Monday, February 7, 2011

Why can't I lose weight? Top Five Reasons people overeat

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We live in a society where food is abundant. We are fortunate, not having to worry where our next meal will come from, but we've taken it to an extreme and created a problem for ourselves. I don't have to tell you that there is an obesity problem in America. Go to any mall and just look around. The majority of people you see do not maintain an ideal body weight. If you are trying to lose weight, it's critical to know how many calories you are consuming, and how many you are burning. Overeating simply means to consume more food than you burn off. Which equals weight gain. Here are the the top 5 reasons that I believe people overeat.

Restaurant portion sizes are crazy.  Eating out is going to blow your "clean eating" if you're not VERY careful. I limit the number of times I eat out, since it's so difficult to control what you're putting in your mouth. According to a 2002 study, the average steak is 144 percent bigger than the USDA recommends. The average muffin is 233 percent bigger. We won't even go into the problem with "super sizing" things at the fast food windows. Sometimes a healthy looking "grilled chicken" salad can have more calories than the cheeseburger on the menu. If you love Olive Gardens salad and breadsticks, you might also like to know that 1 breadstick is 150 calories and 1 serving of the salad is 350. Eat one plate of salad and 1 breadstick before the alfredo is already 500 calories! The good news? Many restaurants now list their nutritional info on websites, so with a few minutes on the laptop before you head out to eat, figure out what you're going to order before you go!

Distracted Dining ~ ever watched "biggest loser" while eating some ice cream? :) Don't eat while distracted. It's much easier to polish off a bag of potato chips when you're watching TV or playing on facebook. De-clutter your kitchen table and make mealtime happen while you're not focused on anything else that could distract you. You're less likely to notice how much you've consumed if you're busy doing something else.

Skipping Meals - Are you someone that decides to skip breakfast or lunch to "save" the calories? Don't do it! There are many reasons not to skip meals, but for this article we will focus on how it will cause you to overeat. If you skip meals, you are going to become so hungry that you'll be raiding the pantry at the next opportunity, and overeat. Your body will make up for the calories you need. If you don't eat much throughout the day and then wonder why you're always starved at 10pm when you should be going to bed, it's because you're not eating enough in the daytime. Starvation doesn't work - eat small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism stoked.

Feeling Deprived ~ There's nothing worse than being on a "diet" that has certain foods completely off limits. I never cared about the bakery until I went on "South Beach" years ago. Seriously - once I was told that I couldn't have bread or carbs for those first few weeks, it never looked better to me, and I wasn't one that really cared about the bakery before that! The feeling of NEVER being able to eat what you love is not fun. I encourage my boot camp clients to always build in a "cheat day" to indulge with your favorite foods. After they have been with me for a while, and start to see the direct correlation between what they eat and how their clothes fit, they might turn it into a cheat "meal" vs an entire day. I never want you to feel deprived...or guilty for enjoying a certain food...just build it in and make a plan for it.

It's a Habit ~ When someone consumes a sugary, fatty food they enjoy, it stimulates endorphins, chemicals in the brain that signal a pleasurable experience. Those chemicals stimulate us to eat more of that type of food -- and also calm us down and make us feel good. The brain also releases dopamine, which motivates us to pursue more of that food. And cues steer us back to it, too: the sight of the food, a road lined with familiar restaurants, perhaps a vending machine that sells a favorite candy bar. The food becomes a habit. We don't realize why we're eating it and why we can't control our appetite for it. FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD. The culprits: fat, salt, sugar. It's important to create healthy habits to combat the not-so-healthy ones that we've become accustomed to.
Making little changes during the day, substituting an apple instead of having a candy bar, drinking water with lemon instead of coke, etc. are the things that will create a lifestyle you can maintain. 

It's not just about losing the weight once, then getting "off" the diet. That yo-yo doesn't work. It's about building daily habits that will give you renewed health and energy. You've got the power to create a healthy lifestyle, we guide you through the process!
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