Would you agree that few people can say that they haven’t tried to diet at least once in their life? And in so many cases success is so short-lived… It has happened to me more than once, which made me ask myself – why do most diets fail to bring long-term results?
What normally happens is that we see a friend who has managed to lose some weight, ask her how she did it. She shares the latest diet tips with us. We read more about it online.
We find more raving fans of the diet on media websites. We get excited about it and decide to give it a try. Eventually, we commit to doing it, especially if a special event or a summer holiday is on the cards.
We starve ourselves for a few weeks (like I did with Weight Watchers), eat cabbage soup until we want to puke, or whatever the diet in question tells us to do. If we are really tough on ourselves and stick to it, we manage to achieve the desired weight and the look we have made so much sacrifice for.
What happens next? We relax, decide that we have suffered long enough, and deserve a reward. That biscuit is not going to do much harm… And maybe one more…
Days go by, we still like what we see in the mirror. Weeks pass. We go on the scales – ouch! How did it happen?? Is there something wrong with the scales? We only had a few treats… We get upset. To compensate for bad emotions, we treat “drown our sorrows” – with food. Then we feel like a real failure and just give up.
Five reasons most diets fail
- The word “diet” implies a limitation both in time and food intake. And who would want to be on a diet for life?
- The “habit” factor – diets don’t aim to create a lifelong habit. It’s a short-time fix.
- Many diets are extreme and may lead to nutritional deficiency because of strict limitations in the variety of foods “allowed” within the regime.
- A very low-calorie intake leads to the body going into a starvation mode, which lowers metabolism. This means that when a normal food intake is resumed, the body is still “thinking” it’s starving, and the extra calories get deposited as fat – for a “rainy day”.
- Most people are engaged in yo-yo dieting, which means lack of consistency. This often results in losing some weight only to gain much more later.
Losing weight doesn’t need to be complicated
- Stop thinking about losing weight, and instead start thinking about how you can become lighter, slimmer, healthier. The words “loss” and “losing” are perceived by our subconscious as a negative thing, and are rejected by the brain. The brain doesn’t like the idea of losing – anything.
- There is only one simple formula which works in terms of slimming down: fewer calories + more exercise. You need to find what works for you.
- Don’t go to extremes by cutting food intake too much from the start. Instead, see how you can increase the bulk and frequency of foods you eat while reducing the number of calories at the same time. The only way it can work is if we eat more vegetables, low-calorie foods like cottage cheese, as well as non-fatty white meats (if you are a meat eater).
- Replace desserts with fruit. Reduce the number of carbohydrates, excluding refined ones altogether.
- Drink enough water. The guideline is 8 glasses per day (about 2 litres).
- Eat oily fish – in moderation (focus on the wild varieties – not farmed fish). Drink loads of water. Introduce exercise into your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be hard or long. Just 10 minutes 3 times a day, and a 30-minute daily walk will make a big difference.
- Set weekly goals and daily plans. Record what you eat. A habit takes 28 days to form they say. At least aim to do it for 28 days. It won’t be this way all your life.
- Have these goals on a board or a big piece of paper where you can see them. Make these goals look really attractive. Write your reasons as to why you want to achieve them, put all your emotion into it. Make the board visual, put some nice pictures into them. Maybe of you when you were your ideal weight?
- Write daily To Do and Done lists. This helps to keep track of what has been done to get you to your goal.
- Find an accountability partner who either has your best interests at heart (a coach) or is on the same path as you. Account for what you are doing to achieve your desired weight regularly.
- Create a support network of friends (good ones) and family. It makes a big difference, although don’t let it stop you if your family and friends are not supportive. They may have their own agenda, and you need to consider what it is. Of course, you can do it on your own if you apply your willpower and dedication, but do look for online groups, or a coach to help you with it.
- Walk yourself slim. No need to join an expensive and for some much-hated gym (apologies to gym enthusiasts!). Walking is free and so good for us! If you prefer cycling – cycle. Or whatever you like. As long as you don’t sit still and wait for the weight to go.
- Supplement your diet with magnesium-rich foods. Take magnesium salt baths at least twice a week. Magnesium is not only a mineral which promotes relaxation. It’s wonderful for boosting energy and weight loss.
- Learn to do Far Infrared Weight Loss Wraps – they are such luxury and absolutely amazing for weight loss.
I am off for a bike ride now. When I come back I will be having a wonderful Epsom salt bath which helps me to relax and sleep through the night! 🙂