New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, most of which revolve around losing weight and getting in shape. If this describes you, how confident are you that this will be your year? New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived for many reasons.
According to Dr. Jessica Bartfield, a weight loss specialist from Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care, only 20 percent of those who plan on losing weight are successful. She gives her top four reasons so many dieters fail to lose weight. We’ll give you the remedies.
1. Underestimating Calories Consumed
Dr. Bartfield: “Most people (even experts!) underestimate the number of calories they eat per day.”
Our Suggestion: If you’re the type that prefers to wing it when it comes to eating, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not enough to want to lose weight. You have to prepare, plan and research what you’re going to eat.
Like Dr. Bartfield, we suggest writing down everything you eat. If you prefer an old-fashioned written food journal, that’s great. However, there many digital solutions that offer a more comprehensive experience with access to your favorite foods’ calorie count, weight tracking, and many other features.
2. Overestimating Exercise and Calories Burned
Dr. Bartfield: “Typically you need to cut 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. This is very difficult to achieve through exercise alone, and would require 60 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day. A more attainable goal would be to try to increase activity throughout the day and get a total of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week.”
Our Suggestion: It’s great that you’re exercising, and you are likely going to reap some level of benefit. One way to get an accurate account of your daily activity is with a pedometer. But get more bang for your buck and do exercises known to burn more calories. If you favor cardio, don’t neglect resistance training. More lean muscle mass will burn more calories even when you aren’t working out.
3. Poorly Timed Meals
Dr. Bartfield: “You need a steady stream of glucose throughout the day to maintain optimal energy and to prevent metabolism from slowing down.”
Our Suggestion: Eating healthier foods is the most important step you make, but it’s also important to schedule them correctly. Never skip breakfast and don’t forget mid-morning and afternoon snacks to not only optimize your metabolism, but minimize the urge to overindulge on your guilty pleasure foods later.
4. Lack of Sleep
Dr. Bartfield: “Studies have shown that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite, particularly for high-carbohydrate/high-calorie foods. In addition, less sleep raises levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can lead to weight gain.”
Our Suggestion: Sleep is one of the most underrated health factors. Adequate sleep is so much more than ensuring you have enough energy the next day. In addition to the appetite stimulating connection, studies are also suggesting an increased risk for inflammation, connected to everything from heart diseases to cancer.
So how can you get more sleep? Exercise helps increase serotonin levels, which helps you get a good night’s rest. Another option is to go to bed early and read a little to help you gradually come to a point of relaxation conducive to sleep. Take a shower before bed, keep the room cool, and turn off all electronics before falling asleep.