Who Else Is Fooling Themselves With These 5 Lies?

By Jim F

You say you won’t become obsessed with the numbers. Pounds, kilograms, body fat percentages or skinfold measurements – they’re just numbers aren’t they? Until one day you take the measurements and discover 8 pounds of fat appeared seemingly overnight.

Is it the end of the world? Of course not – however it is an obvious sign that (depending on your goals) you are taking on too much energy.

So how does it happen? You eat healthy, you exercise regularly, you thought it was all under control.

  1. “It’s just a normal-size dinner”
    Many western eating habits include a very large (and carb-heavy) evening meal. It’s very easy to slip back into this mode of eating. No matter where science stands with regard to this issue, I still feel that, anecdotally, it doesn’t make sense to load your fuel tank last thing at night.
  2. “I’m eating little and often”
    Too many protein shakes
    can sometimes be the culprit

    Many popular diets (Abs diet, 3 hour diet, BFFM, and other bodybuilder-based programs) tell us to eat 5-6 times a day. It’s a great method to manage hunger, and perhaps obtain some benefit from the thermic affect of eating. The only problem is some of those 5-6 ‘mini-meals’ become normal-sized meals. Before you know it, the size of those extra ‘snacks’ are simply too much.

    I’ve seen some people eating this way gain fat. The culprit was all the extra protein shakes!

  3. “I’m eating intuitively”
    It’s great to be able to follow your body’s natural cues. Who wants to follow plans or count calories forever?

    Our body is a quick learner, feed it at a certain time, and it will start expecting food at that time. Our stomach acids tend to follow the pattern that we’ve set for them. Recently I started eating a mid-morning “snack” at about 9.30am. After only a few days my body then expected food at that time, and before I knew it, the snack was getting larger in order to appease those gnawing pangs.

  4. “But I exercise”
    Exercise is a fantastic and essential part of life. However it’s easy to fool ourselves with the amount we are doing. 25 minutes on the rowing machine burns up the same amount of energy as a donut.
  5. “I watch my carb intake”
    Yes – however most of our bakeries and cafe’s are filled with white / refined carbs. If you’ve been following a diet where you’ve increased protein and reduced (or even chosen better) carbohydrates – it’s very easy to let white or refined carbs drop back into the mix. Vigilance is needed here – white carbs and added sugars are everywhere!

We live in an environment surrounded by food in abundance. For many people – maintaining weight will be a life-long commitment to certain principles.


  1. Healthy Weight Loss Girl

    Great points, especially the one about meal frequency. I know a person who took that idea to the extreme and ate practically every hour. Instead of losing weight she gained weight.

  2. zay?flama band?

    I had a period of “slip-up” time after I’d gotten to my goal weight. I gained back about 15 lbs and I re-evaluated my strategy. My culprit? Number 4…”But I exercise!”. True, I was running about 4 miles a day but I was also eating a lot of ice cream thinking the running would “burn it all off”. Or not…once I realized how much my exercising was actually burning off, I cut down on ice cream and lost the weight again.

  3. Angie

    Here in the UK we can buy breakfast cereals in 2 ways – one way is a big box that you choose how much to pour in your bowl, the other is a small, 1 portion box.

    I purchased the 1 portion boxes the other day for my kids – and they were surprised at how little was in the box. When I explained that that was a normal portion, they both said – “but we have twice as much”. Just goes to show how easy it is to eat more, much more than you realise.

    I will be buying the little boxes for a while now, to get them to realise what a “normal” portion looks like!

  4. Lily

    I fell victim to #2. I couldn’t get myself to eat smaller meals.

  5. www.RefrigeratorRaid.com

    I agree with all of these, and noticed one common thread among them. For the most part, it seems as if they’re all about “losing focus.” We kinda slide into a habit, such as ‘eating intuitively,’ and then we get into a comfort zone. Once there, it’s easy to give a little here and there (bigger portions, a little white bread).
    I always think it’s a good idea to re-assess your lifestyle or diet every so often. (For me, it’s about every 3-4 months). I spend a day or two actually measuring my portions (so I don’t fall prey to ‘portion distortion’), re-assessing my current exercise, and keeping a food log. It really helps me re-focus.

  6. weight loss

    The third point is very intersting and is very important for weight loss. It’s very important as our bodies try to adapt to everything so mixing things up once in awhile makes our bodies adjust. This is why high and low calorie days are helpful as you can keep your metabolism guesting on how many calories you need t burn making your metabolism high and burning fat.

  7. Dietography.com

    Its not a a good idea to restrict your food as that will make you overweight in the long term (due to an overall reduction in metabolism) Nor is it good to eat too many meals as many will eventually overeat and thus make the problem worse for themselves. The solution is to control your eating habits effectively – how do you do this? set yourself goals and stick to them and when you see yourself moving away from these goals reinforce them. Personlize your diet – what works for one person wont necessarily work for the rest of us.

  8. Spectra

    I had a period of “slip-up” time after I’d gotten to my goal weight. I gained back about 15 lbs and I re-evaluated my strategy. My culprit? Number 4…”But I exercise!”. True, I was running about 4 miles a day but I was also eating a lot of ice cream thinking the running would “burn it all off”. Or not…once I realized how much my exercising was actually burning off, I cut down on ice cream and lost the weight again.

  9. Diet Blog

    The point here is that even when you are “doing all the right things” – it’s still possible to lose track.

    The point about night eating is not so much that eating at night is a no-no, but that, habitually, that is when people typically overeat.

  10. jj

    I think one of the keys is not to eat a “normal sized” ANYTHING. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. The food service industry has led us to be thoroughly confused about what’s an appropriate portions size. I’m all of 5’1″ and “normal sized” is too much food for me. I’ll take a small thank you.

    No, I would not like to supersize. And no, I would not be better off with twice as much food for a penny more. The small will be just fine.

  11. Mel Green

    Point 2: smaller, more frequent meals is also advice that is often given to people who are insulin resistant (including Type 2 diabetics). I’ve been eating low glycemic carbs matched with protein, healthy fats, lots of nonstarchy veggies spread out over five small meals each day, & I find I don’t suffer from hunger pangs anymore: it’s just right. But I’m careful, as you say, not to sneak refined carbs or extras into my meals. Since late December, with changed patterns of eating + exercise, I’ve lost 18 lbs.

    (By comparison, I used to skip both breakfast & lunch each day, until the inevitable raid on the vending machines in the afternoon! I also used to get acid reflux all the time — but not since I began eating low glycemically.)

  12. Ask the Coach

    Jim, your third point is most interesting. Every time you eat, you teach your body when to be hungry. So why not teach it to be hungry only when you want it to be? You can program your “intuitive” eating, for the desired amount of food, over a 21-day period. After that, you won’t have to count calories because you will only be hungry at the programmed times, for only the desired amount of food.

    Zero Boss, why couldn’t you program the treats to be PART of the straight and narrow? Then it wouldn’t be “cheating”, with all the negative feelings that causes.

    Iportion, you’re quite right: it is overall calories that count. Know the exact calorie allowance you need, to weigh what you want to weigh. Eat parts of the allowance at specific times during the day. Alternate the full allowance with a smaller one every other day. In 21 days, you will have solved your weight problem.

  13. www.iportion.com

    I disagree with night eating. I ate at night and lost a lot of weight it’s over all calories in a day that count and studies prove that. People have problems with portions sizes.

    I feel Your Right; Thin people can eat intuitively but wants it’s broken journaling is best. I started eating mini meals and now that’s what my body wants.

    Well a lot of low carb baked goods and pastas are high carb food in smaller servings. I like carbs by the way but I use 1/3 cup mac and cheese and use a big salad to bulk it out.

  14. The Zero Boss

    Great post.

    I’ve also found that “exceptions” tend to spiral out of control. It ties in with the adaptability of the body that you mentioned. If I indulge a few times in sugary sweets, it becomes easy to slip back into eating sweets and refined sugars ALL the time. I’m not saying don’t ever treat yourself – just be vigilant about getting back on the straight and narrow.