10 mistakes women make with diets

Happy HUMP DAY everyone!! Physical Fitness for Women

So everyone has probably heard the crazy diet craze’s throughout the years and maybe even adopted one of those diets at one point or another. However, if you notice, rarely do people ever stay on that “diet.” Personally, I don’t believe in diets. Nutrition is a lifestyle just as fitness is and working out. If one is always off and on a diet or on one diet and a month later on a new diet, they never maintain consistency. As I tell all of my clients, consistency is key.

If you are a woman, or know a woman who is struggling losing weight or you find yourself always jumping on the “diet” bandwagon, then this condensed “10 mistakes women make with diets” brought to you by TNATION might change your whole perspective.

10 mistakes women make with diets-Dani Shugart published author, physique competitor, and nationally sought-after consultant in the field of disordered eating.

1. Adopting a diet program advertised on TV

Why the dismal results? Well, the low calorie approach these diets must take in order to guarantee fast results makes women rebound in weight once the diet is over. Sustaining a very low calorie diet is a surefire way to lose muscle mass, slow their metabolism, and experience caloric compensation once their appetites catch up and they’ve run out of microwavable pasta bowls. And since these diets are aimed mostly at women who don’t train with weights, they not only gain the fat back, they gain a few bonus pounds too thanks to the loss of that metabolically active weight we call “muscle.”


Women will have greater long-term success if they invest some time making sure their own nutritious meals are ready to go and easy to assemble. They’ll need to accept some responsibility, put in some footwork, educate themselves about nutrition, and stop being dependent on diet plans that D-list celebrities can’t even stick to.

2. Ignoring the obvious

Women need to take an honest look at their eating. A food journal can help. What are they eating, when are they eating it, and how does it makes them feel? Are they snacking, almost unconsciously, throughout the day? Are they eating their kids’ leftovers? What seemingly innocent snacks are actually trigger foods that lead to overeating an hour later? How many calories are actually in that frappuccino? A food log will clue them in. As a bonus, a journal will teach them that eating larger portions of healthy foods always works better in the long run than portion-controlling junk. No koo-koo berry juice required.

3. Eating Fake health food 

When health conscious women hear that they need more protein or fiber, many will go to the store and load up on fortified packaged foods. More often than not, these fake health foods are appetite-inducing sugar bombs. What many women don’t realize is that sugar is listed under a ton of different names and they all do about the same thing in the body, even earthy sounding ones like coconut crystals and organic agave nectar syrup. Likewise, fat free, sugar free, high fiber, organic, and gluten-free foods can still make you fat.


Women looking for protein at the grocery store need to stick with meat and eggs, and then get their fiber from Mother Nature. Then if they want to supplement with protein or workout nutrition, they’d be wise to get it from a place that doesn’t also sell motor oil and toothpaste.

4. Obsessing over fat loss and not eating for hypertrophy

Most women who continually make fat loss a priority don’t realize that they’d become more efficient at burning fat if they simply had more muscle. Eating to weigh less will make women smaller, which will require them to eat less in order to stay smaller. Muscle is lost, metabolism is sluggish, calories have to be lowered again and again, and the downward spiral eventually spirals out of control. Soon, these women proclaim that “dieting doesn’t work!” and begin to identify as fat girls with “bad genetics.” If a female has been on six diets in two years, shouldn’t she be lean by now?


How can women get to a place where they don’t need to diet? By building more muscle and eating as though they want more muscle on their bodies. This doesn’t mean eating crap; this means fueling up for workouts in order to work harder, pump nutrients into muscle cells, and feel muscles working.

Then when they get to the gym, they’ll need to actually try to build muscle. How? By lifting weights that are heavy enough to challenge them and by seeking the muscle ache and tightness that indicate work is being done. It’s a lot different than just going through the motions with pink dumbbells while running on the fumes of their 100 calorie breakfast. It requires focus and an actual desire to build.

5. Having Emotional hangups and Judgements 

If women stopped attaching their self-worth to their eating habits and dealt with emotions in productive ways other than “comfort food”, they’d be more inclined to eat appropriately. A long walk will clear the head better than a row of cookies. A good bonk in the sack is more stress relieving than a pint of ice cream. And going back to number 4, overindulgence wouldn’t be such a big deal if they sought hypertrophy instead of fat loss. Hypertrophy is about growth, not restriction, and that change in thinking frees women from the constant cycle of trying to eat like a supermodel and falling off the wagon.

6. Overeating at night

Females who eat like birds all morning, especially those who may have worked out fasted, often cap off their nights with a couple thousand extra calories because they’re making up for what they didn’t get earlier in the day. Their bodies are screaming for nutrition. And those hours of lacking nutrition can lead to elevated cortisol for lengthy periods of time.


If women ate substantially during earlier meals and fueled up appropriately for workouts they wouldn’t struggle so much with nighttime cravings and second helpings of dinner or dessert.

7. Not eating enough protein

If fat loss is their goal, then even more protein than the standard gram per pound of body weight would be beneficial. Why? Because protein satiates, preserves muscle, helps build muscle, and during digestion it’s more calorically expensive than carbs or fat. Protein has a higher thermic effect than the other two macronutrients. But women would rather pick at kid-sized portions of meat so that they can save room for cookies and chocolate-covered crap later on. (This is called dietary displacement.)

They don’t realize that extra protein doesn’t just stave off hunger, it also prevents muscle atrophy. Ladies who are trying to lose fat by eating fewer total calories and doing extra workouts are at an even greater risk of catabolizing muscle, which is the one thing that’ll make their bodies more efficient at burning fat.


Women need to calculate their protein needs and track their intake for a while to make sure they’re getting enough. If they’re struggling with body fat, a higher protein approach might have a major impact on their appetites and waistlines.

8. Going to extremes with dietary fat

No doubt, the saying “fat makes you fat” is outdated. We know there’s more to gaining weight than that. But a lot of women are learning that nuts and full-fat cheeses actually do add up, and those who think their thighs are immune just because they’re not spiking their insulin with “processed carbs” are misguided. There is a point at which too much dietary fat will make a person look like they’re eating too much dietary fat.

On the other end of the spectrum are the health conscious women who still have an aversion of fat. Even though the 90’s taught us that you can stay fat on a fat-free diet, some women still fear butter and egg yolks (but it’s saturated!). Many don’t realize that without fat and dietary cholesterol, the body will struggle to make the hormones necessary for a naturally fired up metabolism and sex life.


Women need a variety of fats, including some saturated fat, and would benefit from prioritizing omega 3 fatty acids, which are the most beneficial for decreasing inflammation and promoting fat loss. But females also need to realize that cravings for copious amounts of fat are a red flag that they’re getting inadequate amounts of one of the other macronutrients, like carbs. 

9. Going to extremes with carbs 

Athletic women often don’t understand the capacity a muscular body has available to store glycogen. Many carb-depleted athletic females walk around with flat muscles and assume that they’re “carb intolerant” because when they eat carbs the scale goes up. But the reality is that when weight-trained women eat carbs they’re just restoring glycogen to their flattened out muscles, and in turn they’re making those muscles fuller and more effective at doing work.

The more muscle a body has, the greater its capacity for storing carbs as glycogen. And when women deplete their muscle glycogen, they’re not actually burning fat, even though their bodies will appear smaller. They’re just draining their muscles of usable energy and water. Muscular women can make the scale spike or plummet in a matter of days with carb manipulation. This doesn’t mean they’re gaining or losing fat.

Athletic females who want a lean and powerful body should make room in their diets for carbs, especially around their workouts. It’ll make them more effective in the gym and better at building muscle. Sedentary women with little muscle would do well to rein carbs in.

10. Eating sweets to be sweet

A lot of women get stuck eating stuff they don’t really want because they haven’t mastered the art of saying “no thanks.” Females are often more sensitive to the feelings of others, so in an effort to be polite they’ll take food they don’t want, even if doing so doesn’t help them get any closer to their goals. A female trying to change her eating patterns for good will need to get her friends and coworkers used to hearing her say “I don’t eat that stuff.”

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As a female, I can relate to this article and have made these mistakes at one point or another. However, through my experiences, if you can address where you struggle when it comes to these 10 mistakes and proactively make a change, you will start to change and grow and break out of that plateau.

If you have an questions about health, fitness, nutrition, feel free to contact us.