If you’ve had trouble losing weight by dieting then you are not alone – there are scientific reasons for this. According to Kathleen Zelman of the American Dietetic Association the reason is that when you reduce your calorie intake this sends a message to your body to ”conserve energy by burning calories more slowly”. The body does this because it wants to avoid starvation by using up the reduced available energy more slowly. This reduction in the rate of calorie consumption makes it very hard to lose weight.
Many diets ban certain food groups such as carbs. This is dangerous as it can lead to nutritional deficiencies that upset that body’s natural balance. So, for example, if you try to follow a fruit only diet your body naturally begins to crave the foods that it is used to receiving the nutrients it needs from. And these cravings, as any dieter knows, are what most often lead to the diet being broken or abandoned.
And once these unsustainable diets are broken the dieter puts on all the lost weight – ”and then some” says Zelman.
- Snack – but smartly. Having a snack between meals used to be considered a crime but nutritionists now know better. They have found that when a craving for food is ignored for too long this increases the chance of an unhealthy binge. It’s far better to find some protein rich healthy snack such as nuts or, according to Cosmopolitan, a tablespoon of peanut butter on fruit.
- Turn off the TV. A new study reported in Cosmopolitan found that people take in about 40 percent more calories when they eat while watching TV. This also happens if you eat when driving, texting or doing any other distracting activity. It’s better to put your meal on a plate and sit down to eat it even if you are eating alone.
- Don’t avoid the scale. No use being in denial. By monitoring your weight daily you will see when you are taking in more calories than you are burning and will be able to reduce you intake or be more active immediately before it’s too late.
- Go to the gym 3 times a week. Focus on exercises like push-ups, lunges and squats in order to build and maintain muscle mass. Research has proven that increasing muscle mass increases your rate of metabolism which means you’ll naturally burn more calories as you go through your normal daily routines as well.
- Phone a friend. If you find yourself craving a certain calorie rich food rather phone a friend for a chat. Research has shown that cravings typically only last for about 5 minutes. Although those 5 minutes sometimes feel much longer. So a pleasant distraction is often all that you need to beat the craving.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that by eating a big breakfast with plenty of carbs and protein and some fat to keep the blood-sugar levels up you’ll be less likely to eat too much at lunchtime. Cosmopolitan suggests a breakfast of egg whites, bacon and whole-wheat toast.
- Avoid alcohol. A single sugar rich drink like a margarita adds hundreds of calories but does nothing to satisfy your appetite. Rather only treat yourself to a drink on weekends and cut back on other calories or stick to just one glass of wine, a light beer or a vodka and soda. Each of these only contain about 100 calories.
- Eat fruit twice a day. Fruit is mostly made up of water and contains no fat. It will leave you feeling full without adding too many calories. The carbs found in fruit are healthy and fruits also are a good source of healthy fiber.
- Get more sleep. Researchers have found that people who sleep an extra hour compared to what they are used to tend to make wiser food related choices. More sleep also helps combat stress which will help you avoid snacking to combat your feelings of stress and fatigue.
- Walk more – Instead of always parking as close as you can to your destination park some distance away and walk, or if not too far walk to the shops, church or friends instead of driving. It may not seem like a big difference but it all helps to burn those calories.