The beginning of another new year and with it are the resolutions that are going to make us fitter, healthier, wealthier, less cluttered, more organised, etc, etc, the list goes on. Of course, one of the greatest new year resolutions it to lose weight, or as we like to say, get in shape.
Yet, according to Jessica Bartfield, MD (who specialises in nutrition and weight management at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care) only 5% of these resolutions will result in success. Just one person in twenty — which one will you be?
Well, Dr Bartfield gives the top four reasons why plans to lose weight mostly result in failure, and they might not be exactly what you think.
Top of the list is underestimating the amount of calories consumed.
This one comes up time and again. We see it on the TV and read it in the papers, and still many people do not really know the quantity of energy they ingest through their food. And as we all know, if we consume more energy than we expend we will store fat. If you have tried to lose weight but failed, then to succeed you must know the quantity of the energy you consume. The best way to do this is to keep a food diary for one week. Note everything that passes your lips, absolutely everything, wet or dry, including the left over kids scraps, scraping the cake-mix bowl, the bed-time drink, the sugar and/or milk in your tea/coffee. And the quantities too, be honest with yourself.
Second on the list is the flip side of the same coin: Overestimating the amount of energy we burn when we exercise. Many people rely on gadgetry to tell them how much energy they’ve just used after their work out. This method is simply not accurate enough and lulls many people into a false sense of security. The answer? Get to know the figures and don’t forget that your body will burn energy even if it hadn’t been exercising so your burn rate might be as high as you think. Don’t generalise, energy calculations should include your bodyweight; a large runner will burn more energy than a small one. Consider your exercise intensity too; cycling fast burns many, many more calories than cycling slow.
The next two are less obvious and may surprise some people.
Poor timing of meals. Losing weight might be very simply a case of energy in being less than energy out, but there are many factors that affect the way we conserve that energy and also the way we burn it. If our metabolism slows, then so does our weight loss. We need a nice steady flow of glucose to keep the metabolism ticking along, this means regular eating.
Finally, and probably another surprise for many: not enough sleep. Sleep deprivation causes changes in body chemistry. It is stressful and increases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol which is associated with weight again. Additionally, low levels of sleep result in higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone connected to appetite regulation. High levels of ghrelin unsurprisingly have been associated with high BMI and weight gain.
The formula for successful weight loss seems simple, but it is very complex. And this is reflected in the fact that just one in twenty people this year will achieve their weight loss goals. Those that have a greater understanding of the obstacles they face, together with a determination to change their lifestyle and behaviour around food and exercise will be amongst those successful 5%.
So what can you do to improve your chances of managing your weight permanently?
For any New Year resolution to work, be it related to weight loss, exercise, working-life, it needs to be realistic and not just short-term. You need to make lifestyle changes, changes that will become your new behaviour. You must be fully engaged and motivated in the process, not just the outcome.
Sometimes you’ll need help from friends and family; solid support from people who care about what you are aiming to do. Perhaps you could use some help using other means such as hypnosis. I have found hypnosis to be very effective in changing behaviours that are hard to alter otherwise. Check out the excellent downloads that we strongly recommend from Uncommon Knowledge.
Then, let us know in the comments below what has worked for you.