With nearly half of all Americans resolving to lose weight this New Year, many well-intentioned resolvers quickly quit because they find their diet too hard or they slip-up and can’t get back on track.
Here are 5 reasons why your weight loss efforts aren’t working.
1. Using food as a post-exercise reward
Whether food is your “reward” for all your hard sweat or you feel ravenous after working out, many of us overcompensate with what we eat and never reach a calorie deficit to lose weight. Exercise burns a surprisingly puny amount of calories compared to what we can put away with a few bites of food. Even research on marathon runners shows that without paying attention to diet, it’s hard for a large percentage of them to lose weight—and that’s during peak marathon training where they’re burning 4,000 calories or more a week from just running. Remember, leanness is generally thought to be about 80% diet and 20% exercise.
Related Article: Exercise Weight Gain
2. You try to eat perfectly
“Chronic dieters often adhere to strict all-or-nothing diets that are too restrictive and unrealistic. It’s like trying to walk on a tightrope for life, which explains their lack of success. We all will eventually fall off,” explains Marcia Crawford, MS, RD. Instead of thinking of a strict eating plan that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, focus on strategies that you can, with a little work, realistically live with.
You need to expect slip-ups to happen when you’re losing weight, so how you deal with a bad day, week or month helps predict success. Individuals who can lose and maintain weight loss can be flexible enough with themselves to bounce back to healthy eating. Think: Life Happens or as I like to say, #$%! Happens! And start fresh tomorrow.
Related article: Overeating SOS
3. You eat out more than twice a week
Every meal eaten out adds about 200 additional calories to you diet, according to research published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. The proportion of our daily calories from take-out or restaurant meals has increased to 24% of our total daily calories and has risen in tandem with increasing rates of obesity.
Research shows that people who eat out two or more times a week are more likely to pile on pounds compared to those who eat out less frequently. Reserve eating out for special occasions or business travel. When eating out, manage calories by reading the menu and any calorie information available and forgo all the extras and stick with the most basic mean options.
Related Article: Dine Out Without Pigging Out
4. You drink too many calories
New research shows that we’re drinking a great proportion of our calories than ever before. In fact, one-quarter of the population drinks nearly 300 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavored water and gourmet coffee drinks. The problem with drinking our calories is that they’re less satisfying than when we eat foods, so we’re unlikely to eat less when we drink more calories. In addition, most beverages with calories get their calories from nothing other than sugar. This sugar is rapidly absorbed by the body and may increase risk for metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes and may increase hunger and cravings.
Related Article: Think Before You Drink
5. You don’t get the shut-eye you need
This may be the easiest of all fat habits to break. All you need to do is get more sleep. Several studies have recently found that sleeping 6-8 hours a night was found to double dieters chances at losing at least 10 pounds over the 26-week study. If you really want to be a diet success story, make the changes needed in your life so you can get enough sleep.
Related Article: Sleep More, Weigh Less
–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD