Are you frustrated because although you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly you still can’t achieve your weight-loss goal? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – this is a common problem faced by numerous dieters who simply can’t understand what they’re doing wrong and who struggle with a sense of failure and disappointment when their goals aren’t achieved.
Registered Nutritional Therapist, Jackie Lynch, explains the 6 key reasons why your weight-loss regime might not be as effective as you’d like:
You’re not chewing your food properly
Very few of us take the time to sit down and eat slowly and mindfully, which can have a significant impact on our waistline. Breakfast is often in one hand as we rush around getting ready in the morning. At lunchtime, we’re usually far too busy knocking out a few urgent emails to focus properly on our food and in the evening we’re often mechanically putting food in our mouths while our eyes are glued to the TV. Our gut contains hormones that help to control appetite and pacing ourselves as we eat and taking the time to chew our food properly, helps to activate these satiety mechanisms, which tell us when we’re full. Challenge yourself to chew your food until it’s fully broken down and aim to be the last to finish when you’re eating with friends – you’ll notice that your internal STOP button is far more effective!
You’re having too much of a good thing
You’re probably being very careful to keep sugary foods to a minimum, but are you paying enough attention to the portions of more healthy foods? It’s easy to assume that you can have as much as you want if something’s good for you, but large portions of nuts, seeds, pulses or grains, for example, can all add up to a hefty calorie intake over time which could affect your weight-loss goal. While nuts are full of essential fats and are far more nutritious than biscuits or chocolate, they’re also very moreish and a large handful of walnuts can set you back by 500 calories. If you think it’s time to pay attention to your portions, then a handy kitchen gadget such as brand new Mealkitt (www.mealkitt.com) could be just what you need. It’ll teach you all about the right portions of your favourite healthy foods and could transform your weight-loss journey!
You’re not moving enough
21st century living has become increasingly sedentary – we sit at desks all day, we drive from place to place, we use moving staircases or walkways to help us along and yet the human body was designed for movement! As part of your weight-loss regime, you may well be going to the gym 3 times each week but still not seeing any results. The question is, what are you doing for the rest of the time? Your workouts should be the extra exercise on top of an active lifestyle. If it’s genuinely the only time you’re active, then it’s not surprising that you’re just managing to maintain the status quo. Start to think about how you can introduce free exercise into your life – take the stairs, not the lift; park the car further away from your destination; take a 20-minute brisk walk every lunchtime and make sure you own and use at least one of the following: walking shoes, running shoes, bicycle, tennis racquet, yoga mat, manual lawnmower or dog! It could be just what you need to kick-start your metabolism.
You’re a Fad Dieter
Have you tried and failed at various diet plans? Are you always on the look-out for the latest quick fix? If you tend to flit from diet to diet excluding random food groups, skipping meals or doing drastic detoxes, your metabolism has probably got very confused. The body’s survival instinct is incredibly powerful and its first duty is to keep you alive in times of starvation. If your calorie intake drops dramatically, your body will hold on to fat stores as a potential source of energy, slowing down your metabolism and adjusting the number of calories burned, based on your intake. This is why ‘slow and steady wins the race’ when it comes to successful weight loss. To support your metabolism, a healthy calorie intake is required to support key functions such as the heart, brain and lungs – dropping below 1,000 calories per day is likely to send the body into starvation mode. Most people can lose weight in a more sustained fashion by shaving around 500 calories off their diet each day and still remaining within recommended healthy weight-loss limits of 1200-1500 calories for women or 1500-1800 calories per day for men. If in doubt, consult a health professional for advice on the appropriate calorie intake for you.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Have you ever noticed that you tend to crave carbs and sugar when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep? When you’re over-tired the reward receptors in your brain kick into gear, encouraging you to look for comfort food to help you feel better. At the same time, the frontal lobe of the brain that manages decision-making and impulse is less effective, making it hard to resist temptation. Sleep deprivation also impacts hormone levels that regulate appetite – including ghrelin, the hunger hormone which increases when we’re not getting enough sleep and leptin, the appetite suppressant, which will also drop. If you think the quality of your sleep is affecting your weight management goal, it could be time to focus on sleep hygiene. Manage the temperature and light levels in your bedroom, keep digital devices in another room and create relaxing bedtime rituals such as meditation or reading.
You may have an underactive thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck and one of its many jobs is to produce hormones that regulate your metabolism. If levels of thyroid hormone drop, this can lead to an underactive thyroid which will directly affect your ability to lose weight. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include excessive tiredness, difficulty losing weight, sensitivity to the cold and constipation. If you suspect you might have an underactive thyroid, it’s important to consult your GP for a diagnosis and medical support. If you want to keep your thyroid in great shape, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables which are rich in B vitamins and magnesium that help to support the production of active thyroid hormone. A small portion of raw nuts and seeds each day will provide optimal levels of iron and selenium which are both essential for healthy thyroid function.
Now that you are aware of all the hidden reasons your health goals may be slipping through the cracks, it’s time to get back on track with meal preparation and food portion control tool, MealKitt, your ultimate weight loss companion.
Tagged in Weight loss