Often when clients start with me and we talk about their goals, they want to “lose weight”. This translates to the fact that they want to reduce their body fat and feel happier with the way they look. Without fail, everyone has a tale of how they tried “this diet” and “it didn’t work for me”.
First off, I have a problem with people “going on a diet” as this term has come to mean restricting your eating in some way, shape or form for a finite period of time. There are a myriad of options for this today from meal replacement shakes (don’t get me started on that one!), to only eating certain types of food, some even restrict the time you can eat specific foods. Some thrive on this approach and achieve great weight loss (though possibly rebounding fairly spectacularly once they go back to “normal eating”) whilst others simply cannot stick to such a regimented system.
What I often find though is that for those that “it didn’t work for”, it was sticking to what was prescribed, rather than the diet itself that did not work. Setting aside whatever nutritional system you choose to follow, if it fails to take account of your lifestyle and even your emotional state then success is going to be a struggle to say the least.
More to the point there are those that feel they are sticking to a nutritional regime but fail to take account of all of their nutritional intake. They may nibble as they prepare food, just have a “little bit of something” on an evening, share a packet of crisps/sweets/chocolate with a friend on an outing, or finish off the children’s leftovers rather than waste food. All of this intake counts!
In fact, every digestible thing you put in your mouth counts….including lattes! A skinny latte typically has around 100kcal and some of the more exotic flavours available can hold up to 350kcal. If, for argument’s sake, your daily energy requirement to lose fat was 1,800kcal this would represent between 5.5% and 19% of your daily calorific intake!
Similarly, if you are “good” all week but like to have a “treat” at the weekend, chances are you are undoing all your great efforts in one sitting. For example, say you maintain a calorie deficit or shortfall of 200kcal per day for 6 days – so that equates to 1,200kcal “saved”. Sunday arrives and you have your normal breakfast and lunch but come evening time you have a whole pizza and 3 glasses of red wine, then that meal alone will probably account for around 1,500kcal on top of what you have already eaten that day. Result is that you have eroded the deficit you created during the week and undone your good work.
So rather than just jumping on the next diet bandwagon, make sure you are:
– aware of your own emotional ties with food – and drink
– realistic with what you can fit into your lifestyle in terms of food preparation and healthy eating
– mindful of what you eat and drink and if you are serious about reducing your body fat, question whether eating that treat is going to help you achieve your goal….treats come in non-edible forms too.
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