Are you always trying new weight-loss diets, but failing to get results? You’re not alone. Out of the countless women who try to slim down each year, only 20% actually manage to reach their weight-loss goals. Why? Well, there are a few reasons diets don’t work. We’ve put together the top four fails – and given you a few tricks to overcoming them.
Fail #1: Underestimating how much you actually eat.
Seems like a no-brainer – but your diet will never work if you don’t keep tabs on how many calories you’re consuming. A lot of us get into the habit of overeating, so we over-do the calories without realising. Some of us don’t know how many calories are in different foods. And some of us snack randomly throughout the day and don’t think those calories “count” (ummm, yes, birthday cake counts. So do those chips you swiped from your workmate’s plate at lunch. It ALL counts).
The fix: Keep count of calories.
Yes it’s a bit boring but if you want to lose weight, keep accurate detailed notes of everything you eat throughout the day in a food diary. Measuring calories means you feel more accountable for what you eat – downloading a fitness app can help you make good choices (especially when you’re eating out). It’s also important to use measuring cups or scales when you cook at home to regulate portions. Don’t let your eyes or tummy decide!
Fail #2: Overestimating how much you burn off.
Again, seems obvious, but a lot of people have an unrealistic idea of how many calories their exercise sessions actually burn off (and how this translates into food consumed). When you’re consuming calories, ask yourself is it really worth it?
The fix: Get active, even between workouts.
Rev up your metabolism by aiming for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week – and remember it doesn’t always have to be dynamic. It could be as simple as walking more and faster. Invest in a pedometer to track your steps, avoid taking public transport where possible, and always walk up the stairs rather than using the lift or escalator.
Fail #3: Eating irregularly.
When it comes to weight loss, it’s not just about what you eat – it’s also about when you eat. A common error is to try to cut calories through the day, then fall victim to cravings at night. When willpower is low and we’re hungry, we tend to eat more and make worse food choices, so it’s a lose-lose.
The fix: Eat every 3-4 hours.
To maintain optimal energy levels and keep your metabolism from slowing down, you need a steady stream of glucose throughout the day. Try to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, and then top up your energy by eating a healthy snack, protein shake or meal every 3 or 4 hours throughout the day. It will keep hunger pangs at bay, too.
Fail #4: Burning the midnight oil.
Believe it or not, sleep is extremely important for keeping your waistline in check. Studies have shown that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite, particularly for high-carbohydrate and high-calorie foods. So basically, the less you sleep, the worse your diet will be.
The fix: Get your beauty sleep.
Aim for at least 7 hours’ sleep a night, no matter what. And if you have trouble getting to sleep, don’t eat a large meal close to bedtime as it will wake up your body and give you an unnecessary energy boost when you really don’t need it. Herbal teas (especially chamomile) are great pre-bedtime.