The Common Problem of Motivation and Our Conflicted Bodies
Most people cite the reason they are dieting as their desire to lose weight. This probably isn’t much of a surprise for many, but there’s very few of us that actually choose to eat healthier for its own rewards. This isn’t necessarily a bad reason to want to diet, but this motivation is a lot different than someone who chooses to eat healthier for its own rewards (like lower risk of cancer and heart disease). Typically people who try to diet to lose weight are ultimately unsuccessful, primarily for metabolism reasons and their bodies fighting against the effort over time. Only about 5% of people who diet each year succeed in keeping the weight off for more than a year.
When dieting, most people complain of hunger and lack of energy. This is expected as your body is going to induce hunger to try and goad you into eating more. What’s worse, your body will also slow down your metabolism (cutting your energy) to preserve what weight you have. This can be incredibly discouraging, but there are some ways to help. Certain foods high in fiber like whole grains, apples, beans and some other types of fruit are great to help improve your metabolism. The process your body goes through to digest this typically leads to significant metabolism increases. Fiber is an important factor in determining how many calories your body burns on any given day.
If you’re struggling to fight off hunger throughout your weight loss/diet the use of water can be a great ally. When you drink water your body will actually feel less hunger, but it also helps in other ways. It moves nutrients you take in through food to the essential areas of the body and enables you to more quickly expel things that are bad (fats, carbs etc) before they are absorbed by your body. Yes, there is some issue with water weight, but this is minimal (and not what is important to lose anyway).
Adjusting Portions To Control Weight Loss and Calories
One of the best ways to quickly control your weight is by changing your portions and regularly controlling them. This is tough to do up front, but once you get over the hump within a few days of doing it regularly it becomes much easier. You need to have a set portion with each meal (this single steak, or this piece of fish and a side salad). Once you have that set up, your body will adapt to what you’re eating and your hunger will subside over time. If you do struggle to portion things properly, having extra servings of vegetables, such as carrots or celery (which are low in calories) is a good way to still control portion size but eat more if you are particularly hungry.
Many people try to go “all out” whenever they decide they need to lose weight. This can be a really poor choice, as your body will often not follow your enthusiasm. If you have huge expectations for weight loss, you need to have a program that can deliver them or you’re just setting yourself up to fail. When you go overboard your expectations can often be very different from what really happens. You need to maintain a level of healthy skepticism about your progress and persist on regardless of the outcomes through this. Eventually you will lose the weight, there’s very little doubt it will occur. However, you must consider it as a sustainable goal that requires little steps to reach.
Taking your diet a single step at a time is critical for success. If you try to rush results you will often have poor success. Exercise is also a very important part of any diet, and something that many people overlook. Exercising will help boost your metabolism naturally, but also cut out much of your hunger as well. Something as simple as 15 minutes of running a day can greatly improve your weight loss speed (by up to 80% thanks to metabolic effects).