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Winning Ways:
Nine Biggest Mistakes People Sometimes Make On Diets

Friday, November 27, 1998

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Strength & Conditioning Advisor

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, you might now be thinking about losing a few pounds. Well, Graig White has put together a list of the nine biggest mistakes people sometimes make on diets to help get you started. If you have a question for Graig about dieting or any other aspect of conditioning, please feel free to email him at If we use your question in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.

  1. Not Being Patient

    Many people switch from one diet to another without ever giving the first diet a chance. Generally, it takes three weeks for your body to adapt to the changes in your diet. If your goal is to lose fat, expect changes you can see in about 21 days. Don't expect immediate changes in your body composition.

  2. Miscounting Calories

    Be sure to count not only calories but also proteins, carbohydrates and fat as well. Many people don't lose fat at the rate they feel they should because of not keeping a good record of what they are eating. Successful dieters keep records that are precise. Don't guess, get a scale.

  3. Eating Haphazardly

    When eating to lose fat, consistency is the key. It is important to eat at regular times during the day. This way the body doesn't store fat as much and enhances lean body weight.

  4. Ignore Your Scale

    While people are dieting, they often become discouraged when their weight doesn't decrease as quickly as they would like. While the scale can be an effective tool, it's probably better to rely on photos and an unbiased eye to measure your progress.

  5. Overeating (Especially Carbohydrates)

    Some dieters who eat a very low fat diet, still gain weight because of taking in too many carbohydrates. Sure, carbs are needed, but once the body absorbs what it needs, the excess will be quickly deposited as fat.

  6. Take Your Diet Personally

    There is nothing wrong with learning from what other dieters do. However results may differ greatly. Keeping good records of what you eat can help customize a diet that is ideal for you.

  7. Supplements Are Not Magic

    Taking Carnitine and Chromium to shed fat is a mistake some dieters make. Supplements are to enhance a nutrition program, not make up for poor planning and nutritional mistakes.

  8. Eliminating All Fat

    When looking to control caloric intake, cutting fat from your diet is helpful. But removing fat completely can lead to a decrease in fat metabolism and may impede growth. A low fat diet that includes essential fatty acids is helpful in promoting recovery, growth and fat metabolism.

  9. Making Big Changes All At Once

    When adding or subtracting calories from your diet, make the changes small and allow time for your body to adapt. Severe reductions in calories will cause the body to store fat in large quantities which defeats your purpose in a big way.

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.

For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives

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