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Five ways you are sabotaging your diet

Picking at a share plate might be enjoyable, but watch how much you’re eating. Picture: iStock
Picking at a share plate might be enjoyable, but watch how much you’re eating. Picture: iStock

EVEN when we have the best of diet intentions it is common to hear weight loss clients report that they are frustrated that they are not getting the results on the scales they think they should be. So here are the most common reasons we sabotage our own diets, often without realising it.

You are eating extras

Mindless eating, or the calories we consume without even realising it can account for as much as 20-30% of our total daily calorie, which in turn can be the difference between weight loss and not.

Extras tend to slip in each day via large portion sizes; extra serves of sauces and dressings; mindless munching via biscuits, lollies and individual chocolates we are offered throughout the day and the little 'treats' we give ourselves and then justify.

The easiest way to get a true indication of exactly how much you are eating is to keep a food diary. As frustrating as this can be, simply writing down or recording every single type and amount of food and drink that you consume over a 24 hour period can give great insight into why, or why not your diet may be working.

In some cases we are not eating enough, but in most cases the reason we are not getting the weight loss we expect is because we are eating more than we realise.

You are eating more because you train

Not only can exercise increase your appetite, but psychologically it gives many of us permission to eat more, or foods we would usually not eat because we have 'been good' and have already burnt off the extra calories.

This logic falls apart simply because it is so easy to eat a whole lot of calories and we often do not burn as many as we think.

For example, a 30-40 minute gym workout may burn 300-400 calories, while a single piece of cake or fast food meal will contain at least 600 if not more calories.

If you are exercising with the goal of weight loss, you do not need to eat more and rewarding yourself with food for exercising will simply undo all of your hard work.

Even if you train hard, you can’t keep rewarding yourself with food if you want to lose weight.
Even if you train hard, you can’t keep rewarding yourself with food if you want to lose weight.

You are eating at the wrong times

Perhaps the most significant factor that will predict whether we are losing weight or not, busy lives which see us eating dinner at 8 or 9pm are not conducive to weight loss.

The human body is programmed to burn more calories during the first half or the day, and this is also the time of day we tend to be most active.

As such, the greater the proportion of calories we consume during the first half of the day, the better.

For this reason if you regularly work late or go to the gym after work, you will be much better to eat your largest meal at lunchtime and choose light options such as soup, white fish and salad once it gets to 7 or 8pm or later at night.

You are going too hard too soon

For the majority of us, who are looking to lose 5-10kg, weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, which means you need to pace yourself.

Following a very strict regimen in which you consume minimal calories for days at a time may give you initial weight loss results, but this approach rarely works long term as we 'go off' our diets, binge eat everything in sight and regain all if not more weight than we had initially lost.

For this reason, whenever you commit to a new lifestyle plan, factoring in a couple of meals off each week, and ensuring you actually like the foods you are eating each day, and not feeling hungry is the key to long term success.

Yeah, you’re probably not going to be able to stick to this diet long term.
Yeah, you’re probably not going to be able to stick to this diet long term.

You are buying foods that will not support weight loss

It may be the choices you make at the cafe, the foods you put in your trolley at the supermarket or what you order on UberEATS but if your regular food choices do not compliment your weight loss goals you are unlikely to achieve them.

Human beings will eat the foods they buy and have easy access too, which means if you are buying treats for guests; or ordering pizza for another family member, you will eat it.

If you are really committed to losing weight all of your food decisions add up and as such we need to make the food choices we have control of, good ones most of the time.

Yes. If you buy these as treats for other people, you’ll probably end up eating them. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Yes. If you buy these as treats for other people, you’ll probably end up eating them. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Topics:  diet editors picks health lifestyle

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