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Shawn Stevenson’s 5 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes

Jan 31

Shawn Stevenson is the bomb!! If you haven’t heard of him, check him out here.

He is SO spot on with health & fitness it’s insane.  Lemme fill you in on Shawn:

Shawn Stevenson is a bestselling author and creator of The Model Health Show featured as the #1 Nutrition and Fitness podcast on iTunes (<<if this is not in your podcast lineup you need to add it ASAP!!).  He graduated from University of Missouri- St Louis with a background in kinesiology and biology.  Shawn founded the Advanced Intergrative Health Alliance, a successful company that provides Wellness Services for both individuals and organizations worldwide. Shawn is also a dynamic keynote speaker who has spoken for TEDx, universities, and numerous organizations.  He’s basically the and one of my major role models and inspirations!

I listen to his podcast all the times and haven’t found one episode I don’t like.  They are all incredibly engaging and filled with knowledge!  Shawn is very big on providing science and studies to back everything up.  When I listen to his 5 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes podcasts it just inspired me like crazy to write this for you guys!  I immediately thought of friends and family who have talked to me about all the issues below, Shawn just sums it up so perfectly.

These are not only 5 of the biggest mistakes, but every mistake here has a solution!  I’ve dedicated this week on the blog a jumpstart to a healthy lifestyle.  Anyways…January was like a trial run right?  February is where it’s at!  This week we will feature recipes or exercises every day to get started!  You can’t start your health journey without a little education, knowledge, and motivation.  Without further ado, here they are!


Cutting Calories

I think this one is the most important by far, because I think it is the biggest mistake made by most people.  When we start to cut calories and eating less food your body will slow it’s rate of energy expenditure, which basically means your metabolism will slow down.  This is why people who cut calories feel tired, irritated, can’t focus… AKA HANGRY.

Cue everyone that says “I only eat 1200 calories a day and haven’t lost any weight.”

Your body does not want you to cut calories, your biology is not built for it. Your body literally says “this is wrong” and slows your metabolism down to compensate for the decrease in calories.

Muscle is your BFF.

When someone loses weight from cutting calories, they are losing up to 70% of their muscle tissue. NOT BODY FAT.  That loss in weight is coming straight from you nice, lean muscle.  Ladies & gentleman, muscle is your bodies fat burning machinery!

Remember when I was talking about the dangers of sugar and I said “Nutrient deficiency leads to chronic eating”.  Well, when most people cut calories they are cutting out nutritious foods because they are eating “low fat”, “diet”, “no added sugar” foods (<<yuck yuck yuck).   When you do that you become deficient in magnesium, selenium, zinc, and other trace minerals we need to activate certain programs in our body to burn fat.  When you become deficient in those vitamins and minerals, your brain kicks on and says I NEED TO EAT.  This typically leads to overeating.  Your body is trying to find the things it is deficient in, so it literally wants to eat #foodcoma

So those of you who are eating your lean cuisines, low fat yogurt, special K diet bars…just stop.  You wonder why you are literally SO HANGRY.  You are not getting the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from those good foods to make your body run properly.

Cutting calories also increases stress hormones. Yup. You read that right. STRESS=FAT. Cutting calories increases your stress hormones.  When your stress hormones increases, it causes your body to store more fat, and again it slows your metabolism down because you are depriving yourself.

Solution: Increase good foods such as proteins, good fats, veggies & fruit. Like this salmon recipe!  And don’t deprive yourself!

Being Seduced By Cardio

The quickest way to lose weight is to cut calories and run a lot…right??


Here’s why: When you are doing long duration, moderate intensity cardio (i.e running a long distance at a moderate pace) you are building up more and more stress hormones in your body (cortisol).  When this happens you are not getting to a point where your body can displace that.  Even talking a break for a few minutes (intervals) allows your body to displace those stress hormones a little, but just running for 45 min-1 hr. on the treadmill all the time is just building up more stress. Not saying it’s horrible, it can be good for some people, but again this is referring to people that are trying to lose weight and body fat.  We need to address stress first and get our bodies in balance so that its working efficiently, then you can get to running those distances at a moderate pace.

Solution: The ideal form of exercise is one that builds muscle.  Shawn recommends pairing 2 different exercises (or more) together in a circuit style, but you have to do it in a way that you are not working competing muscle groups back to back.  This will allow your body to break down stored sugars from your muscles and block you body’s ability to store carbohydrates and sugars later.  Not only are you burning fat but you are blocking you body’s ability to store fat and sugar later. WIN-WIN

To my ladies –  This does not mean you will get big when you build muscle!  You will actually lost fat and your arms/legs will slim down!!  Remember our post on “What Actually Happens When You Lift Weights”?  This is what we are talking about.

P.S. Tomorrow I am posting my favorite fat burning circuit training you can do right at home!!

Failure To Identify Shift

Now this is getting personal…

When you change your body physically you are also changing the way your body acts in your environment.  Your environment means how you relate to food, exercise and movement, and taking care of yourself.  If you are doing this properly, you will actually change.  You have to leave your old habits behind. Understand that you are going to shift your identity, shift who you are, and how you act with your environment, and relationships. Relationships are a huge factor contributing to your success or failure in transforming your body.  You need to understand you will transform into a greater version of yourself. Unfriend those bad habits.  Some people start off doing things the wrong way, you develop bad habits, then it becomes very stressful because nothing is working, you become frustrated and then you give up.

Solution: Recognize the person you want to becomes and leave the negative parts to you behind.  Understand you will change, and that’s okay!

Expecting Too Much Too Soon

We are by nature very short term orientated.  I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW. Why do you think there are so many products out there like juice cleanses & diet pills that say “drop 10 pounds in 1 week!”  Because those are the things that sell.  People want quick & easy without putting a lot of effort into it.  You would rather inherit a company and sell it for $10 million than work to build that company yourself.  Same goes for weight loss, you want to lose weight and a toned body but you don’t want to work for it or you want to see results on the scale in 1 week.

We are concerned with living for today.  If you start working hard and eating healthy, don’t get discouraged if the scale says you lost 1 pound.  There are no “get rich quick schemes” & there are no “lose weight fast schemes” that actually work and hold up long term. We need to shift thinking to long term.

The best tracking metric you can use is not weighing yourself on the scale, but taking a picture.  Take a picture of yourself when you first start out and then a picture every week or 2 to track progress.  We have it stuck in our head that weight is the thing that matters the most when really it should be how you look and feel!

“Pain is when your life conditions do not equal your blue print”  -Anthony Robbins

When your life blueprint (i.e. I’m supposed to be this weight, have this relationship, this job, make this much money) doesn’t match your life conditions, you feel pain. When they are equal, you are in happiness!  You can certainly change your life conditions but sometimes you need to change your blueprint.

Solution: Shift your idea about what is supposed to happen (I need to be this weight to be happy) to how you look and feel. Do you have more energy, are you sleeping better, and most important are you happier?

Not Resetting Your Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers that send signals between the cells of your body, they help your cells communicate. If your hormones are not in order the communication in your body is out of order, and that equals chaos. Understand we need to do to reset our hormones and get them balanced. By doing this you are shifting the way your body operates and making it more efficient.

How do you reset your hormones?

Solution:  2 easy ways you can start right now for setting your hormones are sleep & food.

Sleep: Get on your cycle. Your body is evolved on a cycle of sleeping and waking up. When you disrupt that, chaos happens.  When you wake up cortisol is released, which gives you energy in the morning.  As the day goes on your cortisol decreases and as it gets dark out, melatonin is secreted.  At least it’s supposed to.  When you are binge watching Netflix at midnight your body gets off its natural rhythm.  Melatonin is not secreted properly at night and cortisol is not released in the morning. i.e why you still feel so tired every morning and need 10 cups of coffee to wake up.  You need that cortisol to be mentally sharp and have energy for the day.  It is vital to balancing your hormones!

Food: Everything that you eat effects your hormones.  Whether it is a cupcake or an avocado, hormones are affected.  Understand we want to be aware of how food influences our hormones.  Eat in a manner that optimizes your hormones.  Eat MORE, but higher quality foods.  Yes you read that right, don’t’ eat less, eat more! Give your body more nutrition and more food so that your body will be happy and start to get rid of stuff instead of storing and holding onto it.  When you are eating the best quality foods aka REAL FOODS, minimally processed foods you hormones will begin to balance out.  This spaghetti squash recipe is the perfect example of choosing real foods rather than over processed pasta.


Look out tomorrow for my go to fat burning circuit…it’s a good one! Also lots of recipes this week to jumpstart fat loss and increase energy.

What did you guys think? Have you encountered any of these mistakes? Let me know!


// The Lokahi Sisters //

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  • Reply Brice Janecka Apr 27 at 4:34 am

    so much wonderful info on here, : D.

    • Reply admin Apr 30 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Brice!

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