Nutrition and weight loss have never been more confusing and not to mention disheartening. Raise your hand if you’re part of the “lose 10lbs gain 15lbs” club! I was too, for a long time. Here you’ll find my top 5 reasons your last diet failed and how to avoid these pitfalls.
#1 Too Little Calories Consumed
So here’s the deal, your body requires a certain number of calories per day to carry out basic functioning, things like breathing and digestion (what keeps you alive basically) and this is called your Basal Metabolic Rate. Everyone’s is different and you can find a basic calculation in quick Google search. This calorie count doesn’t include the additional calories burned doing things like walking to the bus or the store, etc.
When you drastically decrease your calories you also subsequently decrease your nutrient intake (the stuff that makes sure you don’t get sick and die). Your body will start pulling from its stores and will be able to survive short term. THEN hunger…..you haven’t provided your body with adequate nutrients in several days and now its crying out in pain and what happens? You binge. You get home from work and anything and everything you see gets inhaled and you say f**k this! And go back to your old eating habits a little worse for wear.
#2 You’re Eating Too Much Fruit and Not Enough Protein
When we think of “healthy eating” certain things come to mind and one of those is large plates FULL of fresh fruit. Fruit is amazing. It’s full of vitamins and antioxidants, but it is also full of sugar. Instead of telling people to eat their fruits and vegetables, I say “eat your vegetables and fruit”. Fruit does have SO much good stuff in it and I would prefer you eat an apple than a granola bar, but it only takes your body about 1 hour to digest a serving of fruit. Instead of snacking on fruit throughout the day, I recommend you have a serving a fruit first thing in the morning on its own. The about 1 hour later, have your breakfast and for snacks during the day, try nuts/seeds, or roasted chickpeas (you can eat this like pop-corn!).
You also want to make sure you’re getting enough protein at every meal. Being vegetarian, I have to be a bit more strategic, but some vegetarian protein options are:
Beans and rice
Have you ever put soft tofu in a fruit smoothie? DO IT, you can’t really taste the tofu and it gives your smoothie a natural protein punch!
#3 You Didn’t Plan It Out
I’m talking meal prep here guys and I preach this ALL the time, everywhere I go. Meal prep is probably the #1 thing that you can do to ensure success. Imagine you get home from work and you’re hungry…I’m talking hangry level hungry. You could easily shove half a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos into your face (done it) or 6 handfuls of peanut M&M’s (done it) OR you could have a nice little bowl of grapes that’s about 100-150 calories and that will be digested by the time you’re ready for dinner.
In order to be successful with weight loss YOU have to set yourself up for success. The 2 feet between your hand and your mouth is about that last bit of true freedom we have in the world and only you control what happens there.
Having lunches and dinner ready to go Monday-Friday is key for people with busy schedules. No last minute pizza pick-ups because you’re too tired to cook dinner. Literally scoop and reheat. I’ve done this for years; every day and every week and attribute my success to being prepared.
#4 You’re Not Exercising
Ok here’s the thing…unless you’re grossly overweight, you’re going to have to move your butt to shed those pounds. You can probably lose a few pounds with diet change, but if you have a slip up you’ll gain it back. More than the calorie burn, exercise has so many great benefits:
Exercise actually INCREASES your HDL (good cholesterol)
Build lean muscle and burn more calories at rest
Improve your cardiovascular health
Resistance exercise increases bone density especially in menopausal and post-menopausal women
So my advice is to get moving, get motivated, and feel great!
#5 You’re Calling It a “Diet”
I’ve always disliked the word “diet”. To me, it’s associated with other words like “restrictive” and “temporary”. When you decide to change the food that you are eating and come into the health world, you are actually reverting back to the diet that humans were meant to eat. This is our “diet”; vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes. All the bounty that Mother Nature has to offer us. You need to think of this in the long term. A typical “diet” may last 12 weeks or so, but this way of eating is for life and for lifelong health. And if you approach it from a perspective of health improvement rather than a weight loss perspective your odds of lasting success are astronomically higher. The “diet” industry didn’t become a billion dollar industry because it actually works.
If you’re looking for some inspiration check out some of my recipes on my website. I’d also love it you guys would share this post with anyone who is struggling or starting a new healthy lifestyle and leave any questions in the comments section below.