Dieting while working out can be difficult. There are so many people that want to get in shape, lose some weight, and feel great. It is a good goal to work towards.
And in working towards that goal most people use a combination of dieting and exercise as a means to get there.
Does this sound like you?
If so, you are going to want to keep reading.
There are several mistakes that people make when dieting while working out that can really backfire and cause you to not see the results you hoped for.
And what’s worse is that some of these mistakes are things that you would never think would be harming you and your results.
Why You Need to Avoid These Mistakes When Dieting While Working Out
For each individual misstep, we will talk about why you want to avoid it specifically. This section is more general or an overall assessment.
All of these errors have a few things in common.
First, they all throw you off your goal. As I said earlier, some of these mistakes you would not think would slow down your goals.
When your progress is slowed, it can be very discouraging and even lead to you giving up.
Second, they aren’t healthy for your body. Even if you think they should be, you need to look closer.
When losing weight or getting in shape, it is vital that you take care of your body in the right way.
Always keep in mind these changes you are making occur on the outside as well as the inside.
Mistakes to Avoid
1. Choosing Diet Food
I am putting this mistake first because I believe it is so important that you know and always remember.
Do NOT get sucked into fads.
Getting sucked into the latest trend like calorie-free sweeteners and gluten-free diets are not the way to go.
They can greatly set you back. Even though they sound like they should be a healthier option, they rarely are.
For starters, you need to get rid of the “eating fat makes you fat” mentality.
Eating the right fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet.
So, don’t be afraid to eat a salad that has full-fat dressing or even yogurt made with whole milk.
Many low-fat items are packed with sugar. Just look at these 2 nutrition labels below. The first label is for Original Ranch and the second label is for Fat-Free Ranch
The fat-free Ranch dressing has more sugar, more carbohydrates, and more sodium than the original Ranch dressing.
Fat helps your body to absorb vitamins and antioxidants.
Which means it is important to make sure you are getting healthy fats, since they are vital for your muscles to strengthen and repair them.
I also want to point out gluten-free diets.
Do not stick to a gluten-free diet unless you are diagnosed with an intolerance. Studies have shown that people who have eaten 14g of gluten a day for two weeks had no health issues.
And many gluten-free foods are not as healthy as they seem. They are usually loaded with sugar to compensate for the other ingredients that need to be cut out.
The best thing you can do to combat this misstep is to limit your sugar intake and to use natural sources for a replacement, such as honey.
And always read the nutrition label. To learn how to read a nutrition label, check out this post.
2. Only Focusing on Scale Weight
This is a huge mistake and you never want to fall into this trap.
If you are dieting and working out, but you are only looking at the scale, you are bound to be disappointed.
I don’t say this to discourage anyone. There is just one huge fact that people tend to overlook.
Your actually weight might not change much.
BUT you could be losing inches and toning areas.
Make sure to be measuring parts of your body that you are hoping to slim down, such as your waist, arms, and thighs.
If you are looking for a quick, easy, and fun way track this, check out the section on Body Measurement Bullet Journals in my Bullet Journal Post.
Combat this mistake of dieting while working out by always keeping in mind that you could be building muscle and losing fat, but the scale won’t show all of that.
Take measurements and track your progress that way.
3. Skipping Refueling When Dieting While Working Out
Many people when wanting to lose weight opt for cutting carbs, reducing calories, or even skipping meals.
The problem here is that your body is not getting what it needs. Especially when you are working out.
When you skip refueling and your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, it causes the breakdown in muscles.
This is one of the biggest reasons to make sure you eat enough when you are working out. Your muscles use the carbs you eat as a source of fuel.
Your muscles store carbohydrates, called glycogen, which is used as energy for your muscles when working out.
Skipping out on eating causes a decrease in your energy levels as well.
So, always make sure you are eating properly even when you are dieting and working out.
If you need some ideas on what to eat before and after your exercise, check out my post, Before and After Workout Snacks to Get the Best Form Your Workout.
You can ensure you don’t make this error by making sure you are eating enough and not shying away from the carbs when you are working out.
4. Overestimating How Many Calories You Burn
When researching common mistakes, I found this on to be very interesting. I wanted to add it to the list because I think it is a downfall most people would never think of.
And it is one you really want to stay away from.
Studies have shown that many people grossly overestimate how many calories they burn during exercise.
Even many watches and exercise equipment can overestimate the number of calories you are burning.
Normally this wouldn’t seem like a problem, but it tends to make people think they can eat more food.
Think about that for a minute. Do you ever estimate how many calories you burn when you work out?
Or have you thought to yourself, “I ran an extra half mile today, I can have another piece of pizza”.
Not burning as many calories as you think, plus eating more calories, equals you not losing weight.
Don’t fall into this habit!
Instead of focusing on how many calories you are burning, be more mindful of the types of calories you are putting in your body.
Eat more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and quality protein. And stay away from sugar and refined carbs.
5. Cutting Too Many Calories When Dieting While Working Out
This can go hand in hand with mistake number 2 and 3.
Everyone’s body has a comfortable point. This is called your set point and it is the weight range in which body functions at its best.
If you are working out extra, eating less, and you drop below that comfort point, your metabolism slows down to compensate.
Your body goes into starvation mode so it starts to store everything it can, making it impossible to lose weight.
Make sure you are fueling your body and remember when you are mindful of what you put in your body, it is ok if you are consuming a few more calories than you would like.
6. Not Enough Fiber
That’s right, fiber is not just for older people. It is important for every one of every age.
If you are not making sure you are getting enough fiber, you are not helping your body or your weight loss.
Fiber ties in with your exercise because fiber helps regulate your blood sugar, giving you a more consistent energy supply.
And by adding viscous fiber to your diet can also be a great help with your weight loss. Viscous fiber slowly makes its way through your body, making you feel fuller for longer.
It can be found in foods such as asparagus, dried beans, oats, and brussel sprouts.
Find a way to add more foods like these to your diet to ensure you are getting the right amount of fiber and you can see it help your weight as well.
7. Losing the Joy of Working Out When Dieting While Working Out
Now this one might sound weird and you might be thinking, “what?”.
If you are anything like me you might think of working out, roll your eyes, sigh, say you don’t want to do it, but you do it!
You work out for a reason. Part of that reason might be to lose weight, but if you absolutely hated working out you probably wouldn’t do it.
Exercising is an outlet. A way to get out energy or frustration out and can make you feel empowered.
You may hem and haw about doing it but once you finish a workout, you feel great. Maybe tired, but still like you accomplished something and kicked some ass.
It’s important to remember that feeling.
I mentioned this earlier, but I feel it needs repeating. Something to remember is that everyone has a set weight.
No matter what you tell yourself, you have a set weight. This is a 10 to 15-pound shift where your body settles into.
If you drop below that your brain sends a message to the body to release hunger-inducing hormones.
Don’t focus on your weight so much.
Focus on the benefits you get from working out and the feeling you get from finishing a good workout.
The Big Picture When Dieting While Working Out
Dieting while working out can be tricky. There are many things you need to keep in mind, so you aren’t sabotaging your goals.
If you fall into one or more of these missteps, you can slow your progress or even get discouraged and give up.
The purpose of this post was to open your eyes to those mistakes to make sure you can avoid them or know how to fix them if you do find yourself making that mistake.
So, keep these in mind.
Don’t choose diet foods. Gluten-free, calorie-free, and fat-free should not be your go-to. They put other additives in these foods to compensate for what they took out. Eating the right fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet.
Never focus on just the weight on the scale. If you are working out, odds are you are never going to be happy with those numbers. Instead, measure areas, such as your arms and thighs where you would like to see improvement.
You also want to make sure you are not skipping refueling. Your body needs the proper nutrients if you are going to be working out. Without it, your muscles can break down and greatly impact your energy levels.
Make sure you are not overestimating the calories you are burning. Most people overestimate this, which can cause some to eat more since they believe they burned more calories. Instead, pay more attention to the calories you are putting into your body. Choose more whole foods.
Cutting calories should be avoided as well. Again, your body needs to be fueled to be at its best, especially when working out. Just be mindful of what you eat, and you will be good.
Ensure you are getting enough fiber. This not only helps give you a consistent supply of energy when working out, but it can also make you feel fuller for longer.
And never forget the feeling you get from crushing a great workout. You get more from working out than just looking great. It gives you many health benefits and can make you feel empowered.
Check to see if you are making any of these mistakes and if so, make a plan to change them starting today!