3 Big Reasons Your Diet is Failing You (and What to do Instead)
September is the new January. It's the kid sister to the New Year's resolution. It's the month that most of us get back into a routine. Kids go back to school and we Mom's can finally get back to taking care of ourselves too.
It's also the time of year where we think about cleaning up our food and maybe even going on a diet. But before you do I want you to consider a few things.
Traditional diets have some big pitfalls. So before you decide to live off lettuce and water for a week, consider these 3 Big Reasons Your Diet may be failing YOU (and what to do instead).
1) It isn't sustainable.
Diets often drastically reduce calories so not only do you feel so hungry that you could eat a horse, you may end up bingeing on "cheat" foods. Then you feel terrible about your lack of willpower, beat yourself up and vow to start "back on Monday". Thus begins the diet, binge, repeat prison that never ends.
In addition to reducing caloric intake, a lot of traditional diets restrict entire food groups such as carbs or fat. Our body needs these and when we deprive it of the nutrients it needs it revolts. We often end up feeling exhausted and irritable and this can only be sustained for a short period of time.
Go somewhere in the middle.
Be cautious of any diet that tells you to eliminate or significantly reduce entire food groups from your diet. Instead, aim to eat REAL food as much as possible and reduce the packaged stuff. Even the occasional "treat" is Ok. If you're constantly telling yourself you can't have certain foods, you are more likely to binge on them later on.
Eat a balance of proteins, carbs and fats (no need to count macros) 4-6 times a day to keep your blood sugar steady and keep your energy up to stave off the hungriest. (Check out my FREE 5 Day Meal Plan for some inspiration).
2) It's Tanking your Metabolism
When you're trying to lose weight, keeping your metabolism firing is the name of the game. However when you go on a traditional diet and restrict your caloric intake, you lose muscle mass which is the lifeblood of our metabolism. Lose muscle and you send your metabolism back to bed.
This is where the dreaded "yo-yo dieting" begins. We lose 10lbs on diet 1, then gain it all back plus 5 and on and on we go. With each restrictive diet, your metabolism gets slower and slower making it that much harder to lose weight and keep it off.
There IS a better way! You can keep your metabolism firing on all four cylinders by doing the following:
Ensure that you get an adequate amount of protein to maintain muscle mass. It is recommended that the average individual consume 0.8grams protein/ Kg of bodyweight. (A highly active individual may need to consume up to 1.4grams/ kg bodyweight)
Eat every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism soaring. Think of feeding your body as adding fuel to a fire (the fire being your metabolism of course). Stop feeding it and it dies out. Feed it and it will burn forever.
Perform resistance training exercises 2-3 times a week to maintain or increase muscle mass (Check out the Free 5 Days to Fit Jumpstart Program Home Workout Videos to get you started)
3) It's only focusing on the scale
If you're setting out to lose 10lbs, it only seems logical to start tracking your progress with the scale right?
Well not really...
The scale only tells us if we are lighter period. It doesn't tell us if we have lost muscle (remember the sinking metabolism) vs fat. The goal is to MAINTAIN muscle, and LOSE fat only.
Imagine you stepped on the scale after 2 weeks of rigorous dieting and only lost 2 lbs. You'd probably be pretty annoyed and close to opening a sleeve of oreos.
Well what if you'd actually gained muscle (increased metabolism AND you'll look leaner and tighter) and lost several pounds of fat that your scale couldn't even tell you? That's a whole different story right?
Not only does the scale not show the actual change of our body composition, it also doesn't show the significant benefits of improving your diet and fitness. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the number game that we often lose sight of why we started in the first place.
Ditch the scale and focus on how your clothing fits OR how you're feeling instead. The constant checking of the scale can make us crazy as women. We can gain and lose up to 5lbs a day just living our life (this is just fluid not fat by the way). If we're constantly checking the numbers to see if they're "good" we lose sight of the big picture.
If you're not ready to ditch the scale yet, consider checking in once a week rather than every day. Begin to track "non scale victories" such as improved energy and digestion, better skin and hair, and less illness.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel your best. You deserve to feel good about yourself and sometimes that means you may want to drop a few pounds. However if you've been riding the diet roller coaster for years, you may want to consider making small shifts to the way you think about weight loss and dieting.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing and it doesn't have to be all about the scale. Enjoy food that makes your body feel good, have a few indulgences from time to time and move your body regularly. It will all come out in the wash.
If you're ready to learn the exact method I teach my clients to lose fat and gain all day energy (without depriving yourself and being obsessed with the scale) Grab my FREE 5 Days to Fit Jumpstart Program.
A 5 Day Meal plan to kickstart your metabolism and give you all day energy
7 Recipes for Easy Meal and Snack Ideas
7 Tips for Healthy Eating Guide
5 Days of quick (30 minutes or less) fat burning, body sculpting Home workout videos with My Fit Coach, Kim Holmes. (That's me!)
Kim Holmes is a Personal Trainer and the Owner of My Fit Coach. She helps busy Moms care for their bodies (and minds) through Online Fitness and Nutrition Programs. As a Mom of two young sons, she understands that you don’t have hours to spend at the gym. Her Online Programs are efficient, fun and most importantly, they make fitness fit into your REAL life.