7 Common Fat Loss Mistakes Women Make

June 20, 2022

About the Author: Eric Bach Performance

There’s nothing worse than working your butt off and not losing weight.

Your effort isn’t the problem: The problem is, you’re likely making these 7 Common Fat Loss Mistakes most women make.

With the mounds of (contradictory) information on the best way to lose fat it’s almost impossible to know what to do, let alone stay consistent long enough to make the progress you deserve.

This begs the question: What should you focus on to get your old body back…or how can you lose fat and keep it off?

In the world of information overload, it’s best to flip your focus and find out what you should avoid.

Removing “mistakes”  makes it easier to focus on the simple steps needed to transform your body.

Mistake #1:  Comparing Yourself To Your Past (Or Others)

Comparison is the thief of joy. Problem is that humans are tribal–we’re going to compare ourselves to our peers to see where we fit into the tribe regardless.

First, remember most of what you see on social media is curated only to show peoples’ wins. You don’t see the battles, struggles, or raw versions of reality.

When you compare yourself (often when you’re battling mentally), you’re measuring your current progress against someone else’s made-up ideal life without any context of what it took to get there.

Second, many people compare their progress to influencers, trainers, athletes’ and say, “I want to look like that.”

Before you do, remember this context: Athletes, influencers, and trainers have their entire life built around their bodies. Fitness often consumes their life. Speaking from personal experience, many of them wish they could relax and have a more sustainable approach. The majority struggle as much (if not more) with the impossible vertical of comparison syndrome on social media.

We’re not equipped to compare ourselves to the top .01% of people in the world as we do on social media.

Limit your social media consumption–you’ll be better off for it.

Equally problematic is comparing your physique to where you were 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years ago. Consider this, especially if you were an athlete.

1.You had less professional responsibility (more time, less stress)

2.You had less personal and family responsibility (more time, less stress)

3.You may have had your workouts designed specifically for you (no thinking, no information overload, less stress)

4.You had diet guidance  (no thinking, no information overload, less stress)

5.You had the accountability and support of a team and coaches (more consistency, guidance)

6.You were at your physiological peak (hormonally)

7.You burned more calories (so you could eat more of your favorite foods w/o gaining weight)

When you were younger, your body was physiologically optimized to look, feel, and perform better. You had less stress, more time, and were more active.

When your life changes, so must your approach to fitness and your expectations of what you can accomplish.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold yourself to a high standard and work hard–but you should base your expectations and actions on reality.

Mistake #2:  Low Carb & Ultra Low-Calorie Dieting

“If you’re constantly in fat loss mode, you’ll never be able to lose fat.”- Derek Stanley.

Tell me if this sounds familiar:  You want to lose weight. So, you follow an aggressive diet. You’re eating clean but not eating a ton while crushing it in the gym.

Body fat is melting off of you for the first 3 weeks until….

WHAM. You hit a wall.

Everything stops working.

You second guess your plan and look for something else.

You’re lethargic, cranky, and constantly stressed. You either try to push harder (but dig yourself a deeper hole) or say “fuck it” before falling back into old habits. This is a brutal dieting cycle many women find themselves in.

Here’s what’s happening and more importantly, how you can break the cycle.

Your body does not want to be in a deficit. A calorie deficit is inherently stressful and your body wants to hold onto body fat (energy) as a natural protective mechanism. The longer and harder you diet, the more your body slows down. 

1.Your thyroid levels (crucial for metabolism) will decrease.

2.Your cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone) will increase, leading to more stress and fat on your trouble spots.

3.Estrogen and progesterone can become dysfunctional, leading to hormonal imbalances.

4.Your mental and physical performance will crater, and yes, fat loss stops dead in its tracks.

If you reach this stage, you can’t simply eat less and move more–you’re just digging yourself a hole.

The only way out of the hole is to exercise less and eat more to repair your body.

So, how do you avoid this brutal cycle in the first place?

1. Eat as much as possible while losing about one pound per week. Your body can only lose fat so fast. If you want to lose it and keep it off, the process must be gradual. The higher you keep your calories, the healthier your metabolism will stay.

As an example, my client Jenna lost 130 pounds. In 18 months. Because we went slow and steady, she’s been able to keep it off for 7 years and counting.

Read it here: https://bachperformance.com/how-i-helped-jenna-lose-130-pounds-and-inspire-millions/

2. Keep protein intake around 1g/1lb of bodyweight. I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of protein. And it is. But the science is undisputed: to optimize your performance and physique, eating around 1 g of protein per pound of body weight helps you build/retain and muscle, which preserves your metabolic rate.

3. Take periodic diet breaks. If you diet too long, you’ll down regulate your metabolism. For chunks of the year, you should be eating at maintenance calories or slightly above. Otherwise, you’ll gradually downregulate metabolic function. Take a two-week break from dieting every 8-12 weeks to eat at maintenance. You’ll be able to lose fat more effectively and stay healthier.

4. Avoid ultra-low carb diets. Low carb diets are popular because they help you lose weight, primarily due to the loss of water weight. This gives you immediate buy-in to think, “hey, this works!”

But carbs aren’t the problem. Many times people consider foods like fries or pizza to be carb-heavy when the truth is, more calories from those foods actually come from fat.

Evidence is clear that when calories and protein are consumed equally, a low-fat diet isn’t any better than a low-carb diet.

Low carb diets can even cause long-term hormonal dysfunction in women.

No one ever got fat eating baked sweet potatoes and blueberries. Eat clean carbs in moderation.

Mistake #3: Doing “Fat Loss Workouts”

High rep toning workouts for faster fat loss” is one of the worst-kept lies in the fitness industry.

Despite what you’ve believed, MORE intervals and only focusing on “high rep” training to tone exercises and burn more calories won’t get you the body you want.

Sure, you might see the scale drop for 3 weeks, but you’ll hit a plateau shortly thereafter.

In most cases, you’ll lose muscle which can slow down your resting metabolic rate (RMR), meaning you’ll burn fewer calories during the 164 hours per week that you’re not exercising.

If you train too long and too hard while dieting too hard. If you find yourself constantly on edge, shivering/cold, or experiencing amenorrhea (your menstrual cycle may disappear or become inconsistent) there’s a chance you’re pushing too hard.

A better option is to lift heavy (think 4-8 reps per set) while focusing mostly on multijoint, compound exercises like squats, lunges, hip thrusts, presses, and rows.

Doing so helps you build strength and muscle. In turn, you’ll develop curves in the right places and reveal more muscle tone while your diet takes care of “fat loss.

Mistake #4: The Fitness Perfectionist Mindset

Being “All in” or “all-out” leads most people to be all out.

When life isn’t busy, they train hard and eat well.

When life gets busy (and it always gets busier) they’re inconsistent with workouts and opt for the drive-through because they’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and starving.

The key to transforming your body isn’t limitless motivation or going ALL in with every area of your life.

The key is to navigate the chaos of your life and, even in the face of a hectic schedule, to make the best decision with the time and options you have.

Here are some examples:

1.When you can’t train 5 days per week? Train 3 days.

2.When you can’t spend an hour in the gym? Spend 15 minutes at home.

3.When you can’t make the perfect nutritional choice at a restaurant? Skip the fries and get a side salad.

If you wait for the “perfect” time or a less busy time, you’ll never develop the skills and habits to navigate life and stay healthy when life inevitably gets busy.

Inside Bach Performance we teach our clients to focus on Non-Negotiable Wellness Habits to improve health and fat loss before they even step foot in the gym.

 

Remember, consistency compounds. Success comes from the ruthless execution of the basics–not limitless motivation or working hard when life is “perfect.”

Mistake #5 Avoiding Proactive Stress Management

Do you find yourself taking care of everyone else but neglecting your own self-care?

Many of the women we work with spend so much time pouring into their family, friends, and careers that they forget to take care of themselves.

Eventually, they find themselves so exhausted and stressed that they feel like a shell of the person they used to be.

When you’ve made decisions all day, the last thing you want to do is make the healthy meal choice when UberEats is 3 clicks and 30 minutes away.

So, what else is stressful?

1.Living in the modern world–non-stop connection to devices, news.

2.Comparing yourself to others or the body you used to have before.

3.Eating at a steep calorie deficit to lose body fat. 

4.Training (especially long cardio, intervals, and high rep weight training)…even more so when dieting.

5.A lack of sleep.

6.Stimulants to make up for a lack of sleep.

7.Work deadlines, kids, bills, and getting cut off in traffic.

The more stressed you get, the less resistant you become to stress.

When you get less resistant to stress, you’re on edge, and every physiological process (from cognitive function) to physical performance takes a hit.

Cortisol–your body’s primary stress hormone, increases and makes it more likely you’ll gain stubborn fat around your hips, thighs, and the backs of your arms.

That’s why it can feel like you’re doing all the right things yet continuing to struggle to build your best body despite your hard work.

The big takeaway is this: Stress management becomes 10x more crucial to your fitness results as you get older. 

 

1.Go for a daily walk without your phone

2.Meditate for 5 minutes each morning before the day gets going

3.Journal and write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day.

4.Carve out non-negotiable time for yourself–and communicate it to your significant other

Your training and nutrition have to adapt to the other changes taking place in your life–or you’ll simply dig yourself a deeper hole, gain body fat, and feel like nothing is working despite your effort.

Mistake #6: Not Factoring In Hormones

No hormonal issue, imbalance, or whatever, can negate a calorie deficit. But that doesn’t mean hormones don’t play a huge role in the fat loss process, and the proper regulation of the following is critical to how efficiently and easily you lose fat.

Here are a few important hormones:

1.Insulin, the blood sugar regulator. When you gain body fat and are less active, you often become less sensitive to insulin. Your body doesn’t handle carbs as well as it used to. Losing weight improves insulin sensitivity, allowing you to eat more of your favorite foods without gaining body fat.

2.Leptin: The Anti-Starvation Hormone. Leptin slows your metabolism to prevent starvation when you’re short on food, suppressing energy expenditure until fat mass is restored.  When there is an abundance of food, leptin increases to suppress your appetite. If you ALWAYS diet, leptin levels get out of whack, and you won’t be able to transform your body.

3.Ghrelin: the Hunger regulator. Ghrelin is responsible for physiological hunger. If you eat at inconsistent times (read: you’re always on the go), your body sends inconsistent hunger signals. For many people, this leads to non-stop snacking or binge eating.

4.Cortisol: Stress. Your primary stress hormone, cortisol, is a “blunt” tool that rises due to ALL causes of stress. Elevated cortisol (stress) increases ghrelin (hunger), lowers testosterone and growth hormone (powerful fat burners), and can lead to additional body fat.

5.Thyroid: Metabolic Manager. Thyroid supports fat loss, muscle growth, and energy levels. Long-term calorie restriction (dieting) downregulates your thyroid and makes it harder to lose fat, build muscle, and have energy.

6.Estrogen: reproductive health. Estrogen is both fat storing and fat burning depending on your levels. Having optimal estrogen levels improves heart, liver, bone, skin, reproductive and skin health.

7.Progesterone: The estrogen balancer. Imbalance can cause insulin resistance, elevated cortisol, low sex drive, depression, and missing menstrual cycles.

8.Growth Hormone (GH): the anti-aging fat burner. GH is responsible for bone, muscle, tendon, and tissue growth while promoting fat loss.

So, why do all these hormones matter?

Simple. If your hormone levels are out of whack, your body can’t do its job. While we’re not medical doctors or here to treat any underlying medical condition, there are a few action steps you can take to optimize hormone levels and, as a result, get the body you want: 

1.Actively reduce stress (more below)

2.Strength train regularly

3.Get 7-9 hours of sleep.

4.Avoid drugs, alcohol, plastics, and toxins.

5.Consume a balanced diet (eat the rainbow)

6.Sustainable lose weight and avoid long-term calorie restriction.

In other words, you need to focus on the basics. By emphasizing the simple-to-follow steps above, you’ll eliminate many issues and keep your body functioning at its best.

Mistake #7: Ignoring the impact of your menstrual cycle 

You’ve been there – you’re running on all cylinders in the gym, sticking to the diet perfectly, and the fat seems to be melting off… then all of a sudden, that special time of the month comes, and everything comes to a screeching halt. 

The cramps come, the uncontrollable cravings ramp up, and you’re just not feeling the motivation to make it into the gym. 

Failing to plan for your cycle is resulting in a lost opportunity. By harnessing your hormonal shifts during different stages of your menstrual cycle, you can supercharge your strength training, light up the fat loss, and enhance your ability to cope with stress.

During the first half of your menstrual cycle, or the follicular phase (time from your period until ovulation), your hormone balance is typically estrogen dominant. During this phase, your cravings ramp up, but you’ll also respond better to strength training, so don’t skip your workouts during this phase. This is the perfect opportunity to train more and eat more – research has found that strength training during this phase results in higher increases in muscle strength compared to training in the luteal phase.

                       Fat Loss Mistakes Women Make   

Credit: Ekem at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

The second half of your cycle, or the luteal phase. Progesterone becomes dominant compared to estrogen. You become more reactive to stress and typically have less endurance. Take your scheduled rest days and proactively reduce stress with daily walks and meditation.

Chances are, you won’t be setting personal records in the gym, but you can still make incredible progress. Stay diligent with your diet to match a slightly reduced exercise volume and intensity.

Work with your cycle, not against it. Done correctly, you’ll build strength, lean muscle, and by extension, lose more fat long-term.

Avoiding Fat Loss Mistakes & Staying In Shape

Every year it gets a little bit harder to stay in shape.

You have more demands on your personal and professional life.

Your body doesn’t bounce back as quickly as it did before. And confusing and contradictory fitness information makes its way into your life–clouding the truth about the best way to look, feel, and perform your best.

It’s as if you’re rockin’ the body you always wanted…And suddenly the rug gets pulled out from underneath your feet, and you can quickly find yourself gaining weight, slowing down, and struggling both physically and mentally.

Or you’re not working out as much, so the foods you used to be able to get away with…now set up shop on your hips, thighs, and waist.

Or your joints simply can’t take the pounding they did before, and you have to completely change how you approach fitness.

You no longer have the same energy you did before, and you’re dragging through the day. As your body and lifestyle change, so must your approach to fitness.

Fitness must improve your life–not consume it.

That’s precisely what the Bach Performance Team teaches you to do–how to adjust to training to meet you where you are now and build your best body possible–and give you the tools to sustain it.

The fat loss mistakes covered above may be different from the other internet advice you’ve read. And it may contradict what you’ve been led to believe.

So if you’re 100% satisfied with where you are right now, keep doing what you’re doing.

If you’re not 100% satisfied with the reflection in the mirror or want to continue improving your health, physique, and confidence…book a complimentary transformation call:

https://calendly.com/bachperformance/bach-performance-fitnesscoaching

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