Key Dieting Considerations: The Do's and Don'ts

Mar 15, 2023

Hey Team,

On January 1st this was the year you said you’d smash your fat loss goals but are you one of the many who mid-March are still stuck spinning your wheels?

Well, it could possibly be that this blog, detailing 3 easy-to-digest Do’s and Don’ts for fat loss (away from the typical “eat in a calorie deficit”) is just what you need!

Let’s dive in:

Don’t – Impulsively start dieting off the back of an emotional response.

Quite possibly the number one issue that plagues new Team Atlas clients who’ve been trying unsuccessfully to lose body fat is that they enter each fat loss phase they attempt blindly.

There’s no preparation and no plan which often results in a lack of true motivators or goals to cling to when the going gets tough down the road.

There’s simply an emotional visit to on the Sunday afternoon that ignites a spark big enough to have them re-downloading My Fitness Pal, plugging in numbers and ready to go on Monday.

It’s an admirable start sure but often, it results in a week of endless ‘Macro Tetris’ and frustration, culminating in a social occasion Friday or Saturday night that inevitably spirals out of control.

Before you know it, the cycle starts again.

If you fail to prepare, you will prepare to fail.

Do – Make sure you are READY to diet.

Before you decide to go through the process above, ask yourself 3 questions.

1/ Am I ready to diet?

Are you actually at a stage in your life where this is a priority and you feel both mentally and physically ready for the challenges that may lie ahead?

2/ Do I really want to diet?

Is this what you want, or is it simply what you think you want?

If a magazine cover, a poorly phrased comment from a family member or a failed Tinder date is your main motivator behind losing body fat… Is fat loss now actually a goal, or simply an emotional response to what someone else may want from you?

Alongside this, are you sure that right now you’re happy to temporarily alter your social calendar and potentially make the required sacrifices to achieve that goal?

It’s more than okay if the answer to any of these questions is no, it just means that maybe right now, fat loss isn’t an appropriate goal for you to chase after!

3/ How can I best set myself up for success?

If you decide that you are ready to diet and it is what you want, then perform an audit of your current situation.

This will help you to self-assess your current nutrition habits.

For example, how often do you prepare food at home? What time of day do you find yourself noticing hunger pangs more? Do you find any recurring patterns around over feeding?

All these seemingly small pointers can add up to provide a bigger picture of why it is you may not be having the success you crave with dieting right now.

Don’t – Live a life of excessive restriction.

You don’t need to completely cut out carbohydrates or fats to lose body fat.

You also don’t need to entirely deprive yourself of anything that is more calorie dense that you enjoy eating, especially if it is a non-negotiable part of your life.

Our Team Atlas clients are encouraged to still enjoy date nights, birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations.

They’re simply taught that while there are times where memories are far more important than macros… There are also more goal conscious ways to navigate these occasions and from a simply nutrition-based standpoint, expectations may just at times have to be tempered.

At the end of the day, you will need to make sacrifices at some point when looking to lose body fat however, we want to simply mitigate how many and how often.

Do – Seek to find a balance where possible between life and fitness.

As mentioned above, we encourage our clients to still be allowed to enjoy social occasions where possible.

However, we do require a degree of balance to stay on track with our fitness goals.

Balance by the way is likely a compounding, long-lasting effect of establishing a logbook of healthy habits and a kind relationship with yourself.

It isn’t always saying no to social occasions and yes to an extra hour at the gym, nor is it skipping cardio to sink 4 or 5 beers.

It’s being able to immerse yourself into both your social life and your fitness goals as much as your goals allow you to do so.

Yes, you may now have to forgo going to Taco Friday at El Camino with the girls and sinking margherita towers until you forget all about that cranky lady in your work’s HR department that had a go on Wednesday arvo.

But what’s stopping you from hosting a taco night for your friends at your place where you can now have higher control over how much you eat, the calorie content of that food and alcohol intake?

Suddenly, a 2000 calorie blow out that results in a hangover and a touch and go weekend turns into a far more manageable social evening.

Don’t – Place the blame on others.

This one is something that every single one of us is guilty of at times because it is so easy to do.

You know how it goes.

“Oh bloody Karen, always bringing cup-cakes into the office what does she expect me to do? Ignore them? How can I when I know they’re there!”

Uhhh yes. Karen may bring some great cupcakes to the office, but you don’t have to eat them every single time she does.

Especially when the place she orders from never changes because let’s be real it’s not like by saying no this week you’ll never be able to eat one again.

Another favourite we hear often is “my partner is always ordering from *insert fast food joint here* for dinner, how can I say no when they’re like this?”

Firstly, if your partner doesn’t know their ordering from this place isn’t helping you then maybe that’s a conversation to try having.

Secondly, just because they’re ordering from said restaurant, doesn’t mean you have to!

You’re an adult who can make their own decisions over what they want to eat.

On that note though, if eating out or even ordering in, most menus will have something for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with perusing the menu before dinner so you can go in with a game plan.

Accepting at times you may have to be that person and ask for sauces on the side or for less oil to be used when cooking can go a long way to making a difference.

As can making an early choice, building your day of eating around that choice and continuing on with the plan.

Where there’s a potential problem, there is most often a practical solution.

Do – Take responsibility.

If you’re happy to take the plaudits when you do something well, you need to be equally happy to take the criticism when you don’t.

That applies heavily to a fat loss phase.

Don’t parade your hard work around on the weeks that you managed to make goal conscious decisions for the entirety of Monday to Sunday, if you’re not willing to own your less goal conscious decisions on weeks that don’t go to plan.

Yes, some circumstances come out of the blue. No, not everything is always under our control.

However, there is a difference between making the most of a potentially sticky situation and simply saying “eff it.”

The more you start focusing on the variables that you can control and doing everything you can with them, the more you start realising that as human beings, we create most of our own problems.

For example, always hungry in the evening? Assess how much of your calorie intake you’re burning through earlier in the day.

If you have 2000 calories to lose body fat on, choosing to eat a 900 calorie Danish and iced coffee combo for breakfast at 9am probably isn’t a goal conscious decision.

So, to summarise if you want to start improving your likelihood of achieving a fat loss result:

- Assess whether you are ready to diet. Are you physically and mentally ready to set your life up in a way that promotes a successful fat loss phase?

- Seek a balance between life and your fitness goals. This is likely going to be a compounding, long term effect whereby certain periods of life dictate flipping the scales more so one way or the other. It’s not an excuse to over-train and under-recover so you can binge eat at weekends. Dieting will always require some temporary sacrifices to be made to support the process but if your fat loss phase is done well and you set yourself up for success, the length of that ‘temporary’ can only shorten.

- Take responsibility for your own actions and decisions. The more you start taking ownership over what you can control, the more you’ll realise how much easier it is to avoid possible hiccups before they happen.

If you’re still finding this whole fat loss game difficult and need some extra guidance, it just so happens we’re still taking on new clients across our team of coaches. Why not get started today, so we can help you take the guesswork out of your journey.

Thanks for reading,
Jack Hallows