I’ve got a friend of mine who just can’t lose any weight. Every day he telling anyone who will listen how hard he’s been working out at the gym, “but I just can’t understand why I’m not shifting the weight” he complains. Now before I get into what he’s doing wrong, I can assure you I’m not making this bloke up. He’s not some convenient figment of my imagination, just to facilitate this blog. He’s a real person, and most people in the UK who go on diets fall into most if not all of these traps.
So what’s he doing wrong? Well he’s making some pretty common mistakes.
1. Over estimating gym calories
He looks up on the internet how many calories a gym session has and he’s given three values depending on whether the gym session was easy, medium or hard. He crawled out of the gym on his hands and knees so he thinks it must be hard at 750 calories. But the hard workout option only really applies to the supper fit guys in the gym, the ones who can run on the treadmill at 9 miles an hour for an hour. Trouble is he’s three stone over weight and not that fit so he only does 15 mins on the treadmill and then the rest is lifting weights with his mates, where three of them take it in tuns to do sets in between chatting. He should have chosen the easy setting at 400 calories. It was hard for him, but in the grand scale of things it wasn’t a very intensive workout.
2. Doing nothing other than gym workouts.
“What did you do at the weakened?”
“Nothing really, couldn’t move all day Saturday after that killer gym session on friday night”.
This bloke drives everywhere. Sits in a chair all day at work and his only hobby (other than eating out), is vegging out in front of the TV. His 400 calories at the gym three times a week don’t even come close to compensating for his sedentary lifestyle
3. Not counting calories
I don’t think you have to be obsessive about it, but he’s got no idea at all how many calories are in anything. Last week he bought a pasta salad to work he had made himself. This was his healthy option. It must have been 1,000 calories at least – I couldn’t convince him other wise. “Pasta’s low fat he said, this has got to be slimming”. Honestly I’m not making this up.
4. He has no idea of the scale of the problem.
He’s about 5’6” and around 15 stone. So he’s 3-4 stone (40 – 60 lb) over weight. If he lost 1 lb a week it would take him over a year to get to where he want’s to be. Thats a deficit of 500 calories every day for a year. But because of his sedentary lifestyle his maintenance level is only around 1,700 – 1,800 calories a day, so he’s got to live on 1,200 calories. That’s really, really tough. In fact he would need to take some breaks to reset his hormones and just generally ease up a bit, because that level of dieting is realistically too hard. So with a few diet breaks, he’s looking at spending nearly two years at around 1,200 calories a day most of the time and he’s got no idea what 1,200 calories looks like.
5. Not counting liquid calories
At the moment he’s daily coffee consumption is almost 1,200 calories (thee large cappuccinos a day) . And he says that he can’t live without his coffee and he can’t stand coffee without sugar. Plus he drinks tea all day if he’s not drinking coffee and he puts two sugars in his tea.
6. HIIT for fat loss.
Yes HIIT workouts burn more fat for each minute than a steady state cardio workout does, But 30 mins of HIIT (my mate isn’t fit enough to get any real intensity) is only burning him maybe 200 calories tops. If he went for a two hour walk (which he could do) 700 calories. A round of golf 1,000 calories (if he left the buggy at the clubhouse, which he never does). Waling a dog every day (2,000 calories a week).
High Intensity workouts are great for a lot of reasons, but they are not the answer for unfit people who are otherwise completely sedentary. He says he’s busy, but he spends 20+ hours a week comatose in front of the TV.
7. Eating low fat foods
He thinks if it says low fat on the label then he can east as much of it as he wants. And doesn’t realise that when he eats low fat he’s usually eating high sugar. The result is that he spends his evenings and weekends sleeping on the sofa, because he’s mostly in a carb induced stupor, which in turn is why he needs three sugary coffees every day to do anything.