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Have you been trying to lose weight, but can't seem to figure out why you've been unsuccessful? The answer isn't the fad diet you've attempted, nor is it a simple matter of willpower.
Here are some common reasons people "fail" at their weight loss attempts. Do any of these sound familiar?
1. You never let yourself get hungry.
This is a good indicator that you're eating too much. It’s ok to wait until you get hungry before you eat. If you eat when you're not hungry, stop and ask yourself why. Is it to comfort yourself? You may find that you are eating out of enjoyment instead of to nourish your body.
2. You do the same workout every time you go to the gym.
You have to switch it up in order for your workout to make a difference. Your muscles want to be challenged. Keep them working! Try high-intensity interval training by running as quickly as you can for a minute and walking briskly for two minutes. Then repeat.
3. You are afraid of using weights.
Muscle burns more calories than cardio. Once you have muscle tone, you will find that it is much harder to gain the bad kind of weight (i.e. fat) for this reason.
4. You care more about calorie content than the quality of what you are eating.
There are loads of artificial ingredients in foods, which make them difficult for your body to digest. Just because something is low in calories doesn't mean it’s healthy! Choose whole foods and stay clear of diet sodas and low fat cookies.
5. You're stressed out.
If you're stressed, you're more likely to gain weight. Stress increases the amount of cortisol your body produces, which leads to increased appetite and fat storage. Adapt some stress relieving habits like yoga or meditation.
6. You're addicted to sugar.
Sugar converts into fat. This is no secret. If you want to finally lose that extra weight around your thighs, either kiss sugar goodbye or practice moderation. To quell a sugar craving, try something salty instead. Often we crave sweet things because we don't have a good balance between salty and sweet foods. Also, substitute anything that has refined sugar with fruit. Try out some dried mango or a have a delicious smoothie.
7. You're drinking too much alcohol.
So, you eat healthy all day. You go to the gym now and then. You should be skinny, right? Nope, not if you're drinking beer a few nights a week. Cut down on all alcohol, especially beer and sugary cocktails.
8. You never think ahead enough to plan meals.
If you're a very busy person, this is key. When you eat out, try having a specific idea of what you want to eat before you get to the restaurant so that you're not as tempted by other options. Go grocery shopping during the weekend so that you have healthy food stocked for the entire week. Cooking a big meal on Sunday, like a quinoa pilaf, that will last you throughout the week is also a great idea.
9. You compare yourself to others.
Stop it right now. What Mary or Ben can eat is not the same as what you can eat. You need to figure out what works for you and makes you feel good about yourself. Do not try to follow someone else’s diet plan. This needs to be your own personal journey.
10. You deprive yourself, then indulge too much.
This can be a vicious cycle. You may have been really good all week. Now the weekend's here, and it’s party time. You drank like a drunken sailor both Friday and Saturday night. You woke up and ate pancakes for brunch, followed by pizza. Then you figure, why not have dessert too?
Sound familiar? Here’s my advice: Go ahead, have a slice of pizza on the weekend, but stop there. Your body can handle going off track a bit now and then. It can’t handle being inundated with loads of unhealthy food all of a sudden. That will catch up with you. And after you’ve indulged, don’t blow off working out the next day.
11. You have a food allergy.
Don’t disregard this. It's a major reason why many people are not losing weight. If you want to find out whether you have one, eliminate dairy for a week. Then, try taking a probiotic to repair your gut for an entire week. During your third week, reintroduce dairy and see how you react. Try the same when it comes to gluten. Also, remember that you can still be allergic to milk without being lactose intolerant. Similarly, you could be allergic to wheat and not gluten.
12. You rely on crash diets or aren’t consistent with your workouts.
Do you want to look good always, or sometimes? If you always want to look good, you need to make a lifestyle change. It will be difficult at first, but once you decide to make the plunge, you will be a much happier person. This also means that you can’t go to the gym daily for a few months, then not at all for a month and still expect to feel and look the same. Adopt a healthy routine and keep it.