Every year, a significant number of adults try to lose weight. Some have even been making it a New Year resolution every year for several years. Unfortunately, most people fail to achieve this aim and some find it difficult to stay on the diet for even a few days.
Here are some of the reasons people fail achieve any weight loss after embarking on a diet:
SENSORY TEMPTATIONS: Being around food while on a diet increases your appetite. This is a particularly big problem for women who still have to cook for the family while on a diet and they are not the only ones susceptible to this temptation. Seeing pictures of food in magazines, billboards or other forms of news media could also trigger your cravings for that food item. This is due to a hormone called ghrelin, which is simulated in the brain when we are hungry. This hormone makes us notice food cues more.
Researchers have also discovered that our brains pay more attention to cues for unhealthy foods (those high in sugar and starch) than healthy foods when we are hungry. This is due to the high calorific content of the foods.
The good news however, is that the brain can be trained to ignore food cues while on a diet. A study carried out revealed that participants who were trained to ignore high-calorie food cues on a computer based task consumed fewer snack foods than those who were trained to pay attention to them.
AVOIDING CERTAIN TYPES OF FOOD COMPLETELY: Usually, when on a diet people avoid eating foods that have high sugar or starch content – and rightly so too. Avoiding such foods completely may, however, achieve the exact opposite of your desired goal. Note, the operative word here is “completely”. If you avoid a certain type of food completely you will crave it and when you eventually give in to your cravings and consume that food you are likely to indulge in it excessively.
Another research carried out showed that when asked to taste a food that had been forbidden, research participants who had been asked not to eat the food consumed more calories.
Avoiding foods that you like completely is not a very effective diet strategy unless you’re very sure you can keep your hands off that food completely. That is why diet companies that sell replacement food make their replacement food in a variety of sweet tasting flavours like chocolate and strawberry.
Gradually reducing portion sizes and eating certain types of food in moderation are the keys to effective weight management.
GUILTY CONSCIENCE: Finally, it’s almost impossible for any diet to be completely plain-sailing without interruptions or “cheat-days”. The number one reason diets fail is the guilty conscience that follows after “cheating”. Studies have shown that even the slightest violation of diet rules could cause the whole diet to derail not because the violation will reverse the weight-loss you may have achieved but the feeling that since you’ve spoilt the diet you might as well go all the way.
Violating a dieting rule triggers a psychological reaction in the dieter and this reaction is followed by guilt and stress both of which are known to make people overeat.
The way to deal with violating a diet rule is to ignore the guilt and shame that come with it and simply continue with the diet.
We have recently added a “fitness” section to Urnaija to accommodate readers who want to put their weight under control.
The idea is to make this section as interactive as possible so, please feel free to post your questions on weight loss related issues in the “comments” section and we will be glad to answer them.