By Esther Crain; Photography by Freepik.com
Houston, we have a problem.
You’re tracking your kilojoules, fending off snack temptation, and ordering salad bowls so often, you have a salad guy who knows your order by heart. But despite your best efforts to shed kilos, the scale won’t budge.
Don’t blame a lack of willpower. Your diet fail probably means you’re falling prey to some mistakes that can derail even the most motivated dieters.
To help you figure out where you’re going wrong, answer these seven questions. Then follow the expert-backed advice that’ll get you on the road to being a weight-loss success story.
1. Do You View Your Diet As Temporary?
If you’re counting down the days until you can go back to your pre-diet eating plan, then no wonder it’s not working. Denying yourself certain foods and putting a tight limit on kilojoules in the short-term often makes you feel deprived (or actually does deprive you of the necessary level of calories and nutrients your system needs to function right)—and that can make you eat more than you realise to compensate. Instead of dieting, make small tweaks to your eating habits so you eat more good stuff with almost nothing 100 percent off limits. “You want your healthy lifestyle to be something you can maintain throughout life, not just for a few weeks,” says New York–based nutritionist Alissa Rumsey.
2. Did You Cut Out Carbs, Fat, Or Go Vegan?
Cutting out an entire food group sounds like a worthy strategy: By avoiding one specific food category, you avoid all the extra kilojoules that go along with it. For a few days or weeks, any kind of elimination diet can work. But you’re probably also eliminating the wide range of nutrients your system needs to feel energised and satiated, which makes fatigue and hunger pangs kick in. Even worse, your taste buds will start to rebel and hit you with killer cravings for the banned foods, driving you to face plant in the very type of food you swore off. Eating a variety of healthy foods, on the other hand, will help you ride out temptation and drop kilos.
3. Do You Overcompensate After A Big Meal?
After a night out indulging at a big dinner or drinkfest with friends, you skip breakfast and head to the gym instead to “make up” for your extra kilojoules last night. Sound familiar? “This actually creates a cycle of deprivation followed by overeating later in the day when your body is hungry,” says Rumsey. “Instead of trying to compensate by skipping meals or working out, the best thing you can do is to start the day with a balanced breakfast and focus on making healthy choices today.”
4. Do You ‘Reward’ Yourself For Good Behaviour?
Losing weight isn’t easy, so “it’s natural to think, I ran three 5 kays this morning, I deserve a treat!” says Rumsey. But most people overestimate the kilojoules they burned in a workout and underestimate the ones in a dessert or treat, she says. “Don’t have dessert because you feel like you ‘earned’ it; have a treat on occasion when you really want it and it’s something you enjoy,” she advises.
If you’ve run on a treadmill in your life, you’ll be able to relate to these thoughts every woman has had on the treadmill:
5. How Much Are You Boozing?
A glass of wine has about 600 kilojoules; mixed drinks can sneakily pack in even more. Listen, we know the weather’s perfect for outdoor happy hours and drinks al fresco with friends, but alcohol calories add up without providing any satiety. Ease up on the booze or subtract the kilojoules in your nightly pinot grigio pour from another part of your diet, and your clothes will start to feel looser.
6. Do You Track Everything You Eat — Everything?
Maybe you think you’re keeping tabs on everything you eat. But don’t forget to factor in things like the cheese samples at the supermarket, the half a pizza slice you scarfed off your husband’s dinner plate, the mini-cupcakes you indulged in during an office birthday party. These sneaky food bites still have kilojoules that thwart your weight-loss efforts.
7. Are You Eating Enough Protein At Breakfast?
“Many of my clients eat low-protein breakfasts like oatmeal, cereal, or bagels and cream cheese, and while these foods can be part of a balanced breakfast, they are lacking in protein—an important nutrient that helps to keep us full and satiated,” says Rumsey. Research backs up the idea that spreading protein throughout your day, by including it at all meals, helps with weight control, she adds. But it’s especially important in the morning because the energy and fullness you feel sets you on the right healthy eating course all day. Adds Rumsey: “Be sure to add protein, and some healthy fats, to all of your breakfasts—like a dollop of Greek yogurt and a handful of nuts or seeds, and top that bagel with scrambled eggs or smoked salmon.”
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com