#1: Thinking that bites, licks and tastes (BLTs) don’t matter
When I was a young man starting my career, I had a business mentor who had struggled with his weight for most of his life. From time to time we would go on diets together, and he would always tell me that it was okay to have “just a bite” of any food. Like a good protégé, I believed him. He was right about so many things, but not about bites not having an impact.
Bites, licks and tastes matter. They trigger cravings, upset the sugar balance and almost always lead to eating more than just a taste. Before I started losing weight for good, I stopped the BLTs. The consequences aren’t worth the moment of pleasure. They had just enough sugar and carbs to destroy all the good work that I was doing, but weren’t enough of a serving to be satisfying.
#2: Going to the grocery store hungry
Sometimes I’d skip meals and go hungry during the day, feeling proud of myself for not eating—and then I’d walk into a grocery store and bam! It is never a good idea to shop for food when you’re hungry. Usually I would eat my way through the store. Or I’d throw danger foods in my shopping cart to eat later. I was great at making justifications. The worst was when I told myself that I was buying special treats for my wife and children when deep down I knew I was really buying them for me. It’s a simple fact: hunger leads to overeating.
#3: Believing I deserved a treat as a reward for a job well done
The most dangerous day of the week for me was always the day after I weighed myself. Maybe you can relate to that—the sense of accomplishment at losing pounds, the desire for a reward, and the knowledge that you have a few days left to make up for transgressions before you hit the scale again. My favorite post-weigh-in meal was definitely Chinese food. I’d get a large order of moo shu chicken, which is technically allowed if you don’t eat too many pancakes. Of course, I got the pancakes too. No surprise, I’d overeat. What I didn’t realize was that this one “reward” would actually slow me down for the next week. The real reward would have been to stick with my plan and see the results.
#4: Counting calories
You can definitely lose weight by limiting calories. But all calories are the not the same, and if, like me, you have Metabolic Syndrome, it’s a painful way to lose weight. You will be hungry, your head will be spinning and you will be low energy. Being a Fat-Burning Machine means flipping the fat-burning switch to ON by eating the right combination of foods to allow your body to burn the energy you eat and not store it. You don’t need to count calories—just better manage them.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the first step to losing weight is to stop over-exercising. I learned early on that I needed to exercise smarter, not harder. Over-exercising wore me out and made me not want to exercise. I would dread the thought of stepping into the gym and sweating until I dropped. If I wasn’t sweating, I felt I wasn’t accomplishing anything. But I was exercising so hard that it was actually making me hungrier. I burned all the glycogen and was so hungry that I needed to replace it. By becoming a Fat-Burning Machine, I learned how to mix high and low intensity workouts and better coordinate my fitness with my nutrition. I learned about Miracle Intervals and they completely changed the way I exercise.