Diet is a HUGE part of the weight loss process.
Whenever someone asks me why aren’t they losing weight even though they exercise regularly, I ask them what’s their diet like.
In most cases, it turns out that they are eating too much, too little, or they think they are eating healthy when in reality they eat a LOT of unhealthy, highly processed food.
These diet mistakes can completely derail your progress and leave you wondering why you started dieting in the first place.
So in this blog post, I’m going to walk you through the biggest diet mistakes that are slowing down your weight loss.
EATING TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE
If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
Knowing how much you should eat is going to be of great help if you want to lose weight.
However, a lot of girls I talk to aren’t sure how much they should be eating so they end up eating either too much or too little.
And neither is great for weight loss.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat the right amount of calories.
I’m not saying you should obsessively count your calories but keeping track of your daily calorie intake for a week or two will give you an idea of how much you should actually eat.
Let’s say you burn 2200 calories per day. If you want to maintain your weight, you should eat around 2200 calories on a daily basis.
This is your ideal calorie intake.
If you don’t know how many calories you should be eating, please read my blog post on how to calculate your daily calorie intake :)
But if you want to lose weight, you should eat around 200-500 calories less. In this case, that’s around 1700-2000 calories.
If I want to lose weight, I usually never go for a 500 calorie deficit because I get too hungry.
But if you want to see results faster and you don’t feel as hungry when your calorie deficit is 500 calories, you can do it.
However, I wouldn’t recommend that you eat below 1200 calories per day. This is the absolute minimum for women who want to lose weight in a healthy way.
When I was younger, I used to think that a more severe calorie deficit would help me lose weight faster.
But that wasn’t the case.
Excessive dieting, especially if you do it for a longer period of time will damage your metabolism and make your weight loss very difficult or even impossible.
Actually, any form of dieting and calorie restriction reduces your metabolism a bit. The slower your metabolism is, the hard it is to burn through those extra calories.
And this leads me to another diet mistake I often see younger girls making.
SKIPPING RESISTANCE TRAINING WHILE DIETING
As I mentioned, when you’re dieting (eating at a slight calorie deficit), your metabolism will slow down a little.
So what’s the best way to boost your metabolism when dieting?
The BEST way to speed up your metabolism is to do build muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be.
This doesn’t mean you need to lift heavy weights and get overly muscular (unless you want to of course).
Any type of resistance training will help you boost your metabolism.
Nowadays, I usually focus on bodyweight resistance training 3-4 times per week and HIIT once per week.
And for my body type and my fitness goals, this works perfectly.
It keeps my metabolism high and it helps me get toned without getting bulky.
BEFORE AND AFTER PIC OF OUR COMMUNITY MEMBER
If you want to try some of my resistance training workouts, I’ll link them for you below:
Full-Body Resistance Training Workout for a Lean and Toned Body
At Home Full-Body Workout for a Slim Body
Full-Body Workout – Let’s Get Lean
WAITING TOO LONG TO EAT
Conventional wisdom has some seriously strange ideas about when you need to eat when you’re on a diet.
Unfortunately, a lot of people end up waiting until they’re absolutely starving before even having a snack, let alone a meal.
And on the surface, it makes sense. I mean, you end up eating only when your body demands it.
But think about how much you eat when you’re starving versus when you’re just hungry.
If you’re like most people, you end up eating waaaaay more.
You finish your snack or meal and feel unsatisfied. Then, you reach for something else. And something else. And wrap up your meal with something really not good for you.
Instead of waiting until you’re starving or light-headed, just eat when you feel hungry :)
Plan on eating three meals each day and supplement with healthy nutrient-rich snacks between lunch and dinner.
This will help you keep from falling into the trap of overeating when you end up sitting down to a proper meal.
RELATED POST: HOW TO STOP OVEREATING
EATING “HEALTHY”, HIGHLY-PROCESSED FOOD
Just because a food label says that something is healthy, or that it has 20% less sugar or 10% less fat, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s actually good for you.
The best way to avoid making this diet mistake is to focus on eating clean and make your own meals.
Skip eating out, especially when you’re just getting started, and make the switch to healthy, unprocessed foods.
If figuring out what to eat on your own is too much trouble or you find it intimidating (I did), try my FREE sample meal plan.
It’s a great place to start and can help you get through the first week or two when the cravings for junk food and sugar are strongest.
BEING TOO STRICT WITH YOUR DIET – BINGING ON “CHEAT DAYS”
When you’re on a strict diet, there’s a huge temptation to take a day off. I get it.
I’ve tried it and you know what? It made me feel downright awful!
Why? Because I was binging on those cheat days.
I’d eat whatever I was craving because I’d avoided eating it during the rest of the week. I ended up waking up feeling bloated and completely derailed both my weight loss goals and my overall health goals.
If you do decide to have a cheat day—and I don’t really recommend them—keep it to a single meal or snack rather than blowing the whole day on brownies, ice cream, donuts, and pizza.
This will help you curb your overall caloric intake and can make it easier to get back to your normal diet after your cheat day is over. That said, cheat days are one of the easiest ways to blow your diet to smithereens.
I prefer to eat intuitively and stick to the 80:20 rule. This means that I eat healthy most of the time and then 20% of the time I just eat whatever I’m craving.
I really try to avoid that whole “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to nutrition and not think of any food as “bad”.
THE RIGHT DIET CAN BE FUN
Diets don’t have to feel like you’re depriving yourself.
In fact, the right diet can be fun and inspire you to finally reach your weight loss goals.
As long as you avoid these diet mistakes, you’ll be on track to lose the weight and keep it off.
However, if you’re struggling to lose weight and you feel like you need a bit of help with your diet, you can check out my Lean Legs Program 1.
It will help you lose weight, especially in your lower body, and get you toned all over. And if you choose the Next Level You Package, it’s going to teach you how to eat healthy and also how to actually stick to a healthy diet :)
You can find more info here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any questions, feel free to ask! xx
Hello, is it bad if I ate bad one day during the program ?..
Hi lovely! Not really. One day won’t really make a huge difference but it would be best if you try to keep your diet as healthy as possible. :)
Hello, the programme is amazing! My legs are learner for the first time ever. I’ve never followed the diet plan until now, just tried to eat healthy. I want to start now, but getting very confused with the amounts I should be eating. I used the calculator to find out how many calories, carbs, proteins and fats I should be eating, and so what do I do now? How should I tailor the meal plan to my needs? I’m sorry if this is a stupid question, but I’ve never counted calories or followed any diets, so a bit puzzled. Thank you!
You can find the calculations of the calories and macros in Appendix 1 & 2 on the Meal Plan ebooks. You can adjust the number of calories by adding or removing some portions of the ingredients. for example, if your ideal daily calorie intake is higher than the one in the meal plan, you can use a bigger portion of the ingredients. :)
I hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com so we can accommodate you properly. xx
I am thinking of buying the lean legs program, as I am an endomorph and have always struggled with the fact that I build muscle easily, especially in my legs, which have always been big no matter what I do. I consulted a personal trainer at my local gym and she told me that my problem is likely genetic and there is nothing I can do to change them or lean them out. Is this true? I also have a weak pelvic floor after I was injured giving birth to my last baby and I was wondering if the program is safe or can be modified for those of us who have to be careful doing certain core exercises?
Thank you x
thanks for reaching out! <3
Rachael has had many girls tell her the same thing. She also experienced something similar in her past when she worked out with a personal trainer. That's why Rachael designed her Program to be body type-specific :) Rachael Program can definitely help you get lean and slim legs <3 As for modifying the workouts for your pelvic floor, please feel free to. It's best if you speak with your doctor and he/she can tell you exactly how to modify the workouts to work best for you <3
I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions! xx
I have a question abt body types. Does age affect body type. When I was younger, up to my late 20s I was an ectomorph. I was thin & lanky & it was difficult to gain weight & easy to lose. Had babies, was in a car accident & hit peri menopause & i can build muscle fairly easily now but it’s hard to lose or shift it. So can ppls body type change from childhood/young adult to past middle age?
thanks for reaching out! <3
Our body types don't change :) If you're not sure about your body type, feel free to email us a full body picture in sports clothing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you determine <3
Hi Rachael, I’m 13 so I still live with my parents and I was wondering if I still ate clean and altered some of the recipes from 3 steps to lean legs will it affect my results?
Thank you for reaching out! :)
Since you are 13 years old, your body is still going through a lot of transformations so if you want to lose weight, it’s best you talk to your parents so they can get you an appointment with a specialist. A nutritionist can advise you on your nutrition and workouts so that you can achieve the results you wish in a healthy way that suits your age.
Wishing you the best of luck! xx
Hi, is there any way that I can get the vegetarian meal plan without buying the programme again? I bought the programme a few months ago but have since become a vegetarian! Thank you!
No worries! Just send me an email to email@example.com with your order details and I’ll send you your vegan meal plan :)
I have started your programme and I am enjoying it. I am 46 so I am not young anymore and losing weight is a real challenge. The problem is that once I start working out – whatever it is – I put on weight. I am noticing a difference in my legs and I look more toned but I feel a mess when I step on the scales because my weight soars and in three weeks I have put on three -four kilos. I eat really healthy food and I definitely don`t overeat.
I am doing the workouts every day since I admit that I don` t have the time to go walking and work out as well – so I stick to the workouts. Is this normal?
I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying Rachael’s program and I’ll do my best to help! :)
We usually don’t recommend weighing yourself as a reliable method of tracking progress. Taking before and after pics is a much better way to track progress so I would highly recommend it.
You’ve mentioned that you do workouts every day – Do you mean circuit training workouts? If so, I would strongly advise you not to do them every day – 3-4 times per week is quite enough. Doing them every day could make your legs bigger.
Also, you said that you don’t have the time for walks. I completely understand but walking is really the key to losing extra body fat. I will send you a blog post where Rachael explains everything in detail. Please find it here.
Let me know if you have any other questions! xx
Hi! I’m considering to buy your Program but I have a couple pf questions.
I have lupus, and after a long time I have got the rheumatologist clearence to workout again. But It has to be low impact because of my joints. I can’t run, so I was wondering if the elliptical machine is ok as replacemet for the running. And what kind of HIIT can I do if I can’t do sprints? Also, how many hours a week takes to complete the program?
Thanks, I’ll be waiting for your answers!
That’s great news that you are ready to start with the Program!
No worries, because most of the workouts in the Program are low impact. Instead of running or working out on the elliptical machine, focus more on power walking. Just make sure you are walking on a flat surface as an incline will bulk you up.
The workouts are 3-4 times per week and last around 20-40 minutes, plus cardio 6 times per week.
For a great HIIT workout example – check out this blog:
Hope this helps!