Have a hard time losing weight? Tired of strenuous workouts and testing some new diet plans that work? If so, you’re not alone. Believe it or not, over 95 percent of diets fail. Most people regain the lost weight within one to five years. What’s even worse is that prolonged dieting puts you at risk for eating disorders and metabolic damage. Plus, there are many other factors that may affect your weight loss progress, such as your hormones, stress levels, genetics and overall health. Without a doubt, there are diet plans that work —you just to cut through the hype and find an approach that fits into your lifestyle.
Before getting started, check out these five reasons why your diet isn’t working and what to do about it!
5. Not Getting Enough Calories
Contrary to popular belief, weight loss isn’t all about calories in versus calories out. If it was that easy, obesity rates wouldn’t be on the rise. Health experts advise against going below 1,200 calories a day for good reason.
The more you lower your calorie intake, the less energy you’ll burn. When you’re on a strict diet, your body enters starvation mode. This means it begins to use fewer calories for its daily functions. As a result, your metabolism slows down and the stress hormone cortisol levels go up.
Crash diets are notorious for their ability to cause metabolic damage. That’s why most athletes and fitness models go on reverse diets after long periods of cutting. Reverse dieting allows their bodies to recover from stress and become more efficient at burning calories.
Need more proof? Check out the Mediterranean diet, the Atkins die and other diet plans that work. Some don’t even require counting calories. The whole point is to make clean eating a habit rather than skipping meals or starving yourself.
4. Skimping on Protein
When it comes to fat loss, protein is your best ally. This macronutrient boosts your metabolism, promotes lean muscle growth and suppresses appetite. High-protein diets have been shown to stimulate thermogenesis, causing your body to burn more calories throughout the day. The explanation is simple.
Compared to dietary fats and carbs, protein requires more energy (calories) to digest. This means your body works harder to break it down into amino acids and use it to fuel tissue growth and repair. Additionally, protein helps you build and maintain lean mass, especially when combined with strength training. The more muscle you have, the higher your energy expenditure and the faster your metabolism.
Furthermore, this nutrient increases satiety and reduces the desire for late night snacking. Have you noticed how full you feel after eating beef or fish versus potatoes or cereals? That’s because beef, fish, poultry, eggs and other high-protein foods keep hunger at bay and improve appetite control.
3. Overindulging in Healthy Foods
Except for water, all foods and drinks provide calories. If you’re eating pounds of fruits every day, don’t expect to lose weight. Perhaps you love almonds and cashews? A single cup boasts over 600 calories. After all, few people have the willpower to stop after just one serving, which is less than 30 ounces.
Healthy eating doesn’t guarantee weight loss. Sure, it’s important to have a balanced diet and avoid junk food, but you still need to watch your portions. Too much of anything can hamper your progress and affect overall health.Let’s take olive oil, for instance. One tablespoon delivers 124 calories. It may not see much, but if you pour olive oil over every meal, the calories add up. The same goes for nuts, seeds, whole grains, coconut milk and other healthy foods.
Portion control is paramount. No matter what your diet looks like, keep your servings in check. If you’re always hungry and feeling the urge to eat, choose low-calorie, high-volume foods. These include cruciferous veggies, dark leafy greens, cucumbers, zucchini, berries and more. A fresh vegetable salad, for instance, is big enough to keep you full but has just a few calories per serving.
2. Drinking Empty Calories
Let’s assume you stick to your diet, exercise regularly and have a balanced lifestyle. Yet, you’re not losing those pesky pounds. This might be due to the fact that you’re drinking empty calories.
Sports drinks, energy drinks, alcohol and caffeinated beverages are often the culprit behind weight loss plateaus. Even healthy beverages like vitamin water boast tons of sugar and empty calories. Since they aren’t filling enough, they don’t reduce hunger or satisfy your cravings.
Fruit juices and smoothies aren’t better either. They contain fructose, which is just another form of sugar. They have little or no fiber, so the sugar goes directly into your system. Unless you burn it for energy, it gets stored as fat.
If you’re serious about weight loss, cut back on liquid calories. Stick to plain water, fruit-infused water, black coffee and unsweetened tea. Keep diet soda to a minimum. Even if it’s sugar-free, it may still cause insulin spikes and mess up your metabolism.
1. Avoiding Healthy Fats
Most dieters avoid fats like plague. They ditch the egg yolk and would never touch an avocado or eat butter. The truth is that not all fats are created equal. Your body needs these nutrients to function at its peak.
Certain fats, such as omega-3s, fight inflammation and promote cardiovascular health. They also reduce hunger and help preserve lean mass. Even saturated fats are good for you. These nutrients play a key role in hormone production and muscle repair. Plus, they keep your brain sharp and can be used as a source of fuel when carbs are not readily available.
Just make sure you avoid trans fats. These are usually found in deli meats, potato chips, cookies, pie, refined vegetable oils, junk food and other processed treats. Healthy fats, by comparison, come from whole, natural foods, such as wild-caught salmon, tuna, avocado, nuts and cold-pressed oils.
In fact, any diet plans that work are based on protein and fats. The Mediterranean diet, for example, is rich in olive oil, olives, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and fatty fish. The ketogenic diet recommends getting at least 60 percent of your daily calories from fat.
Now that you know why your diet isn’t working, give it a twist! Load up on protein and healthy fats, cut back on carbs and practice portion control. Watch out for hidden sugars and empty calories, such as those found in breakfast cereals and store-bought fruit juices. Remember, consistency is the key. Eat mindfully and the results will follow.
Are you making any of these diet mistakes? Or perhaps you want to share some diet plans that work? Leave a comment below and share your story! We want to hear back from you.