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You’re about to embark on yet another diet so you can be fit, healthy and slim for that bikini in a few months time. But in your heart of hearts you know you will be miserable, moody and hungry. And more importantly you will fail.
So let me share some secrets with you as to why you will keep on failing unless you change your approach
- Portion control – Put it simply many of us eat too much even on a diet. You have more control over what you eat at home but what about that quick latte on the way to work because you didn’t have time for breakfast; a large skinny latte could have up to 130 calories, add a ‘healthy low fat’ muffin and that’s another 340+. Or that sandwich from the supermarket at lunch time; an egg mayo could have upwards of 400 calories. You may decide to meet friends after work for a low cal drink (or two) and a small bowl of pasta – where’s the harm! A small slimline gin and tonic will set you back a meagre 56 calories. But restaurant portions are getting bigger and they are served on bigger plates or bowls so it is hard for us to judge the true amounts we are eating; a bowl of Prezzo’s Penne con Salmon (light) still has a whopping 800 calories, a shared garlic bread will add 140 calories a portion and that sprinkling of parmesan is about 60 calories. By now your one slimline G&T has morphed in to a large glass of house red (170 calories) so you decide to share a dessert (it would be rude not to!) half a portion of ‘healthy’ lemon Torte is 225 calories.
So in total on your diet you have some how managed to consume over 2,300 calories in one day. Impressive!
- Mindless eating – how often do you sit at a table to eat your meals?! When we sit in front of the TV, laptop, tablet etc we are distracted and often do not register what we have eaten and therefore when we are full. The signal from our stomach to our brain to say STOP takes about 20 minutes but if we are distracted we tend to eat faster, so that signal doesn’t get through until we are well into that unnecessary pudding. How often have you been surprised when you look down at your plate and realised it is empty?
- Stressed out – if you are stressed, anxious or worried then you are more inclined to comfort eat. This is because being stressed can produce a hormone called ‘cortisol’, which can release glucose in to your bloodstream, promoting a hunger response thereby increasing your appetite.
So if you are not mindful of portion control then your weight may go up this will make you stressed and you will eat more!
- Snack attacks! – Be careful what you snack on. Carrot sticks and hummus or rice cakes with wholenut peanut butter may be a better option than the low cal snack bar which could be full of refined sugars that your body processes very quickly, so it may not fill you up for long. A small portion (28g) of unsalted nuts maybe a better option
- What are you drinking? – Both alcoholic and soft drinks contain an abundance of calories. Stay hydrated with water; not only will it quench your thirst but it will stave off hunger pangs. A ‘healthy’ shop bought smoothie could have as many as 250 calories and up to 5 teaspoons of sugar. Even though a can of diet drink has only a few calories latest research indicates that the artificial sweet taste prepares your body to expect calories and when they aren’t forthcoming your body craves food and your appetite could increase
- Lack of sleep – Scientists believe that if we don’t get enough sleep it disturbs the levels of two specific hormones leptin, which lets you know when you are full and ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite.
So put very simply the more you sleep the less you eat!
- Are you eating enough?! This may sound odd but even on a diet you do need to consume enough calories to meet your bodies needs. You can work this out on various website to get you Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the calories you consume at rest. But you may think you’re eating only small amounts and should therefore lose weight but as previously mentioned it is not just about portion size its also about what you eat. For instance a flimsy cheese croissant, which is gone in seconds could have 340 calories. Compare that with a medium sized jacket potato and a large salad with balsamic vinegar all for 300 calories. Not only are you eating less calories but more fibre which will leave you feeling fuller for longer
- Are you a couch potato? – Moving more (it doesn’t have to be structured or an expensive exercise class) not only burns calories but releases endorphins which can enhance your mood and make you feel good. The Government recommends at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
Next week I’ll blog about the things you can do that won’t sabotage your weight loss goals but help you to lose the pounds permanently!