Saturday, August 1, 2009

One RD's take on your failing diet...

Why does your diet fail? Lots of reasons, probably...

Reason 1: You follow the plan that worked for your friend.

There’s not ONE “right” diet…you have to do what works for YOU. Last year a study completed by the New England Journal of Medicine found that when compared, the Mediterranean diet, low-fat diets, and low-card diets all produced weight loss. Some say, "Pass the bread basket!" while others shout, "Give me the MEAT!" -- to each their own, and same goes with their diet.

Reason 2: You eat a small breakfast.
Check THIS out: one study including 94 women showed that eating a larger (610 calories!) breakfast produced more weight loss in women when compared with those consuming a smaller breakfast (290 calories!). How much of a difference, you ask? The big breakfast eaters lose an average of 40 pounds, while the nibblers lost a pathetic 10 pounds! For the record, I completely agree with this one! Bring on the breakfast - yum!

Reason 3: You’re clueless about calorie counting.
Yep, that’s right…they’re calling you out. Did you know that an additional 100 calories each day leads to a weight gain of 10+ pounds a year? That’s a glass of fat-free milk or slice of 2% cheese too much in a day. Ouch! Add on a can of regular pop for an afternoon caffeine jolt, and you can count on an excess 25 pounds a year. Eek! So, write down what you eat by keeping a food log. A 2008 study found that recording your intake can DOUBLE your weight-loss.

Reason 4: You skip meals.
Extending the time between standard meals by 4-5 hours to “save up” for a special occasion can cause you to consume substantially more. And, you’re more likely to choose less healthy options, too. What to do? Eat every 4 hours as to not set yourself up for disaster at your next meal.

Reason 5: You load up on superfoods.
Nuts, avocados, and dried fruits are healthy, right? Yep! But, those are superfoods that are extremely easy to over-indulge in. While they’re PACKED with nutrients, they’re also extremely calorically-dense – it doesn’t take much to get the benefit before you’ve gone over-board! Your body loves the healthy stuff, but losing weight boils down to consuming LESS calories than we need. The body doesn’t care whether the excess calories are coming from fruit or candy – excess calories will lead to excess pounds.

Reason 6: You’re canceling out the benefit of your workouts.
Workout to pig out? Not wise rationalization… unfortunately. We tend to under-estimate our intake while over-estimating the number burned during exercise (Psssst: DO NOT get duped into thinking the elliptical accurately measures the number of calories you burn!). To burn off that 1 slice of 2% cheese we talked about earlier, you would owe the treadmill another mile of running. And with that additional can a pop, an ANOTHER 1 ½-2 miles of running. Walking, biking, and other aerobics will cost you even more time working away. Reward hard work at the gym with something other than food. Manicures, anyone?

Reason 7: You watch what you eat Monday thru Friday only.
Splurges ought to be reasonable and the weekend need not bring your weight loss efforts to an entire 2-day hault. And if you go really over-board, you've undone the results of scheduled, predictable (and probably good!) eating patterns the work week brings. Plan your weekend and act accordingly. A weekend, every weekend, is not a right to binge! (Duly noted. I do love the weekends...)

Reason 8: You don't plan for stress.
Food is not a licensed therapist or source of entertainment -- it's fuel for our bodies. When you're having an emotional moment or a mental uprooting, think about the situation at hand and devise an appropriate means of dealing with the situation. The right response to stressful situations does not involve fast food, refrigerators, or ice cream. Stress happens...learn to cope without using food as an answer. It won't solve your problems, I assure you!

Ansel, Karen. 8 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working. Family Circle. August 2009.

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