It’s one thing to say you’re on a diet, but it’s another thing to be successful at dieting. Being successful is usually the result of finding that balance between the calories you’re putting in and the calories you’re expending. Seems easy enough! But if you’re lacking a sufficient plan, lack real motivation, are not getting enough sleep or don’t understand how your body reacts to the food you eat, it can be difficult to ever see results. If you find yourself failing, over and over, are feeling frustrated, perhaps it’s time to take a good look at what is causing you to fail. Lauren Jacobsen, Kcal’s Nutrition Director, offers to common reasons why you’re trying, but not losing that extra body fat.
1. Lack of Motivation
If you’re lacking motivation for your diet, you need to identify a real, compelling and motivational reason why you’re on the diet in the first place. Is it to get back into your skinny jeans, that little black dress you want to wear to a special up-coming event, or wear a bikini for your summer vacation getaway? Whatever the motivation is, it has to be important to you and come from within. It must be important enough to make you stick to the diet.
2. No Short or Long Term Goals
Without goals, it is very hard to track success. Set yourself up for success by identifying both short and long term goals for your diet. Be sure to make them SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive. Make sure both your short and long-term goals are specific and attainable. Start small by making weekly goals like changing cream for low fat milk in your coffee, or eating more protein. Your first short-term goal might be a simple as adding in a regular exercise program, while your long-term goal might be dropping two dress sizes. Each goal you set should keep you motivated enough to keep going and meet your next goal.
3. No Diet Plan
Without a set diet plan, it is really easy to fall off. If you don’t know how many calories you’re putting into your body, tracking how much protein, carbs or fats you are eating or are eating certain foods at the wrong times, you are only setting yourself up to fail. Be sure to come up with a solid diet plan that is low enough in calories to cause a deficit to ensure weight loss. Aim to eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, and make sure each one includes a source of protein. Eat two meals with a source of high-fiber carbohydrates like sweet potato, oatmeal, brown rice or whole grains, while the remaining should focus on green leaf veggies, root veggies like pumpkin or squash and a source of essential fats like flax oil, nuts, or olive oil. Eating small meals more frequently will help stabilise blood sugar levels, which means you will be less likely to cheat or go off your diet. If you are unsure how to construct a diet plan, find a nutritionist or dietician that can help.
4. Lack of Consistency
If you are not consistent with your diet, your results will dictate that. You can’t expect to meet your goals if you’re not doing everything in your power to work toward them; there is no off time from a diet. The best way to meet your goal is consistency, and the best way to attain consistency is to use a schedule. Schedule your meals, schedule your meal prep, schedule your grocery shopping, and of course, don’t forget to also schedule your workouts. By being really consistent, it becomes a habit, and by becoming a habit it becomes a seamless part of your lifestyle. It also makes it easier to identify where things are going wrong and how to fix them.
5. No Portion Control
Its one thing to have a diet plan, but if you’re not measuring out your food, it is hard to know how much you are actually eating. Invest in a digital food scale to weigh your meat portions, a set of measuring cups to measure out your carbs and a set of measuring spoons to weigh your fat sources. If you are not eating at home, remember meat, chicken, or fish servings are usually 3 to 5 oz or the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand, while carbs like rice, potatoes or beans are roughly ½ cup serving or the size of a tennis ball, while oils or nut butters should be about 1 teaspoon or the size of a dice.
6. Junk Food at Reach
If you want to set yourself up for success, it is best to remove the temptation all together. Make sure you clear out the cupboards from the junk food you have a severe weakness for. Start your diet off on the right foot; fill your fridge and your cabinets with only the food that is on your diet. You will be less likely to indulge in something if its not there, and chances are you won’t make the effort to go outside of the home to get it either.
7. No Back-Up Plan
Even the best-laid plans fail, but if you have a back-up plan you’re less likely to stray off your diet. If you know you have a social event you will be going to like a birthday or a wedding, ask for a special meal request, eat before you go or bring your food with you. If you’re traveling for a vacation or work, call the hotel ahead of time to see if they have healthy options, or book a suite with a kitchen so you can prepare healthy meals. Be sure to bring healthy diet appropriate snacks like nuts, energy or protein bars made with natural ingredients, veggie sticks or fruit with you, to ensure you don’t get stuck in an airport, in traffic or at an event longer than you thought without a healthy food choice.
Who Is Lauren?
Lauren Jacobsen is Nutrition Director for Kcal World, the UAE-based food and lifestyle company that helps optimise wellness through good, healthy grub. Find her on Instagram @sexyfitlauren or visit her website at sexystrongfit.com.