Are you finding it difficult to follow a diet? Think of it as a lifestyle change, NOT a diet. It is not about losing weight the quickest, but to keep it off the longest. You need motivation and will power so what do successful dieters have in common? Let’s take a look..
Here are 10 good and insightful advices of how to be successful when dieting..
1) Keep track of your food intake
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Keeping track of what, when, and/or how much you eat ( I do not mean calorie counting) is what successful dieters have in common. One study found that people who keep track of their food intake were more likely to keep the weight off the longest(1)
When you keep a daily record of what you eat and drink, it forces you to be more mindful of your eating habit. As a result, you eat less and lose weight and are able to maintain a healthy weight.
You can use a food journal to log your daily food and fluid intake. When you start doing this, you can always go back at anytime to see how much progress you have made in terms of your dietary choices and weight loss and you can make any necessary changes.
2) Do not eat a low fat diet
Low fat has been a very common method of weight loss over the past 20 years but people are still fatter than ever and chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes has increased by over 30%.
Majority of people still believe that eating a low-fat diet or cutting out fat completely from their diet will help them lose weight and keep the weight off because fat has 9 calories per gram while protein and carbohydrate have 4 calories per gram each.
However a study found that the eating of low-fat over the last two decades has led to a huge increase in the occurrence of obesity. It also found that diets high in fat was not the main cause of excess body fat (2) Another recent study also found that a low-carb (26%) and high-fat (43%) vegan diet was more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet(3).
Do not be afraid of eating fat, include good fat at every meal. This is what successful dieters have in common. It will help fill you up and speed up your metabolism. You will lose weight and keep the weight off the longest.
3) Eat enough to satisfy your appetite
I am sure you may have heard of the mantra: eat less and exercise more to lose weight but research has now shown that this rule does not bring about long lasting weight loss.
Did you know that restricting your calories will slow down your metabolism and make you hungry? When you restrict your calorie intake, your brain tells your body to increase calorie intake and save energy so you feel hungry and your metabolism slows down. This causes you eat more and you gain weight.
An impressive animal study found that animals who were eating a low fat diet put on 70% more body fat even while eating fewer calories than animals eating a low carbohydrate diet(4).
It is not about calorie counting but the quality of your diet and the dietary composition. All calories are not the same. Some calories can make you fat and some can make thin. Focusing on eating real whole food and not restricting calories is what successful dieters have in common.
4) Spend a minimum amount of time watching television (TV)
Watching TV is a sedentary activity. Childhood obesity specialists have found a link between weight control problems in children and watching TV excessively. A study also found that individuals who spent a minimal amount of time watching TV were successful at maintaining weight loss over a longer period(5). Spending less time watching TV is what successful dieters do have in common.
5) Keep eating out in restaurants to a minimum
A lot of the food served in restaurants is full of sugar, salt, trans fat and artificial flavour enhancers like Monosodium glutamate which can contribute to weigh gain. Chances are that most of the food served is processed since a lot of restaurants buy the bulk of their food in advance and frequently rely on pre-cut and pre-cooked foods. Eating out regularly is not beneficial for maintaining weight loss. What successful dieters have in common is to keep eating out to a minimum and spend more time eating home cooked real food.
6) Be active throughout the day
When it comes to weight loss and keeping it off long term, it is not just the amount of time you spend in the gym or doing any other exercise that is important. It is also important to be active throughout the entire day and not sit down too much. A study found that sitting down decreases the activity of the enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which helps to burn fat(6).
What successful dieters have in common is getting into the habit of moving throughout the day which promotes weight and fat loss and helps to keep it off for longer. It can also improve your general health.
7) Weigh yourself regularly
The consistent monitoring of your weight is what successful dieters have in common. This self-monitoring will help you pay close attention to any changes and you can act accordingly. This will help you keep the weight off for longer.
8) Use smaller plates to serve your food
Your brain controls your eating behaviour. A study by psychologists found that individuals given larger plates served and consumed more food compared to those given smaller plates (7). They found that the brain could be made to think that it has eaten more food by using a smaller plate and this helped with their weight loss efforts and keeping it off for longer.
9) Eat more low energy dense foods
Low energy dense foods include foods such as vegetables and some fruits. Studies have shown that what successful dieters have in common is eating less energy dense foods. They lost weight and were able to keep the weight off for longer compared to those who ate high energy dense foods(8)
Vegetables are also rich in soluble fibre which helps to make you feel full so you eat less causing weight loss and the ability to keep it off for longer.
10) Make time for quality sleep and get rid of stress
A study has shown that not having enough sleep is a risk factor for obesity(9). It can disrupt the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, increasing your hunger and cravings causing you to gain more weight. What successful dieters have in common is making time for quality sleep which helps with weight loss and keeping it off for longer.
Excess stress can also raise your level of the hormone cortisol which is linked to an increase in abdominal fat. What successful dieters have in common is avoiding unnecessary stressors in their lives. This will get the hormone cortisol under control and help to keep the weight off for longer.
In conclusion, don’t blame yourself for lack of willpower. What successful dieters have in common is a commitment to setting realistic weight loss goals and eating real food that is whole, fresh, low in sugar and starch and making necessary lifestyle changes.
1) Hollis JF, Gullion CM, Stevens VJ, Brantley PJ, Appel LJ, Ard JD, Champagne CM, Dalcin A, Erlinger TP, Funk K, Laferriere D, Lin PH, Loria CM, Samuel-Hodge C, Vollmer WM, Svetkey LP, Weight Loss Maintenance Trial Research Group (2008) Weight loss during the intensive intervention phase of the weight-loss maintenance trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Pg 118-126.
2) Willet WC, Liebel RL (2002) Dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat. The American Journal of Medicine Pg 47S-59S.
3) ScienceDaily (2014) Low-carb vegan diet may reduce heart disease risk, weight.
4) Pawlak DB, Kushner JA, Ludwig DS (2004) Effect of dietary glycemic index on adiposity, glucose homoeostasis, and plasma lipids in animals. Lancet, Pg 778-785.
5) Raynor DA, Phelan S, Hill JO, Wing RR (2006) Television viewing and long-term weight maintenance: results from the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity, Pg 1816-1824.
6) Hamilton MT, Hamilton DG, Zderic TW (2004) Exercise physiology versus inactivity physiology: an essential concept for understanding lipoprotein lipase regulation. Exercise and Sports Science Reviews, Pg 161-166.
7) Wansink B, Van Ittersum K (2006) The Visual Illusions of Food: Why Plate, Bowls and Spoons Can Bias Consumption Volume. The FASEB Journal, A618.
8) Greene LF, Malpede CZ, Henson CS, Hubbert KA, Heimburger DC, Ard JD (2006) Weight Maintenance 2 years after participation in a weight loss program promoting low-energy density foods. Obesity. Pg 1795-1801.
9) Francesco P, Cappuccio MD, Taggart F M, Miller MA (2008) Met-Analysis of Short Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children and Adults. Sleep, Pg 619-626