It is an obsession with many Americans and those of the progressive and developed countries. . . Weight Loss and dieting. It is no surprise that year after year, weight loss remains one of the top 3 new year resolutions on most people’s list. Sure, losing weight is one of the top resolutions made each New Year, but only about twenty percent of people are able to achieve weight-loss.
Here are some reasons why diets fail:
- Underestimating Calories Consumed: Most people underestimate the number of calories they eat per day. If you write down everything that you eat, including drinks, bites or tastes of food can help increase self-awareness. Be sure to pay attention to serving sizes and use measuring cups and spoons as serving utensils to keep the correct portion. Food eaten outside of the home tends to be much larger portion sizes and much higher in calories. If you are going to eat out, look up nutrition information of where you are going to eat and select a healthy meal before going out.
- Overestimating Activity and Calories Burned: I found this is a big one. Most people will tell me they are healthy eaters and when reading food journals, I find that the opposite is true. There are great resources out there that help people count and estimate foods eaten and energy exerted. Tracking progress and getting a visual of exactly the goals and actual activities exerted will help you succeed. Remember that the average person needs to cut at least 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. This is very difficult to achieve through exercise alone, because it would require 60 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day.
- Poor Timing of Meals: There are many beliefs out there regarding when to eat, how much to eat and what types of foods to eat. A lot of successful eating programs agree that a steady stream of glucose throughout the day to maintain energy and to prevent the metabolism from slowing down is best. Many experts agree that people should eat breakfast every day and within one hour of waking up. Follow this practice by eating a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours. Preparation is key. Prepare good choice foods.
- Poor and Inadequate Sleep: I am a very hard core believer in holistic health, and part of optimum wellness is sleep. This directly translates to the success of diets as well. It is found that people who receive fewer than six hours of sleep, those who work night shifts and those who have sleep insomnia have higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite. In addition, less sleep raises levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can lead to weight gain.
- Diets Are Not Everlasting: The problem with almost all diets is the short-term and “quick-fix” mindset. Most people look at diets as an all-or-nothing proposition. Instead, slow and eventual whole lifestyle change is the goal we should all be aiming for. Tiny steps, making small, even incremental changes in daily lifestyle that can last a lifetime should be our “fix”. Diets encourage and promise people that changing eating habits for two weeks to a month will do. But once those two weeks are over, people tend to resort to old habits and fall off the bandwagon and lose sight of goal, not the weight. Remember the folk take about the turtle and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race.
- Current Health Condition or Pre-existing Health Conditions: Many diet programs focus on losing weight without a consideration to the current health status. For example, many individuals who have heart disease, diabetes or other chronic condition may also need to lose weight. While weight loss is definitely beneficial for these people, other factors contributing to their preventable chronic disease require intervention as well.
- Human Behavior is overlooked: Most diet programs only address the number of calories consume instead of addressing the behaviors (motives and triggers) that make people want to overeat, indulge or certain food choices, and what is causing the weight gain in the first place. Poor lifestyle habits, limited access to healthy foods, social pressures, psychological and emotional eating, as well as lack of nutrition education, can all be factors.
Sources: CNN Health, Active.com, ScienceDaily.com, UWeightloss.com, Archive.IndianExpress.com