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What Is The BIGGEST Mistake You Can Make On Your Diet?

By Sam Whitaker

  • As we come to the end of January, you may have been tempted by bad food choices and the urge to stay in away from the cold temperatures.
  • But what is the biggest mistake you can make while dieting?
Biggest Mistake For Your Diet

I was asked in my interview with MuscleFood a while back: "In your experience, what is the most common mistake people make when trying to lose weight?" 

And my answer was thinking in black & white.

The below is an expansion on that answer, hopefully you find it helpful.

Black & White Thinking

By far, the most common mistake people make while dieting, in my experience, is thinking in black & white.

This type of thinking isn't limited to dieting mind you and is applied to many other areas, training being one of them. 

People often ask me questions like what the best exercise is for your chest, or what the best rep range is? 

Like you can only choose one exercise or one rep range. *Face palm*

The truth is, there isn't one single best exercise for chest or best rep range to work in. 

But people want a black & white answer, they want a definitive one or the other, yes or no type of answer.

Unfortunately for people in this mindset, thinking in absolutes isn't a good idea, as rarely is the correct answer yes/no, one or the other.

Getting back to nutrition & dieting, it's quite common for people to be in the mindset that some foods are good & some foods are bad.

These same people seem to approach dieting in a similar black & white way; they're either on their diet or they're not.

Both can lead to issues & likely sub optimal results.

As I've said before, there’s no such thing as a good or bad food per se. 

For the most part, we don't eat foods in isolation- we eat meals and those meals make up our diet.

Granted, some foods have the potential to be 'bad', in that they taste sooooo good that you just keep eating them. 

And then eat more of them.

But it's you overeating them that makes them 'bad', not the food itself.

I don't mean that in an accusing way, like it's all your fault you eat too much of it, because I'm not.

I'm just as guilty as eating too much of something because it tastes good as the next guy, (well maybe not the next guy, because I'd probably be overweight, but it does happen occasionally).

Biggest Mistake For Your Diet

I just want to make the point that foods aren't inherently good or bad in isolation.

(In the following section, slightly hypocritically, I’m going to use the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when referring to foods. Not because they are inherently good or bad, but just because...well, you’ll know what I mean.)

When people try to eat healthy, or attempt to lose weight, they often totally cut out ‘bad’ foods; chocolate, pizza, biscuits, crisps etc.

This total avoidance of certain foods can play tricks on the mind and unnecessarily deplete your willpower.

"A research project carried out by a University of Hertfordshire academic has found that thought suppression can lead people to engage in the very behavior they are trying to avoid." ~

So, if you’re told, or tell yourself, that you can’t eat chocolate while you’re on your diet because it's 'bad', all you want is a massive bar of Galaxy, as the above study eludes to.

(Granted, this isn't a universal truth, but is quite prevalent as the above study suggests)

You might not even be much of a chocolate fan, but now you know you can’t have it, it’s all you want.

So when you’ve had a tough day or you’re really hungry, you're more likely to cave in to your increased cravings and demolish a family size bar in 30 seconds flat.

The elusive thing we call willpower is a finite resource, so will run out at some point. 

And if you use it up unnecessarily, by trying not to think about and avoid 'bad' foods, they'll be none left when you need it the most.

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