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May 05, 2022


If you have been training hard and eating well but seem to struggle to lose weight effectively, you may be making these simple mistakes. The good news is that we are here to simplify these mistakes to help you get to where you want to be. These are mistakes that we have seen many patients make and a slight change in lifestyle and mindset can really bring about a great change. Let’s have a look at some of the most common fat loss mistakes:


The bottom line is the scales don’t tell you the whole story. Dropping weight can mean many things, dehydration, muscle loss, fat loss etc. More often than not, when you see quick changes on the scales, they do not reflect fat loss. It is easier for our body to lose water or muscle than it is to lose fat tissue. So, weight loss itself isn’t necessarily a healthy thing either. Fat loss and muscle mass maintenance or gain is the more effective and healthy way to lose weight.


If you started training and eating well, you might notice a slight increase in weight. That is usually due to a better-nourished body and gain in muscle mass. Do not worry about this! Once again, move away from the scales and look at this from another perspective. Nourishing and hydrating your body properly will give you more energy to work out harder and will make it easier for your body to start burning fat tissue. The other important aspect of this is that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day. That is, muscle mass requires a lot of energy so having more muscle mass will increase your metabolism and your body will have to use fat tissue as energy throughout the day.


For a healthy and effective fat loss journey, diet and exercise need to walk side by side. Improving your nutrition will help to nourish your body, fuel your muscles and increase your metabolism. Having a training plan will improve body systems, increase or maintain muscle mass and also increase your metabolism.


Not eating enough will put your body under metabolic stress and make your body slow down. A slow metabolism will burn fewer calories throughout the day and send your hormone balance into a spiral. Furthermore, not eating enough will trigger brain fog, decreased physical and mental performance, cravings, binge eating etc. So, if you tried many diets and always feel as you have failed because you couldn’t resist having some ‘bad foods’, it is time to think about whether you were eating enough to start with. If your body is hungry, it will crave high energy foods, meaning high sugar and fat foods. Ideally, you would be eating more than your basal metabolic rate, which is the calories needed by your body just to survive in a day. Your basal metabolic rate will depend on your age, gender, height, weight and muscle mass. For ladies, this will usually be around 1200 calories per day, while for guys this will be around 1500 calories a day. Just from eating, getting out of bed, drinking water and doing basic human activities, you will require more energy. So, trying to lose weight by calorie deficit does not mean eating less than your basal metabolic rate. To understand your daily energy requirements and find the sweet spot of daily calorie consumption we need to take other things into consideration, such as daily activity (desk job vs. labour job) and exercise. 


When talking about effective and healthy fat loss, it is always important to find a balance and variety in your training schedule. Different types of training will use different energy systems which will use different sources of energy (fat, protein, carbohydrate). We know that very low-intensity cardio exercises will trigger fat storage use as energy. From this idea, many people got stuck with cardio all day every day and forgot to focus on strength training. Research has found that strength training increases your metabolism, which will help you burn fat throughout the day. Furthermore, strength training will help increase muscle mass, which, as we mentioned before, will also increase your calorie use during the day and help with fat loss.


High-intensity workouts use mainly muscle glycogen (sugar storage in the muscle) as an energy source. Once your body runs out of glycogen, the muscle itself will be used as an energy source. So, you will be burning, or breaking down, muscle to be used as energy. High-intensity workouts make you sweat and burn a lot of calories, so many people think this is the answer for fat loss. However, if these high-intensity workouts are all you do, you are not replenishing your muscles with the appropriate fuel after your workouts and you are not recovering well, you will start losing muscle mass at a higher rate than you will lose fat mass. Once again, the key is a balance of high intensity, low intensity and strength training. Furthermore, fuelling your body and having adequate rest is crucial to restore muscle energy and avoid muscle loss.


Protein-rich foods will be your best friend when trying to lose fat. Protein is the best macronutrient at keeping you fuller for longer, controlling hunger and cravings. Furthermore, there is something called the ‘thermic effect of food’. Which is the energy that your body burns to break down, digest and metabolise that nutrient. Protein has the highest thermic effect out of all the macronutrients. It is estimated that 20-30% of the calories coming from protein are actually used by the body to process the protein. Thus, protein has been found to increase your metabolism, which we know will help us burn more calories throughout the day. Finally, protein will help with muscle recovery and muscle anabolism (build).You should be aiming to have at least 20-40g of protein per meal.


Dietary fibre helps control hunger and reduces cravings. It feeds your gut bacteria which in turn will release happy hormones such as serotonin. This will send signals to your brain and regulate hunger hormones. Fibre will also assist with gut health which has a direct impact on the absorption of nutrients. Finally, fibre helps control blood sugar levels and avoiding blood sugar and insulin spikes are crucial to reducing fat storage. 


If you are having more fibre and protein and not having enough water, your body will naturally hold on to the faecal mass to reabsorb water from there. This will not only stop you from going to the bathroom but also allow toxins to be reabsorbed into the body. That is why you don’t feel great when you can’t go to the bathroom every day. Water is also very important for all biochemical reactions in the body, especially fat metabolism. That is if we are trying to burn fat to be used as energy, but we are dehydrated, the fat metabolism will be slowed down. Water will also keep your muscles and skin hydrated and improve your physical performance and recovery. Finally, when you drink water, you also increase your metabolism.


Whole foods contain more fibre and micronutrients. They are also harder for your body to break down and digest, which means they will increase your calorie expenditure and control hunger better. Eating a variety of whole foods of different colours will give your body a lot of different vitamins and minerals and nourish your body, which in turn will let your body know you have been fed and will control hunger and cravings.


If you start your health journey by thinking of all things you can’t eat or do anymore, you are setting yourself up for a fail. Instead of this restricted eating, try to think of all things you should add to your diet to make you lose fat and be healthier. We mentioned a few things above, but let’s look at a few things that will be your best friends when trying to lose fat effectively:
  • Exercise
  • Water
  • Protein
  • Fibre
  • Wholefoods (fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, pulse, legumes)
  • Oats
  • Legumes and pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils etc)
  • Thermogenic foods (ginger, turmeric, chilli, green tea, coffee)
  • Quality supplements (protein powder, amino acids, thermogenic)


You might be spending a lot of money on many promising supplements and not seeing any results. This can get you frustrated and send you backwards in your fat loss journey. Be careful with the empty marketing promises from supplement companies. Find a trusted brand that shows the science behind their supplements. 

So, what are the right supplements to look for? As a bare minimum look for these 3 categories:

Help increase protein intake as well as control hunger and cravings.

These may help increase your metabolism, thermogenesis (heat production) and calorie burning while supporting physical and mental performance.

These will increase micronutrient intake to nourish your body and avoid cravings.  


Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider. The above article has been taken from

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