems there are statistics/literature to support almost anything—but I’ve also seen it to be personally true that if I skimp on or don’t eat breakfast I end up paying for it later.

  4. Good stuff. I am always thinking about my metabolism, I don’t want it sitting idle longer than it needs to. I try to do something first thing in the morning to get it kicking, whether it’s a low intensity workout, a small meal, or even a glass of water (Bob Harper actually claims drinking a glass of water within like 10 minutes of waking up can do wonders).

    I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is not taking the scale too seriously. Yeah, it is a good measure of progress over time but there are SO many other factors that play in. The important thing is to not let it become a mind game if you want to weigh yourself frequently. I used to weigh myself every single morning. And after I did, *nerd alert* I would plug it in excel. This helped me see that despite the day to day fluctuations, I was on an overall downward trend…it was really powerful. I’m trying to stick to a regular weekly weigh-in on the same day, but now if I hop on the scale a few days in between it doesn’t throw me off at all.

    • I’m interested in metabolism but also frustrated by the concept because it seems difficult to find any consensus on it in the scientific community. I mean, I know it’s there, and I notice it revving up when I eat a good breakfast and workout—but it’s weird talking about the genetics of it.

      Consider my mom. She’s thin and about 5′ 6″—yet my sister and I (especially me)have always thrown on weight with ease. I’d like to read a good article explaining that.

      I like tracking results. I used to do the daily log but I wasn’t able to detach myself from the data—and instead of worrying about trends I became worried about daily numbers to the point of discouragement. I’m doing weekly right now—I can still look at trends and not get too caught up in daily ups and downs.

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