1 in 4 adults are thought to be trying to lose weight at one time or another. Many people are going on and off the same diet or changing diets. Why is adherence to a diet or changes in lifestyle difficult to keep to?
There are a multitude of reasons why people fail on their diets. A few possible reasons are plateaus in weight, a sense of failure from giving in to cravings, going on holiday and gaining some weight or when life gets in the way.
Which ever way you have chosen to lose weight it’s better to be viewed as long term commitment. If you look long term then weight gain blips look much smaller.
On the other hand the long term may seem daunting to some people. To help improve your adherence and to decrease the chances of ‘falling off the wagon’ let yourself have a free meal on 2 non-consecutive days a week. Free meals are a chance to give in to your cravings, to some extent! It isn’t an excuse to go crazy but maybe to have a dessert, have bigger portion of pasta or rice, have a take away or go to a restaurant (only have the take-away or meal out for one of the free meals and still think moderation). Have one during the week and the other at the weekend. Try to have them on a training days where your body can better handle the extra calories. Also have the free meal in the evening, if possible, as having it during the day makes it is more likely you will eat poorly through the rest of the day.
This will help with the mental side of trying to lose weight.
It can also help with the weight plateaus as I’ll explain below
Your body is very good at storing fat but doesn’t like to lose it. Most diets or dietary advice will get you to reduce calories (some diets may not state this but they do) through cutting down on carbohydrates. Reducing overall calories is very much like going on a extended period of starvation and your body will decrease your metabolism to combat the reduce calories. There are many mechanism that affect this and eating regularly will help battle these mechanism and so do free meals.
On free meal days try to eat extra carbohydrate. This has the best effects on the mechanism involved in reducing your metabolic rate. I know it seems counter intuitive to over eat to lose weight but your body will ‘sense’ that you are no longer restricting calorie intake and raise metabolic rate. This technique will be most useful when a weight plateau is reached or at a time when you feel excessively tired when exercising and your performance is suffering. Of course you will have to rule out other factors first e.g. just being tired 🙂
Holidays and trips away will be more problematic but if you accept that you may put on some weight and get back on track when you get back. Time away should be a more enjoyable experience and some of the weight will be down to stored carbohydrate and water. However, try to choose the healthier options, keep things in moderation, only eat when you start to feel hungry and stop when you aren’t feeling hungry any more.