How many diets have you tried so far? 3, 7, 15?
Let me guess. They were probably Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, Jenny Craig, Keto, low-carb, low-fat, etc.
What results did you get?
Wait, I know the answer. Probably not the one you were hoping for.
Did I nail it?
There are so many solutions available for fat loss, that I don’t blame you if you’re feeling overwhelmed and find it hard to decide what to do next. And listening to the latest Instafamous fit celebrity or gym bunny friend might get you rushing into a plan you don’t enjoy. Remember, when you don’t enjoy it you won’t stick to it, which is why it doesn’t bring results.
So you give up. Hear about another magic method and start the process again.
If that sounds like you, keep reading to find out more about 6 possible reasons you are failing at dieting.
1. You're dieting.
The term diet nowadays is used to describe any nutrition plan that has some form of calorie restriction to achieve a weight loss goal. Depending on what foods are restricted you have a wide range of low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, no processed, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan and many more diets available. While some of them do have their benefits for certain people, others are utter nonsense.
If you’re generally healthy and you haven’t got any special dietary needs you don’t need a diet. What all diets have in common without you realizing is that they control how much food you eat one way or the other. Weight loss happens when you eat less than your body uses on average over a long period of time. This can be achieved without completely restricting certain foods, focusing on wholesome fresh ingredients and using a method that suits your lifestyle to control your portion sizes consistently for the rest of your life.
2. You’re too focused on the scale.
Women especially are way too focused on the scale and stress about it. It is a shame because our metabolism and hormonal system fluctuates enough that the number on the scale will do so too and it won’t have any added benefit.
This is not to say you shouldn’t track your progress, but using other methods, mostly visual – like dresses, pictures, etc – has more benefits and will boost your confidence by the week.
3. You’re not eating enough.
Yes, there is such a thing and it happens mostly when women try diets to lose body fat and end up eating way too little. That’s a recipe for failing, binge eating and getting into a spiral of losing weight, then gaining back more.
Look no further than contestants from The Biggest Loser to see what extreme weight loss measures do to your body.
Instead, if you are into calorie counting, aim for 10-12x your bodyweight in calories in order to reach your fat loss goals. Start here and do this for 2-4 weeks and see what happens.
4. You’re eating too much (bites, licks, tastes or BLTs).
Most of us consume a large amount of calories without even realizing it. It’s very easy to forget that drinks contain calories, or the nibbles you eat mindlessly while working, tasting food while cooking, preparing your kids plates, etc.
Everything adds up.
Here is a great visual aid from Sohee Fit on just how fast you can consume ~500 extra calories.
5. You have unrealistic expectations.
I get it. You’d like to look like a cover girl and you’d like to achieve that by yesterday. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, that’s not how our body works. So many diets come with a promise like you can lose 7lbs in 7 days and what not. The problem with these quick fixes is that even if they bring you the results, you won’t be able to maintain them unless you enjoy eating flavorless food the rest of your life.
What is realistic for one may be too much for the other. It’s very important that before you start any program you:
-Assess your starting point
-How far you’d like to go
-How much you are able/willing to sacrifice, and
-Then set a deadline
Better yet, don’t specify one to the T. For example, don't say "I will accomplish this by July 1st". Instead create milestones which you can then track and review regularly.
6. You are not including strength training in your workouts.
There are still many women who think strength training will make them look bulky or too muscular. Here’s the good news: it’s not true. You would need to take a significant amount of steroids, workout for hours a day, and eat in a caloric surplus to build muscles like a man.
Listen, there are many reasons why women should strength train. One of them is that you can turn your body into a fat burning machine by developing stronger muscles. The more muscles you have the more energy they will need just for maintenance, meaning you will burn more calories by default. Strength training also helps prevent loss of bone mass and gives women that “toned” look they so desperately want.
In a nutshell, there are a number of reasons you may be struggling with fat loss. The above are just a few. With more research you will be able to make a more informed decision regarding a fitness program, which will lead to greater consistency and long term results.
Patience, commitment and realistic expectations will take you further than chasing quick results.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.