Before I was a trainer I was a wrestler (not the WWE kind) and part of my sport was controlling my weight. I would often lose 30 lbs or more each season to get down to my weight class for competition. This experience along with over 15 years of helping hundreds of clients lose thousands of pounds has taught me a series of invaluable lessons. In that time I’ve mostly learned what not to do, so what follows is the three things you should never do when trying to lose weight.

1. Avoid Extremes:

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is going to extremes. This means crash diets and intense workout programs that often lead to short-term results and long-term frustration. The truth is, extreme measures are not sustainable. Instead, it’s crucial to pick a strategy that you can maintain even on your worst day. Consistency is the key to success in weight loss.

When you embark on a weight loss journey, it’s essential to think long-term. Ask yourself, “Can I see myself doing this a year from now?” If the answer is no, then it might be time to reconsider your approach. Weight loss should not be a sprint but a marathon. Sustainable changes to your eating habits and exercise routine are more likely to lead to lasting results.

2. Exercise for Health, Not Just Weight Loss:

The misconception that exercise alone will shed those extra pounds is widespread. Some people spend endless hours doing cardio and grueling workouts, hoping to watch the numbers on the scale drop rapidly. However, this approach can be counterproductive.

Exercise is undoubtedly an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, but it shouldn’t be primarily viewed as a weight loss tool. Instead, consider it a means to shape your body and maintain your overall health. During a weight loss phase, exercise helps determine how your body will look when you shed those extra pounds. It supports muscle retention and toning.

Rather than focusing on endless hours in the gym, aim for a balanced fitness routine. Combine cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Find a workout plan that you genuinely enjoy and can stick with in the long run. Remember, the goal is not just to lose weight but to improve your overall well-being.

3. Be Kind to Yourself:

Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of a successful weight loss journey is your mental attitude. Many people fall into the trap of guilt and shame when they make dietary slip-ups or go over their calorie limits. As an athlete I was raised on the ethos of “no pain, now gain.” Research into human behavior has shown that this approach is actually counterproductive.

Guilt and shame can be detrimental to your progress. When you beat yourself up for indulging in an extra piece of pizza or exceeding your calorie count, it often leads to a cycle of self-sabotage. Instead, adopt a forgiving and compassionate attitude towards yourself.

Recognize that setbacks are part of the process. It’s better to be moderately adherent to your plan consistently over time than to experience extreme ups and downs. Be mindful of your choices, learn from your slip-ups, and move forward with determination. Remember, your weight loss journey is a marathon, not a sprint.

The key to successful and sustainable weight loss lies in avoiding extremes, understanding the role of exercise, and being kind to yourself. These are three principles I preach to all my clients looking to lose weight and something I now practice myself when I set a weightless goal.

If you’re struggling on your weight loss journey book a free no-sweat intro with one of our coaches. We’ll make losing weight seem simple and effortless and you’ll actually enjoy the process not just the result!

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