Around two out of three adults are trying to control their weight each year. Women are significantly more likely to try to lose weight. Scientific analysis shows that any type of diet can be effective in the short term.
The majority of dieters gradually regain any lost weight. Multiple studies have found this to be the case for all diets, whether changing macronutrient proportions of carbohydrate, fat, or protein. Research has shown that the more diet attempts you make, the more likely you will gain weight in the future.
Scientists at UCLA conducted a review to investigate the long-term outcomes of diets to assess whether dieting is effective. The studies revealed that one to- to two-thirds of dieters regained more weight than they lost on their diets.
Why do so many weight loss programs fail?
1. Unrealistic expectations
Our weight can creep up, ounce by ounce, pound by pound, but when it comes to taking weight off, we want big results, fast! Think of the Tortoise and the Hare; strive to make sustainable changes.
Aim to lose no more than 1-2 lb a week (or 0.5% to 1% of your body weight).
2. You do not always have to suppress your cravings
If you deprive yourself of what you love, you are going to become angry and miserable. Allow yourself a treat every once in a while! You deserve it! Just make sure that you have a small amount.
One of the biggest problems is that people believe that their entire day is ruined if they make one wrong decision. That is very far from being true. Just because you eat something for lunch that is not great for you doesn’t mean that you have a free pass on binging for dinner and eat an entire pizza. Remind yourself that this is a journey and that you will make unhealthy decisions every once in a while. That is life.
One rule that I personally follow is the 1-hour rule. If you are craving those potato chips so badly, wait one hour. That hour should give you enough time to sit back and think about whether you really need them or it is just an impulse.
3. Getting discouraged
Nothing truly worthwhile is ever easily obtained, and weight loss is no different. When we lose weight, it’s not at a steady pace. Slow-downs and speed bumps along the way make us feel very discouraged that we are not getting the results we want, especially when we are trying so hard.
Remember that the scale is not your only measure of success. Instead, notice other essential points, including body composition, healthy choices, healthy eating behaviors, as well as gym time and body size.
4. Falling prey to fad diets
People are always looking for quick fixes, and the same applies to weight loss. Fad diets and starvation diets fall into this ‘quick fix’ category. This is not the way to lose weight because they fail to consider the complexity of the body.
5. Weight loss as your ultimate goal
People often make the mistake of believing that weight loss is the end goal. It should not be. If your goal is only to lose weight, you are more prone to going after those ‘quick fixes’ because losing weight is the only thing they promise, and it is rarely in a healthy way. Weight gain is often not the root problem. It is a symptom of a more serious problem that you should direct your efforts towards, such as stress or an unhealthy lifestyle.
6. Do not forget your metabolism may have slowed down:
As we age, our metabolism slows down. It can start as early as 25 years old and decrease anywhere from 2% to 4% each year. This is because muscle mass decreases. Always remember that muscle = metabolism. That is why you hear about bodybuilders that have to eat lots of food to keep their shape.
After menopause, women’s estrogen levels decrease, which also slows down their metabolism.
When your caloric intake is equal to your burn, you don’t lose weight. To help get past this plateau, you may have to increase your daily activity.
7. Don’t surround yourself with people who are not your cheerleader:
It is tough to stick to a diet when no one else around you is supportive. The typical scenario is when friends try to assure you that you do not really need to lose weight and that you should order that food you are craving. If this happens often, explain to your friends that you are making lifestyle changes not just for weight loss but to have a healthy life in the long run.
8. Underlying physiological issues
Many times people have done everything right and still cannot lose weight. That's where functional medicine steps in. Underlying hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, gut conditions, thyroid dysfunctions can prevent the person from ever losing weight.
When you are struggling with these issues, you could look at food and gain weight. This is not your fault. Clinically investigating these underlying causes of stubborn weight loss resistance gives people answers to their years of struggle. When you finally find out these root issues, they can then be addressed.
Keep in mind that pursuing good health is a lifelong journey. Those who are most successful at weight management seem to have fully incorporated healthful eating and physical activity into their daily lives.
Even modest weight loss can improve blood glucose and reduce the risks of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and blood lipids, especially for those with central obesity. Improvements in physical capabilities and quality of life become evident with even a 5-percent weight loss.
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