Five reasons why diets fail
And how you can dust yourself off, start over and succeed .
We’ve all been there. Starting a diet with the best intentions only to cave in on the third or fourth day when all those healthy meals get trashed by a mad feeding frenzy on that secret stash of chocolate or chips. The momentary lapse sets off a vicious cycle of guilt, self-loathing, more bingeing and remorse. You restart your diet and then history repeats itself. But wait, there’s hope. Dr. Sneha Tyrewala is a weight loss veteran ready to debunk all those diet and self-starvation and punishing regimes we subject ourselves to. Weight loss, she says, doesn’t have to be cruel or tough; you have to win the battle in your head and the rest will simply fall into place.
Don’t get fooled by her diminutive aura. This pretty and chatty health and wellness specialist and founder of Sneha Tyrewala’s Wellness & Medical Spa in Mumbai is a graduate from Nevada University in Las Vegas and a board certified physician. Now back in India after running a successful practice in Houston where she’s treated a slew of celebs including Hollywood actors Adam Richman, Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Jessica Alba and Deborah Duncan, Dr. Sneha Tyrewala devotes herself full time to practice nutrition and alternative treatments. Her goal: “Empowering my patients to live life to their fullest potential. I believe there’s a strong link between the art of beauty and the science of wellness and understanding this connection can help you lead a fulfilled, happy life.” So what are the stumbling blocks to diet success?
# 1 Lack of prioritizing self .
This is a primary reason for failure of weight loss. It’s a positive characteristic to put others ahead of yourself; however, weight loss requires significant effort and time. In order to successfully lose and maintain weight loss, you need to allow time for exercise, meal planning, recording food intake, reflecting on where you went wrong, cooking/meal preparation, grocery shopping, education, and continued motivation. If we don’take care of ourselves by making meals that are healthy but not necessarily what the rest of the family wants to eat, we are putting our goals on the back seat. Remember the flight attendant always says, “Put on your oxygen mask before helping others”. If you take care of yourself and meet your goals, you’ll be more successful in your care for others. There is a significant difference from prioritizing self and being selfish. You need to carve out the time for your success. Find therapy in wholesome foods: get to the farmers’ market, join a weight loss community, and turn up the music in your kitchen as you cook. In short, view “me” time as well-earned, happy time!
# 2 Using food “rewards” for exercising .
When you first start exercising you go through a short term hyper-metabolic phase where your metabolism is elevated for four to ten days. It’s important during this time to anticipate increased hunger with a balance snack and focus on protein rich foods to aid muscle recovery. Following this phase you should re-evaluate your intake and decrease calorie intake. What tends to happen is that most of us over estimate our calorie needs when we start exercising. For example, you may burn 300 calories on the elliptical and then compensate with a 550 calorie cupcake! That would be a net increase of 250 calories on that day, leading to weight gain, not weight loss!
# 3 Suffering from the perfect-eating syndrome .
Skimping on your favorite foods is a sure fire way of falling off the diet bandwagon. When working with clients, I often identify non-negotiables and work these foods into their meal plan for optimal sustainable success! Love potatoes? Then they have to be part of your weight loss plan. Take the time to reflect on these foods and make reasonable trade-offs to keep them in your meal plan. When we over-restrict and take drastic shifts it often leads to over-compensation and ultimately failure.
# 4 Expecting too much, too soon .
You have to remember, the weight didn’t come on over night! So it’s unreasonable to expect it to drop off as quickly. A reasonably aggressive weight loss goal would be two to three pounds per week, which would be a deficit of 1,000-1,500 calories per day. This can come from a combination of restricted intake, higher metabolic rate and increased expenditure. For instance, if you have a 2,000 calorie metabolic rate, you could eat 1,500 calories and burn an average of 500 calories per day for a 1,000 calorie deficit or two pounds of weight loss per week.
# 5 Following a ‘one-sized fits all’ meal plan .
We are all biochemically unique with varying schedules, stress levels, and food likes/dislikes. We have different nutritional needs, different caloric needs, and different food intolerances/allergies which can greatly impact weight. It’s important to have a licensed professional to customize a plan to best fit your needs. An ideal meal plan is geared specifically to address your wellness goals taking into account your medical conditions through analysis of lab values, current (starting point) diet, schedule and needs.
You will thank yourself tomorrow for the choices you make today! Start small, set achievable goals that you can accomplish now. Then grow from there! Try to avoid ‘all-or-nothing’ mindsets or being overly judgmental as this will set you up for failure. For instance, if you’re trying to tame your sweet tooth, I wouldn’t recommend saying, “My goal is to never eat candy again!” This is not realistic. Re-work that goal into something positive and say, “My goal is to eat two to three fruits every day to limit my sweet tooth” and/or to “have carbs with a protein to keep my appetite in control”! These approaches focus on addition versus subtraction. Ideal wellness is different for everyone and the best way to achieve it in a sustainable sense is to be REAL and stay POSITIVE!