Think you have it nailed, but the pounds just aren’t shifting? With all the good intentions in the world, it’s normally the smaller details that we overlook. As the saying goes though, that’s where the Devil is, and he really doesn’t want you to lose the lard!
- You don’t measure your food
The fact is, at its most basic, to lose weight you need to be eating less than you do now. Eating all the right stuff is great. You’ll feel the benefits of a more healthy digestive system, better concentration, more energy, but unless your total calories-in is slightly less than the amount you burn every day, it doesn’t matter how good the foods you eat are, you’ll still be the same weight.
If you’re serious about losing weight, then you need to be serious about taking care of your food intake. Guesswork is not going to cut it. To know that you’re eating less, you need to know how much is going in.
Most people underestimate how much they’re eating. In fact, in one study, more than half of the people surveyed underestimated how much they were dishing up by as much as 25%. It’s no surprise that people stand on their scales week after week to see the same result!
It may seem difficult, cumbersome, or time-consuming to measure your food, but it’s really not.
A good set of digital kitchen scales will make this a real breeze. Just stick your plate or bowl on the scales, and then every time you put a new food on it, hit the “Zero” or “Tare” button to reset them. It takes no more time or effort than dishing up or preparing food without them, and the scales will simply tell you when to stop.
Nowadays you can even get scales that will go as far as to tell you the calories and nutrition information in the foods you’re dishing up, so there really is no excuse these days for not being 100% in control of what you’re putting in your mouth!
- You don’t plan your meals
How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you’ve needed to grab something quickly, and can’t find anything with any semblance of nutritional value? When you’re in a bind, you’re left with either convenience foods or nothing. Unfortunately, most convenience foods are designed to send you hurtling towards Fatsville on a rocket-powered skateboard.
Eat nothing and your hunger will eventually force you to not only make bad decisions, but eat a massive portion that you don’t need.
The answer is not to get into that bind. Spend half an hour at the beginning of the week planning your week’s meal plan. You know your work schedule for the week, so plan for it and then make sure you have enough portable food on you, be that fruit or appropriate snack bars, sandwiches, or pre-prepared meals in Tupperware.
This can also stop you eating unplanned snack foods by following a “If it’s not on the plan, don’t eat it” policy.
Eating to become overweight is easy. Eat as much as you like of what you like, when you like. Losing weight takes a bit more forethought.
- You’re inconsistent
Losing weight is a one-step-at-a-time process, and if it’s not happening as fast as you think it should, it’s very easy to go off looking for a magic bullet. Unfortunately, magic bullets are about as common as seeing a bikini model in a doughnut shop!
If you spent just three months looking for better losses and consequently lost no weight in that time (the most common result!), and instead stuck to one programme and lost “just” 1lb per week, in the time you spent looking around you’d have lost nearly a stone of body fat.
At the end of the day, if someone can consistently drop, say, 2-3lbs per week, fantastic! But similarly if someone dropped 1lb per week, in a year, that’s still 52lbs.
No matter how you slice it, 52lbs is A LOT of fat, and whether you lost that in 6 or 12 months is irrelevant.
You can only drop weight as fast as your body will allow, particularly when we’re talking about body fat. Not only that, but as you lose weight, the rate at which you lose it will slow down.
Whoever you are though, to lose 10lbs, you have to lose 5lbs first. To lose 20lbs, you have to lose 10lbs first. Consistency is the key, and you need to consistently put one foot in front of the other to move forward any significant distance.
- You don’t drink enough water
You’ll find in more cases than not that any weight-loss programme is accompanied by the recommendation to drink more water. However, for some reason, keeping our water intake up is the first thing we tend to write off as being unimportant. Drinking enough water is a fundamental to losing weight and keeping it off, and ignoring the recommendations is a sure fire way to stick a bullet in your foot.
Your kidneys require a lot of water to do their job, and when you’re not meeting that need, they call on the liver for help, taking the liver’s attention away from its own jobs. One of those jobs is mobilising body fat out of your system.Water can also raise your metabolism, get rid of that soft “puffy” look caused by water retention, increase workout as well as day-to-day performance… the list really does go on. If you’re looking for a magic elixir, this is it!
Don’t gloss over the water drinking recommendations that come with a fat-loss programme. They’re there for a good reason, and it’s only you who loses out by ignoring them.
- You don’t say “No, thank you”
Friends and colleagues can be persistent. But when someone gives you something to eat, be it a chocolate bar, or cakes in the office, it’s you that has to live with the effects of eating it, not them.
Now consider that you only need to eat 50 calories over what you need each day to gain 5lbs per year. To put that into perspective, 50 calories is just one fifth of a standard 45g chocolate bar. Just giving in to 1½ small chocolate bars per week will put you on track for that extra 5lbs of spare tyre.
Now a little bit of what you fancy every now and then won’t do you any harm. If every now and then, though, is every few days, or worse, even more often, that’s not ‘a little bit of what you fancy’ any more. That’s part of your day-to-day diet.
So every time someone offers you chocolate, a slice of cake maybe, and won’t take a polite “No” for an answer, think about how that will effect you, and stand your ground. They might think they’re being nice, they may even be a little bit offended, but there’s no reason for you to feel awkward or uncomfortable because you don’t want to eat their offering, and as long as you give in, people will continue to give you things. Say “No” enough times, and people will learn and stop offering, and guess what? Both yours and their life will go on exactly as before! Only yours will be considerably slimmer.
So, be honest, how many of those can you tick off your list as things you are or aren’t doing? Tell me in the comments below…