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Why Dieters Fail Themselves

By: Chris Volgraf, EP, CSCS

This Friday marks the beginning of February, which is a good time to critique and tweak your weight loss plans for 2013. The simplest of things may be holding you back from reaching your goals, so it is important to analyze your journey towards a healthier you frequently to maximize your success. After all, only 20 percent of those trying to lose weight succeed and actually maintain their results.  So why do the majority of dieters fail?

Here are the top 4 reasons why dieters do not lose weight:

  1. Underestimating caloric consumption—be honest with yourself when writing down your calories, take accurate measurements when cooking at home and be well informed with the caloric content of the meals you eat out.
  2. Overestimating caloric expenditure with exercise—it is great idea to wear a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate during exercise, but being able to track the number of calories you have burned during your workout or throughout the day may be even more important.
  3. Poor timing of meals—simply put, eat within an hour of waking up, eat a meal every 4 hours with a low calorie health snack mixed in between meals…your metabolic rate and blood sugar will thank you.
  4. Inadequate or poor “quality” sleep—avoid watching TV in bed, do everything in your power to make your bedroom a cell phone free zone, avoid drinking alcohol in excess and try to get at least 6 hours of “quality” sleep.

Take notice that of the 4 reasons listed for failure with weight loss, 2 are nutritionally related, 1 exercise related and the final one is sleep related.  I tell all of my patients with weight loss goals in mind, although my job is to prescribe exercise, without a majority of their focus on dietary modifications and proper timing of their meals, they are bound for weight loss failure.  If the patient is struggling to get at least 6 hours of sleep and more importantly REM sleep, I know the patient must battle hormonal obstacles and fatigue as well! All of the exercise in the world is not going to fix that!

Being able to track your calorie consumption accurately, knowing your caloric expenditure during exercise and throughout the day, timing your meals appropriately and getting plenty of sleep make up the staples of success when it comes to following a healthy lifestyle. Believe it or not…if you followed these 4 very simple rules, the chances of reaching your weight loss goal increase tremendously. Know that if you are truthful with yourself and work hard, your results are more likely to be noticed by friends and family…and we all know that positive reinforcement from those closest to us goes a long way.

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