January should be the declared month of the dieter. Gym memberships are at an all-time high, and everyone is beleaguered with good intentions to shed some extra flab. But according to an article in Science Daily, many of us go about it all wrong then wonder why we can't seem to lose weight.
Even though weight loss is at the top of most of our resolution lists, only around 20 per cent of us actually manage to take it off and keep it off.
"Dieting is a skill, much like riding a bicycle, and requires practice and good instruction," says says Dr. Jessica Bartfield,a nutrition and weight management specialist at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care. "You're going to fall over and feel frustrated, but eventually you will succeed and it will get easier."
According to Dr. Bartfield, these are the top four reasons diets fail:
1. Underestimating Calories Consumed
It's easy to underestimate the number of calories we consume in a day. Logging everything you eat, including those scraps off your child's plate, can give a more accurate picture of where you're going astray. Dr. Bartfield also recommends paying attention to portion size, which tends to be super-sized in restaurants.
2. Overestimating Activity and Calories Burned
By the same rationale, we overestimate just how many calories we burn at the gym. It may feel like you've run a full marathon, when in reality you need to nix a whopping 500 calories every day just to lose 1 lb in a week. Dr. Bartfield suggests buying a pedometer and staggering exercise to at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.
3. Poor Timing of Meals
"You need a steady stream of glucose throughout the day to maintain optimal energy and to prevent metabolism from slowing down. Eat breakfast every day within one hour of waking up, then eat a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours. Try not to go longer than five hours without eating a healthy snack or meal to keep your metabolism steady."
4. Inadequate Sleep
You may remember our post a while back about that little gremlin hormone known as ghrelin? Well, if you get fewer than six hours of sleep, your ghrelin levels are likely to be higher. Higher levels of ghrelin and cortisol lead to increased appetite, which means you're more likely to crave high-carbohydrate/high-calorie foods.
Any surprises here? Any tips that worked wonders for you?