Have you ever gone on a diet and either didn’t lose any weight or actually gained weight instead? A new UK survey found that nearly a third of woman have seen an increase on the scale after going on a diet, gaining an average of four pounds. It may sound counterintuitive, but in my private practice as a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant, I’ve seen it happen! Has this happened to you? I’m here to explain to you the top 5 reasons a diet can actually expand your waistline:
1. A diet can cause your body to get thrown out of balance.
Crash diets can offer rapid weight loss… however there is no guarantee that the lost weight will not come back. Many diets are too strict, which can lead your metabolism to a screeching halt! For example, cutting fat too low can cause a surplus of carbs your body isn’t able to burn, which then get stocked away in your fat cells. Anytime you eat more than your body needs, even unlimited “allowed” foods, the excess feeds body fat. Be careful not to view weight loss as merely drinking plenty of water to fill up on and avoiding food. Focus on a balanced and scientific meal agenda for a healthy lifestyle.
2. Diets don’t allow for wiggle room.
Many people think that staying off sweats for a day or two is “positive cheating” which will help with weight loss. This “on” or “off” mentality is the number one thing that makes dieting unsustainable. If you overate, ask yourself why? Did you binge because you were starving? If so, the diet is failing you, not the other way around. Weight loss can only happen with behavior modifications such as portion control, understanding principles of healthy eating, and consistency. Your approach should feel like something you can stick with. In my experience with clients who emotionally eat, it’s important to address it. Doing so is often the key to losing weight and keeping it off!
3. You’re “forced” to eat foods you don’t like.
There’s not much worse than having to gag down foods you can’t stand because the diet demands it. This will only leave you with feelings of resentment and deprivation. “You are what you eat” is a very powerful meaning. When you eat healthy and get right nutrients, the volume of food you would like to eat goes down. The palate also goes thru changes in terms of it’s relationship with food. Cravings diminish, and your body learns to live with what it needs and not what it desires. However, if you are still feeling unsuccessful with this tactic, try another approach! I had a client who loved sandwiches yet ditched them for eating salads that left her unsatisfied. After a few days of feeling unsatisfied, she’d give up, go back to eating sandwiches, feel guilty about it, yet satisfied. The real problem was, she was eating sandwiches designed to feed an olympic athlete and not a petite woman who works at a desk. Once we readjusted the proportions, she was able to enjoy her custom built sandwiches and finally get the results she was working for.
4. Diets are filled with fake foods.
Most processed “diet” foods are laden with artificial additives and fortified with nutrients that really aren’t nutritious. They rarely taste good or feel satisfying, and they’re typically way too skimpy so you’re left hungry and distracted about food fantasies. For the same number of calories as a diet frozen dinner, you can eat an abundant portion of veggies stir fried in a light soy sauce, over a small bed of brown rice topped with sliced chicken or shrimp. I realize that pre-portioned meals are convenient, but if they keep leading you to extra snacking, then they are ultimately working against you. So be sure to make extra stir-fry to serve as leftovers!
5. Diets ban foods you can’t give up.
Balance can seem like a boring word, but it’s actually very astounding! Balance means having your cake and eating it too. We all have at least one can’t live without splurge food. According to a UK study, the top five foods people find hardest to resist are: chocolate, potato chips, cheese, bread and wine. In fact, the more you avoid a certain food, the more it will tempt you in the future… which will lead you to backslide and eat it excessively. Allow yourself to eat your favorite foods at least once a week. For example, if you’re going to a restaurant and you want to get dessert, leave the carbs and fat out of your dinner and make a meal heavy on veggies and lean protein. It may seem hard if you’re used to an all or nothing approach, but think of it this way: spending a little too much on occasion leads to a much better outcome than going on frequent wild spending sprees. Balancing food groups in a sustainable way through portion control is the proper way to eating healthy!