June 1, 2016|Trina Potts CPT, CES, FNS

If you lose weight the right way, you only need to lose weight once. If you do it the wrong way, you will spend your entire life losing it.

We as women spend the two of the most valuable resources on losing weight…time and money. We put so much time into fad diets , supplements, surgery, shots, prescriptions,etc….we lose site of the big picture of losing the weight, keeping it off. 99% of what the  diet industry sells us doesn’t work  long term because we don’t fix whats going on , on the inside of us first. Below I have outlined 5 of the biggest mistakes women make when trying to lose weight.

“I eat pretty good” 


Most clients during their initial consultation with me, when I ask, Tell me about your eating habits?” They say, “Oh they are pretty good, I don’t eat a lot of sugar or bread,” or “I rarely eat during the day and I don’t eat a lot of junk.” Then I ask, So how much protein, veggies and fruits do you eat? Almost immediately the answer is, “Hmmm not enough!” Then I begin to dig a little more. Now I won’t say that the conversation continues to go down hill, but I will say, most of the time we steadily hit speed bumps. Truth is most people have a better perception of themselves than is reality when discussing their eating habits. The good thing is 99% of clients after this discussion say….”Ok, I don’t know it all, I am ready to learn how to get better as it relates to eating because I now understand that it is 80% of the issue as far as why I am not losing weight.”

80% of Americans are in denial about their eating habits

Glaxo Smith and Kline recently conducted an interesting survey to gauge the perception of how Americans perceive their eating habits. The results did not come as a surprise. The gist of the findings are as follows;

  • 79% (8 in 10) were satisfied with the state of their personal eating habits
  • 67% (2 in 3) admitted to practicing poor eating habits on at least a weekly basis. These include among others, skipping meals or eating when they are not hungry
  • 75% surveyed said that Americans have an unhealthy relationship with food
  • 52% believed that an immediate family member had an unhealthy relationship with food
  • 44% were concerned about their spouse’s eating habits

Is it me? or do these results show some inconsistencies?  Looks like people think that everyone else has the problem….If you want to lose weight you must be more aware about your previous and current situation. Most of the time by the time we are concerned about our eating habits we have created these negative habitual patterns, that of course we want to change asap(we will get to that later). Why is it, that we have issues like:  coming from a home where showing affection was not the norm….we say “I know I don’t show it , but I am working on it and it will take time!” “Give me some credit for the small changes I am making!” However, when we deal with years of not so good eating habits we say…give me 30 days and I will lose “x” lbs?” “I got this!” Well I will tell you…this negative habit it just like any other and it’s time that we start mentally and emotionally start accepting it. Just because losing the pounds affects my outward appearance more, hides what’s happening on the inside, doesn’t mean it gets any easier.

What can I do about this?

Increase your awareness! Increase your awareness! Start a journal. I put all my clients on an online food journal for at least 4 weeks. I give them some specific nutrition coaching with the ultimate goals being…How am I doing with my goals? What can I do about it? What is realistic based on my prior habits? We make changes day by day and week by week. In other words seek out help of a professional that is able to help you make better decisions, but only do it when you are convinced that you can’t do it alone! It doesn’t require a doctor, nutritionist,etc(although they can be of help for more serious situations). Find a coach like a certified personal trainer that has some education and experience with nutrition.

Fad dieting


Do any of these ring a bell? HCG, South Beach Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Volumetric Diet, Raw Food Diet….Guess what they all have in common? They claim to cause significant weight loss, sometimes up to 5-10 lbs a week. Conceptually they all should work, realistically they are not sustaining. Have you ever tried fad dieting? If so, you are not alone. Truth is most people know it’s not the best way to lose weight, but they know it if they can do it they will have quicker success. Most diets really work! Truth is…they are unrealistic and can cause more harm than good.

Have you ever had long term success with “fad dieting?” If so, what drove your success? Threatened with a chronic disease? Loss of a family member due to their weight? You just may be of the 5% that have success. According to a 1999 article by The New York Times…”It is a depressing article of faith among the overweight and those who treat them that 95 percent of people who lose weight regain it — and sometimes more — within a few months or years.”

Short-Term Success

Fad diets produce significant weight loss early because they dangerously reduce caloric intake. Typical low-carb, high-fat and low-fat, high-carb diets keep your daily caloric intake under 1,500 calories and some fewer than 500 calories. Since many overweight and obese people consume over 3,000 calories a day, initially weight loss occurs and often at the rate of 5+ pounds a week.

Once you get pass 10 lbs of weight loss or “fake loss ” people will begin to notice your perceived success.

Long-Term Obstacles

The body processes a severe reduction in calories as starvation, so it lowers your metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories, to increase your chances of survival. The bodies survival mechanism is fat, so it will eventually start holding on to fat for survival.

The initial weight loss that many of these diets produce is because of water loss , eventually producing dehydration. Does anyone think dehydration is good or long term? Nope. Once you rehydrate many of those pounds return. This reduces weight loss as the diet progresses. When your body really thinks its in “survival mode,” it catabolizes muscle and uses it as energy rather than burning body fat. Some scientists say 25 to 50 percent of weight loss during a fad diet comes from muscle loss.

Muscle requires energy throughout the day. Less muscle means fewer calories burned. If you lose 9 pounds of muscle through fad dieting and or not intaking enough protein to compensate. Moreover, less muscle means fewer calories burned during physical activity and even at rest. While the combination of the two reduces the rate of weight loss as the fad diet continues, it makes keeping the weight off after the goal weight is reached almost impossible.

Another obstacle…how do you explain how you put all that weight back on? and most of the time you are bigger than when you started “again?” Truth is many will not say anything and draw their own conclusions…however you will start your own internal energy draining struggle all over again!

What can I do about it?

Deal with the fact that you will be to take the approach of losing weight the healthy way so that you can keep it off. Don’t start another fad diet the rest of your life because it will not work. The first step, is to sit down with someone that is educated about nutrition and set up basic nutritional guidelines which incorporate your realistic goals and execute the plan. Think big picture and focus on living a sincere healthy lifestyle, rather than faking a healthy lifestyle…because eventually people will see right through you!

Believing will power and setting expectations are the only answer

Oh wait, there is more than just setting goals and expectations?? Yes , you have to make this a lifestyle until you die! Sorry I know the truth hurts. The great thing is…it’s a choice. Know in advance…it is easy to make the choice, but it will be difficult , sometimes remembering why you made the choice on your journey. So…why is it important to make eating healthy and exercising a lifestyle? Because your life, your families life and generations to come depend on it. YOU have to step up and break this generational curse.
The Presidents Council On Fitness, Sports & Nutrition says it’s important  to exercise because physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.  Eat Healthy our food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future depends on it .
People make the mistake of thinking that only cocaine, heroin, , alcohol, sex,etc are addictive. Well food is the most addictive drug of them all! Why do I call it a drug? Well here is why… The Google definition of a drug is this….a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. When we eat bad foods that we know aren’t good for us, why do we do it anyways? Because it satisfies a current emotion that we are feeling. I wonder what we would do if they started putting us in jail for abusing our bodies with food? Unfortunately, that will never happen because the food industry would go bankrupt. So I guess what? Its all on YOU.

What can I do about it?

YOU have got to start making changes within in your family. Start educating yourself and then your family. You don’t have to go cold turkey(that will put your body in shock) and cut out all bad things at one time. You start by making small changes, like the following:
  • If you eat out 5 times a week- reduce to 3 then 1
  • If you eat simple carbs at every meal- reduce to 2 then 1
  • If you drink soda everyday- reduce to 3 days then 1 day
  • If you don’t exercise at all- start 1 day a week and increase to 3 days

You don’t have to go crazy…crazy doesn’t work in any situation. Seek the help of a professional if this is your first rodeo.

 Eating Too Little


Why do so many of us have the impression that eating less is the answer to weight loss? Well it’s not! You are essentially starving yourself if you are not getting at least 1000-1200 cals/day. You will set yourself up for failure doing anything below(at least 99% of us). There is a point at which cutting calories will work against weight loss because consuming too few calories leads to increased appetite and low satiety as your body prevents starvation. The body is always in survival mode and does what it needs to keep you safe. Why do we think we can possibly keep this up? Eventually you will start getting dizzy, unable to exercise, your health will start to fail because of lack of nutrients, lack of sleep, stress, hitting walls during the day, trouble focusing, etc. Is losing a few pounds worth all that? Even if it is, you will just gain it all back because of under-eating and over-eating cycles.

Your body will say… lose fat or muscle. An inadequately fueled body will choose to drop muscle rather than fat. Excessive loss of lean muscle mass leads to weight loss without improvement of body composition or health improvements.

Have you ever seen someone overweight but never see them eating. You say to yourself “they should be losing weight!” There are a few reasons: the ones mentioned above, night eating syndrome, they eat when no one is watching, amongst several other reasons. The body will get what it needs eventually. Many of these issues come from several different diseases, where your mental state about eating is a challenge. If you feel that mentally it is too overwhelming to eat healthy and normal throughout the day then my advice is to seek medical advice.

Ever think that there could be a more pleasurable and successful way to manage your weight? There is?and it’s simple: eat high-volume foods more often.

What can I do about this?

Create an eating plan to control your calories and make sure you’re eating balanced meals and snacks. A consistent eating pattern will control your energy level, appetite, cravings, blood glucose and insulin levels. Plus–eating regular meals and snacks help you practice portion control and fuel your resting metabolism.


At the end of the day losing weight is a journey not a sprint. Unfortunately, the health and fitness industry has trained us to believe there is a quick fix and that losing weight can be easy. It’s not and will never be. Even if there is some magic pill developed, the industry will not allow it because billions of dollars will be lost on weight lost gimmicks and products. What I will say is there are several licensed counselors that are ready to help you get over the mental hurdles because that is what this is all about…controlling your mind. Once you can figure out what your hurdles are, you can then accept them and begin to make small changes. Just like some of us say to alcoholics….”stop drinking!” And to the drug addict…”stop doing drugs!” We know its not practical. Food does the same thing for you that alcohol and drugs do for them…fills a void. In closing, I would say start exercising(even if its just one day) and try to make healthier choices(even if its stopping one soda a day). Seek out the help of a professional to help you mentally prepare for the next level. If you cannot motivate yourself to take the first steps, seek out help immediately. There are many affordable choices out there. Work towards making your willpower stronger than your excuses. Do something NOW…