top of page

Most Common Weight Loss Mistakes

In this article, I'll explain what the problem with most diets is, which mistakes you should avoid, and how to actually design your diet for long-term success. Enjoy reading! 😊

In-depth knowledge for your new & fit self.

donut or apple

The Problem with Most Weight Loss Diets

Many people have the desire to lose weight or change their bodies in some way. For most, the primary focus is on their appearance and overall body shape. However, when it comes to achieving this goal, many are unsure and pursue the wrong strategies.

In this article, I want to explain what works in the long term, how your diet doesn't have to be doomed to fail, and how you can maintain your weight after the diet.

Short-term weight loss is not a problem for most people. However, the issue lies in the fact that approximately 90-95% of individuals who go on a diet cannot maintain this weight loss in the long term.

They successfully lose weight but regain it after the diet ends. In some cases, they may even gain more weight than their initial starting point due to developing a disturbed or suboptimal relationship with food.

Therefore, to maintain weight in the long term, psychological components must be considered, ensuring that we implement changes over the long haul. In addition to weight change, there must also be a change in mindset and habits or behaviors.


How Does Weight Loss Actually Work?

The fact is, to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we consume. This state is also known as a calorie deficit. However, maintaining a calorie deficit over a significant period, often several months until the goal weight is reached, is necessary.

Evolution complicates our ability to maintain a calorie deficit and makes us feel uncomfortable doing so. A biological mechanism is responsible for this. When we consume fewer calories than we burn, our satiety hormone called leptin decreases. We experience more appetite, and our metabolism slows down, making us lethargic and unconsciously reducing movement. This protective mechanism was essential for survival for our ancestors. After all, the body is reluctant to give up its reserves and wants to protect itself from starvation. All these hormonal changes are controlled in our hypothalamus, a part of our brain.

In contrast, when there is a surplus of calories, our body does not have such a sophisticated protective mechanism. If we eat more calories than we burn, slightly fewer hunger hormones (ghrelin) are released, and there may be slightly more unconscious activity, which in turn increases calorie expenditure by a few calories. However, this mechanism is not as strong as in a calorie deficit. Additionally, we don't feel as lethargic, hungry, or moody in a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus is therefore more of a luxury state for our body and prepares us for periods of scarcity.

In summary, this means that our body resists weight loss more strongly than weight gain.

"Evolutionarily, it is easier to gain weight than to lose weight."

 If I had to describe how weight loss works in just one sentence, it would be the following: "Maintain a calorie deficit over an extended period by either consuming fewer calories and/or increasing activity to burn more calories." 

This is how it works in theory, put simply. However, the practice becomes significantly more complex. In practice, one must consider what foods to eat, what type of exercise to do, how many meals to eat, when to eat, which diet to follow (Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, Alkaline, Vegetarian, etc.), and much more.

There is a mountain of possibilities and potential diet forms to choose from. One friend may claim that only Low Carb worked for them, while the next colleague may report that only a vegetarian diet helped them lose a lot of weight. Furthermore, one can find thousands of articles online claiming that Diet-X is better than Diet-Y and that certain dietary forms can lead to more fat loss than others.

However, the reason these dietary approaches worked for the friend, the colleague, or in studies is identical. They all managed to create a calorie deficit through these dietary forms and maintain this deficit over an extended period.

Remember the following: the reason diets work is ALWAYS the calorie deficit.

The food choices used to create this deficit are initially irrelevant. There are no foods with negative calories (fat-burning properties), and no foods that accelerate fat loss (nice as that would be). Although it seems so simple in theory, most diets fail in the long term. The reason for this is often a lack of consistency.

Due to extreme changes in food choices, a lot of effort in the kitchen, lack of social compatibility, and strict dietary plans, most people simply give up after a while because it is too exhausting and not feasible.

In the following section, I would like to explain to you what mistakes you should not make in your diet. Besides the calorie deficit, the feasibility and integration of nutrition into everyday life and social life are crucial.

"The most important thing for weight loss is the calorie deficit, closely followed by its feasibility in everyday life and social situations."

Little fun fact on the side: When we lose fat, we do so approximately 80% through our breath and about 20% through our urine, sweat, and feces. The reason for this is that fat is converted into carbon dioxide and water. We essentially breathe or excrete the fat.

diet plan

Common Mistakes: Why Most Diets Fail

Although we undergo the adjustments mentioned above (hormones & metabolism) when we diet, it is still possible to successfully lose weight. Thousands of people have managed to maintain their weight long-term after a diet without regaining it. The fact is that we are not at the mercy of these mechanisms. With clever adjustments and smart food choices, we can make the diet as enjoyable as possible. This allows us to feel like we are not sacrificing much but still maintaining a significant calorie deficit that enables us to burn fat.

Ok, let's discuss the pitfalls of the dieting world.

1. Perfectionist Expectations

I have often observed that many people adhere to a black-and-white thinking, or an all-or-nothing mentality. However, this type of thinking is only hindering and paralyzing. People then say things like "I will never eat sugar again" or "From now on, I will only eat unprocessed foods." However, the smallest slip-up then leads to labeling oneself as "failed" and adopting an I-don't-care-attitude. "I ate a cookie, so my diet is already a failure, and I might as well eat the whole jar of cookies."

The demand for perfect nutrition or the attempt to execute a nutrition or training plan 100% perfectly will ultimately lead you to give up. A much better approach would be, for example, the 80/20 principle. Unless you are a professional athlete who earns a living with their body, it is entirely sufficient and even better not to view things too perfectionistically and to adopt a more relaxed attitude. 80% of the time, you stick to your guidelines and planning, and the remaining 20% you are flexible in your food choices.

"Perfection is nothing but an illusion and remains virtually unattainable."

2. Short-term Approach

The second major problem that leads to long-term failure is the short-term approach to a diet. Diets designed for short-term results often focus on rapid weight and fat loss. However, this approach makes the diet more unpleasant because you have to forego more food, resulting in increased hunger, lethargy, and lack of motivation.

What often motivates people to continue is the thought that there is "an end in sight" and that they can soon return to their previous eating habits. However, this approach often leads to individuals experiencing extreme binge eating episodes after the diet, finding it difficult to satisfy their hunger. The hormone leptin, which signals satiety, has dropped so low that it manifests in extreme cravings and uncontrollable eating behavior.

The solution is to always approach a diet with a long-term perspective. A slow weight loss of approximately 0.3 - 0.8 grams (on average) per week is almost always superior to rapid weight loss. Additionally, adopting a long-term approach helps establish firmer habits of dietary change, which can be maintained after the diet without feeling difficult or deprived.

Anyone looking to lose weight should stop viewing the diet as something short-term. Instead, sustainable dietary and behavioral changes should be implemented that can be maintained for life, supporting the ability to maintain a healthy weight. The food choices should remain the same after a diet as during the diet, only in the quantity needed to maintain weight and not lose further.

meal prep

3. Inability to Tolerate Hunger

Our hunger and satiety mechanism is such a complex psychophysiological process, which I will explain in detail in another article. However, I will not delve into the exact mechanisms at this point. However, the fact is that reducing our calorie intake will eventually lead to increased hunger. Frankly, when losing fat, it's hard to avoid this altogether.

However, you can make it more bearable by following the points mentioned earlier. By adopting a long-term approach to the diet instead of starving yourself in the short term and barely eating anything. Another important aspect is that you should not categorically forbid yourself from certain foods or food groups. We always want more of what we can't have. It's important to remember that the emerging hunger during a diet (and its consequences, such as mood swings, etc.) is not due to a lack of willpower, but rather the physiological protective mechanism mentioned earlier, which aims to prevent us from losing weight.

Often, it's the small tools that can help keep hunger at bay. Such as regularly integrating refeed phases or diet breaks as well as a generally flexible food selection considering the overall calorie intake.

food selection

4. Lack of Individually Tailored Food Selection

When you search for "weight loss program" on Google, you'll come across many websites where you're supposed to enter your personal body data, such as height, weight, body fat percentage, and age, and then receive a completely pre-made meal plan via email.

The problem with such approaches is that in real life, it's very difficult to adhere to a strict plan. Even if the plan consists entirely of foods you enjoy, it can still be challenging. Here's why: While the calorie amount and food selection might fit, there may not be enough time to actually implement it in practice. This is also why I rarely create meal plans for my clients.

We humans are as individual as our fingerprints. Similarly, our daily routines, dietary history, and nutritional needs are as individual as we are. People tend to prefer the quicker and less cumbersome solution. Understandable. However, we are only successful in the long run if we extensively engage with the topic of nutrition, calorie intake, and our own calorie expenditure. By trying out various meals, recipes, foods, and dietary approaches ourselves, we can evaluate what fits into our daily lives and what we can implement most easily.

For nutrition, and especially food selection, there is no "one size fits all" solution. We have to go the whole way and engage with ourselves and our food intake. Quite simply, it's a trial-and-error process: Try it out – Evaluate – Maintain or Change, and start over. This is a process that can sometimes take years. But this path is worth it if you want to break free from the diet cycle where you constantly switch between "diet phase" and "non-diet phase."

By avoiding the mentioned mistakes and instead following the opposite approach, the diet can be successfully completed. This is exactly how I, and all my clients, have managed to lose fat successfully and in the long term.

body transformation

If you want to achieve your fitness goals now through personalized guidance from your online nutritional and fitness coach, book a call now!

Your Coach,



Sources Of Information:

  • Bray GA, Frühbeck G, Ryan DH, Wilding JP. Management of obesity. Lancet. 2016 May 7;387(10031):1947-56. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00271-3. Epub 2016 Feb 10. PMID: 26868660.

  • Helms, Eric, Valdez, Andrea and Morgan, Andy, The muscle and strenght pyramid nutrition (2015)

  • Adrian Meule, Joachim Westenhöfer, Andrea Kübler, Food cravings mediate the relationship between rigid, but not flexible control of eating behavior and dieting success, Appetite, Volume 57, Issue 3, 2011, Pages 582-584,

  • Williams RL, Wood LG, Collins CE, Morgan PJ, Callister R. Energy homeostasis and appetite regulating hormones as predictors of weight loss in men and women. Appetite. 2016 Jun 1;101:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.02.153. Epub 2016 Feb 26. PMID: 26921488.

  • Crujeiras AB, Goyenechea E, Abete I, Lage M, Carreira MC, Martínez JA, Casanueva FF. Weight regain after a diet-induced loss is predicted by higher baseline leptin and lower ghrelin plasma levels. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Nov;95(11):5037-44. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-2566. Epub 2010 Aug 18. PMID: 20719836.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page