Are you crash dieting or changing your diet to shed a few extra pounds? You aren’t alone! At any point in time, millions of people around the world are trying the same. Chances are this is probably not your first attempt. So why have you or many others like you failed? There are multiple common pitfalls people become victim to when making change. Here are the key areas you may not realize could be sabotaging your success and how to go about it differently.
You are setting goals that are too big and unrealistic
Change is hard to make. Even if you are starting super motivated, weight loss levels off, stressful days happen, and workouts can feel like a struggle. That’s when bad habits come back to haunt us. We go back to what feels effortless and automatic instead of sticking to our grandiose plans.
Solution to crash dieting #1
To avoid yourself from feeling overwhelmed and ultimately discouraged, you can overcome this paralysis by setting realistic, short-term goals. These goals will still push your comfort zones and make you change, but will be gradual and achievable to keep you motivated and making it feel effortless.
Your diet is too strict and you end up bingeing on forbidden foods
Do your body a favor and end crash dieting and following fad diets. That diet that bans all your favourite foods and you feel deprived is setting you up to fail. You might last a couple of weeks of eating clean, but the boredom will build and you will end up stuffing yourself with those forbidden foods.
Solution to crash dieting #2
A small piece of chocolate or a single serving of chips on occasion won’t ruin your diet. Allow yourself to have an occasional treat meal/snack. But be honest about portion sizes and don’t make it a daily thing.
You see your (crash) diet as a temporary fix, not a permanent lifestyle change
In the past you have probably been successful losing weight. Maybe you had an event, wedding or special occasion you were getting ready for and as the minute you stopped your unsustainable program you gain all your weight back and then some. Your diet was seen as a quick fix, rather than a permanent change to make your lifestyle healthier. Returning to your old eating habits straight afterwards and piling the weight back on.
Solution to crash dieting #3
Any change you make when trying to reach your goal should be changes you maintain for the longer term. See your dieting plan as an opportunity to try out lots of new foods and recipes. Find ways of eating clean that you want to stick to for good. Choose activities you enjoy doing and will stick with it like a group class, weight training, bicycling, dancing, hiking or sport.
Your mentality is all-or-nothing when (crash) dieting
One day, you walk through your offices break room and grab a cookie that is sitting out with your mid-morning coffee, almost without realizing. Once you have eaten it, you screwed up your diet. You end up throwing out all your plans for eating clean the rest of the day for a pizza lunch and take-out for dinner.
Solution to crash dieting #4
Tell yourself that one cookie won’t ruin your diet. One bad day doesn’t mean all hope is lost despite your other efforts. Focus on making ‘good’ food choices, not ‘perfect’ ones.
You’re too impatient for results from your (crash) diet
The moment you start your new nutrition plan, you want it over and done with as soon as possible. You expect the results to happen overnight, seeing sudden changes in how you look and the number on the scale. When you see you are losing weight at a rate of one pound a week, you’re frustrated. Thinking about all those ads and stories about women shedding 30 pounds in a month, you give up, convinced you’re failing because you’re not losing weight as fast as you’d like to.
Solution to crash dieting #5
The truth of the matter is, in order for you to get the weight off and keep it off, it is going to take time. How long did it take you to gain the weight? Probably over months or years! So it’ll take some time to lose it, too. Remember that dieters who lose weight slowly are much more likely to keep it off long-term.
You are fixated on the number on the scale
To be honest, the scale is probably the most inaccurate way to gauge your progress. Obsessing over the number on it when everything nutrition and exercise is going well can cause you to go crazy. There are many factors that impact that number beside actual fat loss. Losing weight is not equivalent with getting healthy. Cancer and arsenic will make you lose weight, but you won’t be healthier. You have to stop seeing weight gain as a cause and start seeing it as a symptom of something else going on in the body and the mind.
Solution to crash dieting #6
Readjust your mindset and priorities. You have to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy. Sustainable weight loss will be a natural byproduct of getting healthier. If you get healthy, you will look great on accident.
Your metabolism has slowed down
Starvation mode is a real thing. If you have be yo-yo dieting throughout your life, or cutting your calories for a prolonged period, your body gets really good at fighting back and preventing you from progressing. This makes it harder and harder to lose weight and keep it off.
Solution to crash dieting #7
Make sure you exercise while dieting to ensure your body will break down your fat stores, not your muscles, for energy. Weight training is particularly key here as it keeps your metabolic rate high through building more muscle. Trying a different dieting protocol like carb cycling which keeps your body guessing and keeps your metabolic rate up is ideal. This method prevents your body from switching into starvation mode and avoids your body from adapting to the low quantities of carbohydrates by slowing your metabolism, decreasing thyroid hormone output etc.