If ever you’ve faced your own weight loss struggle and not achieved your desired results, it’s likely that you’ve blamed yourself for lack of willpower or poor discipline, and thought that you’re doomed to carrying those extra kilos for life.
Believe it or not, losing weight is not so hard if you have the right eating plan for your body and eliminate the mistakes that sabotage your results. So, what are the most common mistakes that make the weight loss struggle a reality?
There is no ‘quick fix’ that lasts long-term. It’s simply not possible to maintain hard-earned weight loss results by returning to previous habits. Think logically: if (for example) eating pizza and donuts contributed to your weight gain over a number of years, what’s likely to happen if you start eating pizza and donuts again? Equally, if (for example) eating meat and vegies contributed to your weight loss, what’s likely to happen if you continue eating meat and vegies? Put simply, the eating pattern that works to give you your desired results is the same as what will help you stay there.
If you think pizza and donuts is a food group, then perhaps you should cut some food groups out. It’s more likely, though, that you cut out sugar or carbs or fat, or you decided gluten-free was the best choice, or perhaps vegetarian. There’s nothing wrong with any of these choices, of course, but cutting out food groups without good reason – especially if you enjoy those foods – is a mistake many make. Without a nutritionally-sound strategy, it’s likely that you’ll be eating too much of something else to compensate.
This is perhaps the biggest problem when it comes to weight loss. Alcohol stops weight loss for a few reasons:
• it can’t be stored in the body so needs to be metabolised first – before the food you’ve eaten and before the body fat you wish was not there.
• It affects sleep. Sometimes alcohol helps you fall asleep, but it affects the quality of your sleep and often wakes you later in the night. You know, where you’re staring in the dark at the ceiling, getting frustrated.
• It lowers inhibition and makes it more likely that you’ll make poor food choices. Wine with cheese and crackers sound familiar?
We humans are notoriously forgetful when it comes to the minute details of our daily lives. What did you eat for lunch on Tuesday? Chances are that you don’t remember. Not writing down everything you eat and drink means that you’ll forget things, and then it’s impossible to isolate problem areas when you’re making change.
Food manufacturers have carefully cultivated the expectation that a bowl of cereal or some toast is appropriate breakfast food. Both are quick and easy, for sure, but neither contain enough quality protein to keep you satisfied between meals. Protein also feeds your muscle, meaning that most of any weight you lose will be from fat stores rather than from muscle.
When does an over-sized meal usually occur? Mostly at dinner – unless, of course, it’s Christmas Day. If a huge dinner is followed up by going to the gym or for a run to “burn off those calories”, it’s possible that you’re creating a cycle of punishment. Instead, just get straight back onto your healthy eating plan.
You went to the gym so you ‘deserve’ cake, or you put up with your boss’s bad mood all day so you ‘earned’ a glass (or three) of wine. Sound familiar? Reward your good behaviour, by all means, but not with food or alcohol. Soak in a bubble bath, make a voodoo doll (joking!), or watch a bit of reality TV rubbish – whatever takes your fancy. Just stay away from food and alcohol when it comes to rewards or treats.
Developing strategies to stop the weight loss struggle can be difficult. You might need to change some habits. Is stopping the struggle worthwhile?
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