You don’t know how to manage hunger
Cravings aren’t easy to deal with, and the brain is hard to control when it wants something badly enough. Unfortunately, the brain often tells us we should eat sweets, fried food, and starchy pastas and bread.
Combine this with the most basic diet strategy of simply eating less and you’re headed for disaster. Don’t get me wrong, portion control has its place, but if all you do is eat less, then don’t be surprised if you end up as a smaller version of who you were before but not necessarily leaner or in the condition you wanted. In order to manage hunger and keep lean body mass, you should prioritise protein. This is the reason we build Nutrition Kitchen meals around a good serving of protein. It’s what we know works for optimal body composition.
Binge eating at the weekend
We all deserve a break from time to time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a cheat meal if having one makes you feel better. That being said, if one cheat meal turns into a cheat day, and a cheat day into a cheat weekend, extending from Friday night to Sunday night, then all the hard work of the week has been undone.
No matter how virtuous you are during the week, it’s nigh on impossible to out diet a completely debaucherous weekend. At the very best, your restraint during the working week will help to maintain the status quo or slow the accumulation of fat around the midriff.
Don’t allow the weekend to be totally unrestrained. If fat loss is the goal, then limit yourself to one or two freer meals and try to stick to your plan for the rest of the two days. Indeed, is there a way to choose a healthier treat like a steak with salad rather than fries?
Also, perhaps conduct your weekly weigh in on a Friday as this can help spur you on once you see positive results.
You try to be perfect without giving your habits time to establish
There is no perfect diet. Trying to pursue a perfect diet will only make you fragile. You’ll quit it at the first sign of imperfection. What you want instead, is to be resilient and robust in your dietary approach - one bad meal doesn’t have to ruin everything. One cookie shouldn’t make you crumble.
New dieting regimes can be incredibly challenging and often we might give up after the initial motivation of a week or two. Don’t forget, a new behaviour can take 66 days to become a habit, so you need to give yourself time.
Make the easier dietary changes first and don’t make too many changes at once which might overwhelm you. Over time, they will become successfully ingrained into your lifestyle.
You overemphasise ‘health food’
Don’t believe the hype—there are lots of unhealthy foods that masquerade as healthy. Don’t assume that because a food has a healthy label you can simply indulge to your heart’s content. For example, just because something is fat reduced, doesn’t make it low in sugar.
This applies in particular to Paleo snacks. When you remove flour and replace it with Almond flour, you’re doubling the calories. When you leave out sugar but replace it with dates, you haven’t really taken out much sugar. The added danger is that you eat more of the “healthy” treats than you would have eaten of the food they’re intended to replace.
Ultimately, become more confident with reading labels on food and really monitor nutritional content. In particular, note the calories, fats, sugar and salt within the food.
You’re not getting enough fluids
It seems a fact almost too good to be true, but one way to trick your body into thinking it’s already full - thereby staving off cravings - is to drink a large glass of water with each meal. By doing this, you increase the volume of the food in your belly and stretch the stomach lining, stimulating a sense of fullness.
Added to this, a lack of water also contributes to a feeling of languor. The reason is that the right amount of water helps your heart pump blood more effectively. Without sufficient liquidity within the bloodstream, it is much harder for oxygen and other essential nutrients to reach your cells, including the brain’s. As a result, you feel drowsy and less alert, and more likely to reach for a quick dose of sugar.