Monday, June 8, 2009

Why dieters can't lose weight

Take a quick poll of your friends and i am sure you can easily name 5 people you know who are on a diet or just plain careful with their food. what gets to me, is sometimes people tell me about their amazing diets (like i only eat fruits and have been doing so for 6 months) and then they tell me that they just can't lose weight and ask me what's wrong. Of course i am perplexed with this as how do i answer this. The diet soundsz pretty extreme and i know for a fact that if you did follow such an extreme diet, you will lose weight... may not be healthy weight, but you still would lose weight.

So after some thought i decided to tell some of these clients to do a food diary. A food diary is essentially a diary that records down everything that you eat a drink and i usually recommend my clients to do it for 1 week. This means, for 1 week, they jot down everything that goes into their mouth. Be it a sweet, chewing gum or just a bite of somebody's curry puff.... you need to jot it down. Believe it or not, lot of them never came back to me and none of them asked me the answer for question again after that... because by doing the food diary they realized what was wrong.

But i forced them to share with me the findings in their diary and here is what i found out. Yes, you may be very strict for Breakfast, Lunch and dinner, but its the stuff in between which gets you. And lot of these people didn't realize what they were doing until they saw it in their food diary.

Sweet drinks - I know lots of people who don't eat rice, don't eat fried food, eat small portions etc.... but then gulp down about 8 to 10 glasses of sweet drinks per day. This varies from Coffee, to Milo, to Soda... you name it, this person is downing it. 8 to 10 glasses of sweet drink will give you a good 1500 to 2000 calories... which is the amount of calories you need a day. which means, anything additional to that... is more than you can use and will be stored as fat.

Munchies - I had this lady swear to me that she eats only boiled vege for Lunch and dinner and just a little bit of cereal for breakfast and yet she can't lose weight. Upon inspection.... she sure did eat only that for lunch, and dinner... but the problem, she has a serious case of the munchies... or nibbling things in between. From biscuits to goreng pisang .... i would say the nibbles in between were more than her actual meals. The problem is, because she ate so little, she was always hungry and had to nibble other foods in between.... which usualy was unhealthy food. She also has a habit of eating off other people's plates.... nothing wrong with that, but just because someone else bought it, doesn't mean you won't get the calories that come with it when you eat it.

High Protein Low Carbs - Oh boy.... this is has to be the most misinterpreted diet plan of all time. many people think that eating half a chicken is better than 2 mouthful's of rice. If you fall in this category, please stop. YEs proteins are better to eat than simple carbs, but it does not mean you can eat as much as you want. if your body does not utlize the protein, then it will be turned into fat. so unless you are lifting super heavy weights like Arnold which needs that much protein, an average human only needs about 50 grams of protein per day and nothing more. half a chicken will run you about 50 to 60 grams of protein... which means it is more protein than you body needs. So watch the protein in take and remember that it needs to stay small as well.

Alcohol - As most of you would have guessed, drinking is one of the main contributors to putting on weight despite eating very little. as i have covered in my previous postings, alcohol does contain a high amount of calories and it slows down your fat burning furnace.... so if you drink a lot and can't lose the weight, now you know why. I am not saying you can't drink at all, just know the facts... drinking will add on weight... if you are OK with the additional weight, than go for it. but if you are struggling to lose weight, and don't know why.... ta-daaaa.... now you know.

So, are you watching your food and not seeing the pounds come off? Take a closer look at your diet plan and also the amount of exercise / activity you do in a day. That should give you an indication. Also, i recommend, that you try to keep a food diary, so you can see what and where you can cut back a little.

Look forward to hearing your comments on this.

PS: Do take a quick second to take the poll on the right. Hope you guys dig the Yoda smoking pic.


The Corporate Athlete said...

I always ask my clients to lose fat, and not the weight, as we all know, muscle is 22% denser than fat. Thankfully, I have an equipment that measures only that. Great weightloss insights, thanks for sharing.

Rajan said...

CA: agreed bro. i am also very opposed to losing muscle mass.
these people i am talking about are overweight people who claim they are watching their diet, but in actual fact they are not. it seems to be a very common situation for many.

anfield devotee said...

Drinking has lotsa calories . . . really ah? . . . BUUUURRRP! hic!

(*cracks open another beer*)

Rajan said...

AD: Classic AD response.... what can i say.

Yin Teing said...

Oh, I recently also realised another reason: inability to let go and some deeper inner issues or due to stress. If there is something we are holding on to, the body tends to subconsciously hold on to the fat. I spent about a year away- and that time, I ate a diet high in fat and carbs (coz it was the only food available there)- but I was happy, stress free and physically active- and 8kg just dropped off within 3months. Just sharing from experience and observation :)

Rajan said...

Yin Teing: Wow.... thanks for sharing your story. i am amazed by how you lost weight by eating what you ate. it truly is an interesting observation.

But you are right. i too believe that losing weight is partially psychological as well... if you believe in it, it will happen.

after all dieting is 100% will power and nothing else.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

good info as always. thanks Rajan. and i dont think i need to look any further than my better half. she's been avoiding rice for lunch and only take veggie soup for dinner for the past month or so. glad to say i've seen some results. only that she could have gone down more if she quits taking all the sweet drinks. will definitely get her to read this piece.

Rajan said...

Kerp: nice to see you back.

Yes, sweet drinks can make the difference between seeing results and not seeing any... or even getting results slowly.

Not saying no drinks at all... but just need to be careful with it.

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