The first and most important mistake is choosing a diet or weight loss plan that’s overly restrictive and difficult to follow. Whether that’s restricting food choices or limiting eating windows, it’s very hard to stick to this long term. Studies have shown very low long-term adherence. Science has proven that eliminating enjoyable food groups (like carbs) isn’t necessary for weight loss and fitness. Time restricted eating is also no better than eating all throughout the day when calories are equated.
The second biggest mistake is adopting a 7 day/week intense exercise program. This is also very difficult to adhere to long term. It’s also unnecessary. Sure, some people may be able to stick to it for a few months, but then it’s very hard to continue doing that for the nest ten to fifteen years. Research has shown that adopting an enjoyable form of activity, that can be adhered to long term, provides the most benefit and best cardiovascular risk reduction.
The third biggest mistake is developing an unhealthy relationship with food. Studies have shown that people who develop a healthy relationship with food (and exercise) are more likely to succeed and stick to their plan long term. People need to be excited and enjoy foods that they love. Not restrict and avoid certain foods groups based on the latest fad. We don’t want to label any food as inherently “good” or inherently “bad”. Food is food. Use it properly to fuel fitness goals. It’s ok to eat pizza and ice cream, just enjoy it and make sure it fits into the overall program.
The most important thing is to get into a calorie deficit. Eating less than you need to maintain your current body weight Is non-negotiable.
Science has shown that the amount of energy that can be burned off with exercise is constrained. Humans can only burn X number of calories with exercise and more exercise doesn’t necessarily translate into more calories being burned. This is now known as the “Constrained Model of Exercise”.
Physicians need to stop telling patients to exercise for weight loss. This isn’t true. People should exercise for fun, for health, and for longevity. But it’s not necessary for weight loss.
It’s important for people to eat foods that they like so that they can do this for the next 20-50 years. People aren’t going to stick to a diet for very long if they are told to eat only certain foods that taste terrible to them. It’s too restrictive and not practical.
In today’s scientific literature we now know so much more about diet, exercise, and weight loss. Research on this topic is abundant now compared to even just 5 years ago.
Science has shown us that people don’t have to avoid carbs, workout 7 days/week, eat tons of fat, eat only from 1-4pm, avoid foods they love, and run 20 miles per week in order to achieve their health and fitness goals.