Handy Tips on How to Overcome Diet Roadblocks
You have been relentless about your diet. You have exercised almost every day, given up the sugar, stopped the processed foods, eat home 99 percent of the time, given up the alcohol and eaten fruits and vegetables. On your weight loss plan, the weight started to drop, but now just won’t move anymore. Don’t get irritated and give up! – it’s a good time to re-examine the efforts you have made so far and bash on! I am giving you the common mistakes you could possibly make; all you need to do is be aware of them.
1. You restrict your sweets and then crave them even more: Diets naturally imply restrictions, so if you cut out the sweets you want them even more. Sometimes, it’s the sweets you will binge on as the cravings often win, while you are on a diet. The thing we don’t know about sugar is that you simply end up craving more sugar, It’s a vicious cycle.
Handy tip: Include vegetables which are sweet in your diet daily – these are: sweet potatoes (low on the glycemic index), cabbage, carrots, pumpkin (bhopla/lal kaddu) and onions. If you just can’t seem to give up that cake, then bring it down to once a week and eat fruit on the rest of the days. Build in snacks at frequent intervals like early evening or before going to bed (with a gap of 45 minutes to bedtime), this will ensure you have steady blood sugar levels, making you less hungry and prevent you to overeat.
2. You eat out 80 percent of the time and never plan your meals: This ought to be the worst roadblock if you are trying to lose weight. You may think that you go out to a restaurant and stick to salads and the other healthy stuff, but you have no control over portions and also you have no way of knowing what their kitchen is actually using in terms of oils and flavourings (like MSG for example which bloats you up or high corn fructose which has more calories than sugar and makes you more hungry). Or you may end up just eating way too much bread or bread sticks, waiting for you meal to arrive.
Handy tip: Take five minutes of your day to plan the next day for both your meals and snacks. Take another 10 minutes to pack the snacks in boxes and keep them ready to go with you the next morning. Instead of eating the bread, ask for an appetizer instead, something to with greens, vegetable or soup, which is a good way to prepare for the meal. If the portions are too large, split the main meal with a friend.
3. You workout, but then that gives you the license to eat even more: This happened to me recently, I started a fantastic and very intense form of exercise called Crossfit, and quite naturally felt I could now eat a little more, than I normally do. So essentially if you are burning calories while working out, you are putting double the calories back by doing this. Also a good time to eat is after your workout, and this is the time that you would make the mistake of eating a snack, while equating it with the amount of calories you have burnt in your workout.
Handy tip: To lose the weight you need to exercise and stop the excess eating and the snacking – your mantra should be exercise and eat healthy. So you need food that will nourish you – specifically good sources of protein and high-fiber carbohydrates. So that’s the kind of snack you should plan after a workout. I now carry my vegan protein smoothie to my workout and have it after I finish, better than bingeing on something unplanned or eating much later when you will be far hungrier and overeat.
4. You think the best way of keeping the weight down is to only eat salads and soups as you thing they will have lesser calories: While your salad may sound healthy, the ingredients that are using to make the dressing, your dressing out of a bottle or eating a salad at a restaurant will most often have hidden fats (like butter used in restaurants, other refined oils or dressings that would have sugars and artificial flavourings). Salads and soups are also not a balanced meal composition-that will provide you with all the nourishment to aid weight loss. To lose weight you need the whole grain, vegetables and protein component (whether it be a bean/legume/fish/chicken) they work together synergistically to help you lose weight.
Handy tip: If you tend to eat at restaurants, you can start by making a simple salad dressing at home and carrying it with you to pour over the salad. If that’s an issue ask for the salad dressing on the side and mix just half the portion on your salad. Make sure you always have a balanced meal format: A whole grain (brown rice/roti); beans/legume/fish/chicken; and vegetables; you can choose to eat the whole grain at 2 meals and keep it out at one.
5. You buy anything and everything that says “low fat” and “diet”: In a quest to lose weight it’s very easy to get into the trap of eating stuff labelled as “no fat” and “diet”, while it is these very foods that possibly carry the most amount of trans fats which will cause you to gain weight. So while your roasted soya and nachni chips may scream soya and nachni, they are full of trans fats as most times hydrogenated oils have been used to make them. Most packaged products are also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup- this product will cause you to eat more and there goes your commitment to losing weight.
Handy tip: Stay away from processed and packaged foods. However if you want to buy them, then always read food labels and watch for trans fats, saturated fats and corn syrup and high corn fructose, if these products are made with these ingredients, then stay away from them.
6. If it takes too long to lose the weight, you give up your diet: This is really the worst roadblock. A diet that makes you lose 1-2 pounds a week is realistic. So please set achievable goals! This would basically mean you need to increase the intensity of your workouts and cut back the calories. However, be very mindful of diets that restrict the calories as this will slow down your metabolism.
Handy tip: Try to step away from the weighing scale, check your weight once in 2 weeks. This is a good way to stay on track while making lifestyle changes, rather than being stuck to a number on that weighing scale. Also, snack frequently, specially the evening snack – say around 5 pm. My clients have realized that building in a nourishing snack made from a vegetable or protein has helped them to binge less and also kept their sugar levels steady.