Weight Loss Tips: The 3 Best and 3 Worst Mistakes

I receive countless emails that start off like this…

In January I was 190 lbs at 25% body fat. 8 weeks ago I stopped seeing results. The last 8 weeks while cutting down I have dropped a few pounds (which I don’t really want to do) and my body fat has remained the same.

What many people fail to realize when cutting is the concept of nutritional periodization. All too frequently, I get e-mails from frustrated weight loss seekers who have been on a calorie deficit for MONTHS. While they understand the basics of calorie cutting and what it means to be in a deficit, very few of them use a Zig-Zag method or fully comprehend the deficits or length a cutting cycle can have on their metabolism.

People who seek to lose weight grasp the very basics.

  1. Calculate calories
  2. Eat less
  3. Eat good foods
  4. Keep cutting until I achieve the desired effect

While that works, at some point they hit a wall and what’s the 1st thing they want to do?

EXERCISE MORE and EAT LESS!

Which is the wrong approach. Nobody told them about the tips below.

The 3 best tips for fat loss are as follows:

1) Cycle your calories and your carbohydrates. This can be referred to as the Zig-Zag approach. In a nutshell, it’s defined as days of maintenance calories mixed with days in a calorie deficit.

2) Understanding your personal level of tolerance to carbohydrates. There are great differences in the way people process foods. You can find your nutritional ratio and then adjust it according to your personal needs and tolerances that you will discover thru experience.

3) “If man made it, don’t’ eat it!” – Jack Lalanne. You need to eat natural foods and avoid refined foods. I notice in many meal plans, more than 20% of the daily protein requirements are coming from protein shakes. My own rule is not to get more than 20% of my daily protein from supplements.

The 3 biggest mistakes are as follows:

1) Too severe of a calorie deficit:

  • 15% below maintenance = very conservative deficit
  • 20% below maintenance = conservative deficit
  • 25% below maintenance = moderate deficit
  • 30% below maintenance = aggressive deficit
  • 35%+ below maintenance = very aggressive deficit
  • 50%+ below maintenance = semi-starvation/starvation

2) Too prolonged of a calorie deficit. More than 12-16 weeks of a calorie deficit could result in a lowered metabolism. The concept of nutritional periodization of cycling calories and carbohydrates comes into play after out 12 weeks depending on your overall progress.

3) Over-training while under-nourished. Long stints of high intensity work in a long period of calorie deprivation no matter how small.

I’d love to take credit for these weight loss tips. Unfortunately I can’t. While I did adjust them and add some of my own tips, I pulled the real gems from pages 47-48 of THE FAT BURN FILES, a unique collection of by Tom Venuto. It gets 2 thumbs up from me because of the way it reveals everything that DOESN’T work as well as what DOES work for burning fat and gaining muscle… all in a fascinating, entertaining personal interview format.

Photo of the Perfect Weight by Jill Greenseth Used under a Creative Commons license

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2 Responses to "Weight Loss Tips: The 3 Best and 3 Worst Mistakes"

  1. Justin:
    July 16, 2008 04:51 pm

    Great Post! Whenever I was cutting or dieting for long periods of time, I would hit the same type of wall. After awhile your body just gets used to being in a deficit.

    Cycling carbs, along with eating a little more than usual every few days helped me get passed the hump.

    I really like #3, as I feel that eating natural foods is really the only way to get your body in really good shape. You can’t expect to look good if all you eat is processed foods that come out of boxes.

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  2. Andre JR JJM Lejeune Desjardin:
    July 20, 2008 01:13 pm

    I have been following your page and the Muscle Nerd for almost two years now. Every free tip I use and test. Well let me tell you where I am at. I started at 6’3 290pnds, I could not even put my socks on I was so fat. With your fat loss tips I slowly burned off 65 pnds in almost two years and made it to a slim 225 looking good. Ok fat is gone time to weighlift.

    Started turbulent training, just by the free tips and info of the general thing. I am now 247 pnds, thats right I gained 22 pnds of muscle mass in 4 months. My arms are 17inch&1/4 my chest is bulging out like Hanz and Franz my tricepts are huge and my legs are strong as hell. All this at 40…..

    To make a long story short Marc, thank you for your free time you are making a difference out there I am sure of it…

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