7 Mindset Fallacies That Are Screwing With Your Fat Loss Goals

7 Mindset Fallacies That Are Screwing With Your Fat Loss Goals July 26, 2018Leave a comment

Your mind can be a real bitch sometimes.

Even given your best intentions, it’s always lurking, ready to send disruptive thoughts and delusions hurtling through your head.

It’s always aiming to put a bullet right through the heart of any impressive fat loss progress you’ve made. Bitch.

I’m talking about mindset fallacies. The arguments, explanations, and reasons you prescribe yourself to justify behaviours you know you shouldn’t really be engaging in.

The tiny thoughts that creep into your head and make you believe as if everything is going smoothly, when in reality, it’s going tits up.

Cognitive Distortions

Mindset fallacies are really cognitive distortions.

You see, your mind has this uncanny ability to convince yourself of things that just aren’t true.

These inaccurate thoughts assure you your actions are rational; however, they’re only really serving to keep you from feeling bad about yourself.

These distortions, or fallacies, cause you to perceive reality erroneously. That whatever you’re doing isn’t too bad, or it’s not that unusual, or things will work out in the end.

While these thoughts may seem natural at the time, they open up a whole can of worms later down the line when fat loss is concerned…

1. The ‘Moral Licensing’ Fallacy

Have you ever whispered these words to yourself?

‘After the stressful day I’ve had I deserve a nice glass of wine with dinner’

 ‘I’ve helped a lot of people this week so I deserve to treat myself this time’

‘I worked so hard at the gym earlier so I’m allowed to have dessert later’

This is the ‘moral licensing fallacy’.

Falling for this mindset fallacy means we give ourselves permission to do something ‘bad’ because we’ve been ‘good’.

We reason that we earned or deserve something following a particular action, or that a ‘good’ behaviour has offset a ‘bad’ behaviour.

The problem is, the two incidents are often incomparable. A stressful day doesn’t automatically allow you to indulge in a glass of wine. Neither does going to the gym allow you to devour a chocolate-doused and sugar- showered dessert.

You’re only serving to ruin progress because you’re justifying a poor behaviour with an action that isn’t actually going to take you anywhere near your fat loss goals.

The Solution:

Before you indulge in a particular food or activity that you think you’ve ‘earned’, ask yourself whether this new behaviour will get you closer to your goal or further away from it, rather than trying to rationalise it.

Are you only seeking to execute this action because you’ve supposedly done something well previously?

The quicker you can figure out why you’re attempting something, the quicker you’ll be able to put a stop to it should you realise you’re ‘reasoning’ you earned it.

2. The ‘Cheat Meal’ Fallacy

Ah the cheat meal. The meal, two meals, or even twenty-four hours, of merciless binge eating, filled to the brim with pizza, cookies, ice-cream, and every other so-called ‘junk food’ under the sun.

I’ve been so good this week so I deserve a cheat meal’

‘I wasn’t meant to have that takeaway; oh well that was my cheat meal for the week’

This is the ‘cheat meal fallacy’ and it’s one of the biggest challenges people trying to shed body fat encounter.

They believe a seemingly ‘bad’ meal can be coined a cheat meal and everything will be OK with the world. Everyone cheats, right?

The problem? Cheat meals aren’t meant for people like you.

These calorie-infested meals are meant for the bodybuilders and physique competitors who follow a strict diet of chicken, broccoli, and rice, have a freakishly low body fat percentage, and need to get their metabolism back up and running again after a prolonged period of dieting.

Most people miss the point when it comes to cheat meals.

In the words of Shelby Starnes:

When you are overweight and out of shape, your whole life has basically been a cheat day’.

Not only do the cheat meals that the majority of the population consume provide an indication that the diet they’re following isn’t sustainable, but they set people on a mentally gruelling cycle of restricting too hard, cheating too hard, restricting too hard, and then cheating too hard again.

Justifying a cheat meal, or even engaging in a ‘cheating’ mentality, is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for fat loss meltdown.

The Solution:

Avoid relying on ‘cheat meals’ to get you through your week.

This is where the concept of flexible dieting – hitting calorie and macronutrient targets with foods of your choice – can be beneficial.

While you should still adhere to the 80/20 rule – 80% of your foods coming from nutrient-rich sources and 20% coming from foods you really enjoy having – avoid restricting yourself for the majority of the week, only to waste all that progress with a gargantuan calorie blowout at the weekend.

As Josh Hillis says:

‘Take the ‘too little during the week’ and bump it up; take the ‘too much on the weekend’ and bring it down’.

3. The ‘I Should Lose 2lbs A Week’ Fallacy

You step on the scales. Nightmare. You’ve only lost 1lb.

This is pointless, I should be losing more’

‘I’ve only lost 10lbs these past few weeks; that’s terrible’

‘You should aim to lose 2lbs a week!’ That’s what most magazines, weight loss websites, and personal trainers will claim.

But does this hypothesis hold true?

Yes, most people can get away with attempting to lose 1.5-2lbs of body weight a week; however, the problems arise when everyone assumes they should be fitting this ‘model of weight loss’.

If we have a 35-year-old male, weighing 91kg, who wants to lose 9kg in 10 weeks, compared to a 52-year-old female, weighing 65kg, who wants to lose 5kg in 5 weeks, should we expect to encounter the same rate of weight loss?

Unlikely.

There are a plethora of physiological and psychological limitations to the ‘lose 2lbs a week’ hypothesis, and is the reason why you shouldn’t always get discouraged if dropping the weight ‘the way it should be done’ doesn’t happen.

Here are a few:

– Your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest) may be faster or slower than someone else

– Your total bodyweight (if you weigh more you’ll burn more calories) may be higher or lower than someone else

– Your total muscle mass (if you have more muscle you’ll be able to burn more calories) may be more or less than someone else

– The amount of weight you’ve previously lost can impact how much weight you can now lose due to the body’s adaptive systems

– Your ability to sustain the calorie deficit you’re currently in

– The amount of calories you burn within a gym session may be more or less than someone else

The Solution:

Don’t assume that because you’ve been told ‘2lbs a week’ is the go-to formula, you should also expect to be able to experience it religiously.

Don’t let thoughts of a certain amount of weight loss – because everyone else is facing the same – cloud your rational thinking.

Take any weight loss you can over a prolonged period of time, and if the trend is heading downwards, then you are on the right path, regardless of how quickly or slowly it’s going.

4. The ‘I’ll Start Tomorrow’ Fallacy

You’ll start soon right?

I’ve got a big meal out with friends today, so I’ll start my diet tomorrow’

‘Things are a bit hectic at work at the moment, so I’ll start going to the gym when this big project is finished’

Everyone has, at some point, fallen for the ‘I’ll start tomorrow fallacy’.

The belief that now doesn’t matter, because you’re going to start following better habits later.

People use this fat loss mindset fallacy to justify poor decisions; as if tomorrow is going to be a magical day, when the clouds are going to align, everything is going to fall into place and eating, exercising, and living a healthy lifestyle is somehow going to become a lot easier.

It’s procrastination at its finest.

Unfortunately, your body doesn’t know the difference between a Sunday and a Monday, nor does it know the difference between you being supposedly ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

All it cares about is the splurge of calories you give it, or amount of exercise you don’t; not the day of the week or time of the year.

The Solution:

There’ll always be a dinner, or holiday, or life event that gets in the way. Always.

And the more you press the pause button on your fat loss journey, the better you get at stopping, starting, and not seeing results.

The solution is to keep going. No matter how big or small your contribution is, you must keep going.

There’ll be times when focusing on exercise and nutrition is the last thing you want to be doing, but as long as you’re staying focused now, you won’t have to worry about a lack of progress later.

Avoid the mentality of assuming the right time will come. It won’t.

5. The ‘This Doesn’t Count’ Fallacy

Sometimes calories, treats, and secret snacks don’t count. That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

I’m on holiday so it doesn’t really matter what I eat’

‘I don’t usually have dessert, so this one time doesn’t count’

‘I’ve got so many other things on my plate right now, I can’t expect to concentrate on eating right as well’

Everything counts. Every miniscule bite, dessert, and decision you make with regards to food matters. That’s why the ‘this doesn’t count fallacy’ creeps up behind people and hits them round the head when they least expect it.

We’re able to mindfully make an exception to any rules we set ourselves, but there are no freebies or get-out-of-jail-free cards when it comes to trying to lose body fat.

This mindset fallacy is linked to feelings of being externally controlled; when we see ourselves as a helpless victim of fate.  In this case, people believe there’s nothing they can do to avoid eating badly.

Telling yourself that for some reason this particular circumstance doesn’t count, however, isn’t going to do you any favours.

The Solution:

You have to constantly be aware that everything pertaining to fat loss counts. Everything you eat, every time you miss the gym, every time you eat out, and every fat loss decision you make.

There are no free passes or times when things don’t count.

So the next time you feel yourself rationalising that this time ‘doesn’t matter’ or ‘there’s nothing you can do’, stop and ask yourself if that really is the case.

You’ll soon be aware of all the times you push an eating decision to the back of your head and realise they quickly add up.

6. The ‘Sod It’ Fallacy

Isn’t it crazy how if you have just one bad meal for the day your mindset instantly shifts to the ‘sod it’ mentality?

You think that because you’ve already exceeded your calorie budget from one meal you get a free pass for the rest of the day.

‘It won’t matter, I’m already over’

‘I won’t bother entering all that food into my food diary; I know I’ve eclipsed my calories for the day’

Alas, if only your body thought the same thing.

A 5000-calorie, twenty-four hour blowout is enough to ruin a few days, or even weeks, hard work.

The ‘sod it’ fallacy is one of the most common problems for most people. It’s a classic example of people throwing in the towel because things haven’t gone quite to plan.

The Solution:

Before you find yourself stuck in a day of gluttony, the trick is to exhibit a little bit of damage limitation.

Take action to try and limit or offset the damaging effects of your one ‘bad’ meal.

Instead of embarking on a chocolate-fuelled rampage because, you know, ‘what’s the point?’, you have to refocus and limit the effects of your earlier incident.

Curbing a day’s consumption to 3000 calories is always going to be better than letting it eclipse 4 or 5000.

Stop, think of your end goal, and put the motions in place to begin a fresh start. That fresh start could be the difference between progress and failure.

7. The ‘Catastrophizing’ Fallacy

Everyone loves to make a mountain out of a molehill.

I missed the gym today so I’ve ruined all my progress so I’m going to sit in my underwear and not move all weekend’

‘I had one chocolate from the box at work today so I might as buy all the chocolate and devour it all because what’s the point anymore?’

Aadam Ali, at Physiqonomics, has labelled this the ‘magnifying glass effect’.

The notion being, that people tend to ‘zoom in’ on their slip-ups, and because they’re hyper-focused on that one slip-up, it becomes totally blown out of proportion.

As a consequence people either enter mini-starvation mode to make up for that one (yep, only one) bad day of eating, try to exercise themselves out of that one lapse, or give up altogether.

This ‘catastrophizing fallacy’ indicates people exaggerate the importance of insignificant events. As a result, this leads to a snowball effect of bad behaviours to offset one particular mistake.

The truth of the matter is, you don’t massively need to stress out. One meal, or day for that matter, won’t completely ruin things; especially if that slip-up is fairly infrequent.

The Solution:

Whenever you find yourself falling into the trap of the magnifying glass effect, it’s imperative you remember, and focus, on the good, positive points you had throughout the week.

These high points are what lead to progress, not just the failures, and are ultimately what will break that vicious cycle of freaking out, and believing everything has been ruined.

It’s imperative you think of the bigger picture. Just because one bad thing occurred doesn’t mean the whole world has fallen in and you’re never going to reach your goals.

 

This Article Was Too Long And I Didn’t Read It; Can You Summarise It Please

Mindset fallacies are really cognitive distortions. Your mind has this uncanny ability to convince yourself of things that just aren’t true.

These inaccurate thoughts assure you your actions are rational, however, they’re only really serving to keep you from feeling bad about yourself.

The ‘Moral Licensing’ Fallacy – Falling for this mindset fallacy means we give ourselves permission to do something ‘bad’ because we’ve been ‘good’.

We reason that we earned or deserve something following a particular action, or that a particular ‘good’ behaviour has offset a ‘bad’ behaviour.

The ‘Cheat Meal’ Fallacy – People believe a seemingly ‘bad’ meal can be coined a cheat meal and everything will be OK with the world. Everyone has a cheat meal, right?

Not only do the cheat meals that the majority of the population consume provide an indication that the diet they’re following isn’t sustainable, but they set them on a mentally gruelling cycle of restricting too hard and then cheating too hard.

The ‘I Should Lose 2lbs A Week’ Fallacy – Most people can get away with attempting to lose 1.5-2lbs of body weight a week, however, the problems arise when everyone assumes they should be fitting this ‘model of weight loss’.

There are a plethora of physiological and psychological limitations to the ‘lose 2lbs a week’ hypothesis, and is the reason why you shouldn’t always get discouraged if this doesn’t happen.

The ‘I’ll Start Tomorrow’ Fallacy – People believe that now doesn’t matter, because you’re going start following better habits later.

People use this fat loss mindset fallacy to justify poor decisions; as if tomorrow is going to be a magical day, when the clouds are going to align, everything is going to fall into place and eating, exercising, and living a healthy lifestyle is somehow going to become a lot easier.

The ‘This Doesn’t Count’ Fallacy – Everything counts. Every miniscule bite, dessert, and decision you make with regards to food matters. That’s why the ‘this doesn’t count fallacy’ creeps up behind people and hits them when they least expect it.

Telling yourself that for some reason this particular circumstance doesn’t count, however, isn’t going to do you any favours.

The ‘Sod It’ Fallacy – Isn’t it crazy how if you have just one bad meal for the day your mindset instantly shifts to the ‘sod it’ mentality? You think that because you’ve already exceeded your calorie budget from one meal you get a free pass for the rest of the day.

Before you find yourself stuck in a day of gluttony, the trick is to exhibit a little bit of damage limitation. Taking action to try and limit or offset the damaging effects of your one ‘off’ meal.

The ‘Catastrophizing’ Fallacy – people tend to ‘zoom in’ on their slip-ups, and because they’re hyper-focused on that one slip-up, it becomes totally blown out of proportion. This ‘catastrophizing fallacy’ indicates people exaggerate the importance of insignificant events.

It’s imperative you think of the bigger picture. Just because one bad thing happened doesn’t mean the whole world has fallen in and you’re never going to reach your goals.

How To Win At Fat Loss

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