Once again, the powers at be around national health and nutrition recommendations give more vague advice around weight-loss: “Researchers say you’d be better off just forgetting the word diet,” reveal a report from the latest Journal of the American Medical Association.
Does this advice actually give reader’s specific actions to take around their health? No, instead, it just suggests you refrain from using the word “diet” or thinking about the concept of dieting when approaching your own health concerns and weight-loss goals.
Regardless of the words revolving around your weight-loss, most people are simply confused and overwhelmed, making their weight-loss efforts pointless and unsuccessful. With 2 out of every 3 adults qualifying as overweight or obese these days, it isn’t surprising that this topic is on just about everybody’s mind–even if they’re doing nothing about it.
Here are 3 common reasons why your approach to weight-loss isn’t working:
1. Your plan is too strict. Too often, people jump on the band-wagon or the latest fad without realistic expectations. Expecting that you will suddenly be able to remove all sugar from your diet–and stick to it forever–is a plan that most will fail at. After the failure comes a feeling of defeat, and thus, you give up. Instead, creating a “lifestyle” that revolves around mostly healthy and whole foods, with planned treats or “cheat meals” has proved to be more successful.
2. Old habits die hard. If you haven’t taken the time to acknowledge and reflect on how you’re currently behaving around food, it isn’t unlikely to see those same old habits impair your latest efforts. No dieting fad can undo a lifelong habit of overeating after a stressful day, or eating too few calories through the day then bingeing at night due to hunger by the time you get home from work. Taking the time to truly observe what isn’t working in your life around food today, and why, is the key to making long-lasting changes.
3. You’re starving yourself. The best way to prevent your body from losing more than that first few 3-5 pounds? Eat too few calories and tell your metabolism to slow down and conserve everything it can. In other words: causing you to burn fewer calories at rest and store more of the calories you consume as body fat. (Not to mention, too few calories will totally screw up your hormone production!) Your metabolism is like a burning fire, if you starve the fire of firewood, it will eventually die out. In your body, this is why it’s recommended to consume 4 to 6 small meals a day–that way you’re constantly giving your metabolism energy to burn but not so many calories at any one sitting that there is enough leftover to store as fat.
(And new research shows that eating breakfast doesn’t just benefit weight-loss, it prevents heart disease!)
Losing weight is challenging–this is true for most of everyone–but success will come from making realistic changes in your life that don’t demand 100 percent perfection, that focus on eating more whole foods (vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and some fruit), and involves a plan that you can truly follow for the rest of your life.
Written by: Ginger Vieira