Dieting but not losing weight?
A lot of us want to lose weight but sometimes it seems that whatever you do nothing changes! Here are five things you might be doing that could be hampering your weight-loss goals…
1. Not eating enough
One of the most common mistakes dieters make is to miss meals. The only good thing this achieves is feeling virtuous, until we overeat at the next meal. Missing meals, or long gaps between meals means that our metabolic rate drops. The metabolic rate governs how fast we burn calories to give us energy. The faster we burn calories, the more weight we lose. Paradoxically, the more frequently we eat, the more calories we burn.
Our prehistoric ancestors most probably ate in this ‘grazing’ manner, eating roots, nuts & berries every couple of hours throughout the day. Even though we are more ‘civilised’ than our palaeolithic relatives, our digestive system has changed very little. It appears we are well adapted to eat small meals frequently.
Aside from weight loss, this grazing style of eating ensures that blood sugar levels remain steady throughout the day, without the peaks and troughs associated with less frequent meals. Steady blood sugar levels means steady energy throughout the day. Eating every 2-3 hours is ideal. For most people this falls into the pattern of breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and perhaps supper. See our meal and snack ideas listed below.
2. Lack of sleep
There are two reasons why lack of sleep can be causing you to hang on to those extra kgs. Firstly, that you people who are sleep deprived often reach for snacks (and quite high calorie ones) or sugary drinks to get a bit of an energy boost. Secondly, the hormones released while we sleep help us to control hunger, not enough sleep leads to an inbalance of these hormones = hungry and eating more. On average most adults need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night, so set yourself an evening alarm and get to bed early.
3. Eating ‘diet’ foods
It’s important to read labels, fat free can often mean high sugar and zero fat often equals heaps o’ sugar, so make sure you read the labels and steer clear of food that makes big promises. If it’s really low in fat and it tastes amazing then you should be wary. Stick to fresh unprocessed snacks so that you can be sure you know what you are getting. Make sure that you aren’t over consuming too, sure nuts are a healthy snack option but not a whole bag of them!
4. Sitting down all day
That’s right. Sitting down is killing you…literally. Not including all the other health benefits of getting off your chair, people who stand can burn up to 200 extra calories a day! Standing all day may not be practical for you, but even if you could swap standing for sitting for part of your day (like giving up your seat on the bus, standing while waiting for your coffee, getting out of your chair and having a stretch every so often…) the health benefits can be enormous. Find out more about how standing versus sitting can effect your health.
5. Drinking your calories
Mmmm, juice? One or two lattes with full cream milk, tea with one sugar, a glass or two of wine after work? Keep tabs on how many calories you are drinking – you could be sabotaging your diet efforts through a straw. You should pretty much stick to plain old water as much as possible. Water has a grand total of zero calories and it is also really good for you! You could add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, or take the herbal tea option to try and make it a little fancier. Try not to add sugar to coffee or tea and definitely steer clear of juice, fruit is best in its whole fruit form.
So that’s it! If you aren’t doing any of the above listed, and you are working hard at eating right and still nothing is happening, as with anything else, it might be time to enlist the help of a professional. You can speak to one of the Hiscoes Trainers as a first point of call or make an appointment with a dietician. Good Luck!
Boiled/poached egg(s) on toast
Raw muesli (unsweetened) with 3 teaspoons of LSA*
Baked beans on toast
Sardines, tuna, salmon on toast
Smoothie (low fat milk (soy or cow’s), raw egg, banana or other fruit
MORNING, AFTERNOON TEA OR SUPPER
Small can of tuna and rice, crispbread, bread roll + salad
A handful of raw nuts and seeds (almonds, Brazil, walnuts, sunflower seeds)
½ or 1 sandwich (see lunch suggestions)
Humus and crispbread
Ricotta or cottage cheese and crispbread
Cold boiled egg and tomato
Fruit and a few nuts or slice of low fat cheese
Vegetable soup (containing some beans or chicken, meat) and crispbread or bread roll
Cup of low fat milk (soy or cow’s)
LUNCH OR DINNER
Sandwich(s) egg, chicken, lean meat, low fat cheese, humus, turkey, tuna, salmon + mixed salad, avocado)
Fish (baked, steamed, grilled, barbeque), salad or vegetables, potatoes or rice or pasta
Chicken (no skin) as for fish
Lean meat as for fish
Stir fry vegetables + chicken, seafood or lean meat
Beans (lentils, kidney, etc) and rice and vegetables or salad
Vegetables soup + beans, chicken or meat
*As each person is different, so is their lifestyle. If you work long hours without a break, you might be able to chew a few nuts and seeds, or drink a cup of soup instead of sitting down to a more substantial meal.