"I Don't Know Why I Can't Lose Weight"
At the start of the new year, when health clubs are jam-packed and weight loss products are in full force, it seems like everyone is ready to shed those unwanted pounds. But many people are struggling to lose weight and wondering why. Some tell me they are "eating healthy" and just can't figure out why the scale isn't changing. Others know what they need to do — they just aren't doing it. Here are the top five obstacles that prevent weight loss success, and some tips to overcome them.
- Underestimating how much you eat. In order to lose weight, it is important to change your eating habits and eat less. The majority of people don't realize how much they actually eat. Mindlessly munching on a few chips here and a little candy there starts to add up over time. Being aware of your current eating habits and admitting that there are things you need to change are the first steps towards achieving your weight loss goals. Keeping a food diary raises your awareness of the choices you make that impact your diabetes and weight loss. Not only will you have a better sense of what changes you need to make, you might also think twice about eating that slice of cake if you know you'll have to see it on paper.
- Lack of exercise. Sometimes people have made major diet changes, but aren't slimming down. This is because they are leaving out one vital component of weight loss success — exercise. When I ask people if they exercise, I often hear, "I take the stairs every day at work" or "I walk to the bus stop." While all of these are good habits, they aren't enough to lose weight. People need to exercise at the right intensity, time, and frequency. You should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical activity. Exercise will also help lower blood sugar levels. Strength or resistance training can also help with weight loss by increasing muscle mass. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Underlying issues. Sometimes people are overweight because they eat for emotional reasons and have a difficult time controlling their eating. There are various degrees of emotional eating, but if you struggle to understand why you can't control your eating and you frequently turn to food for comfort, you may benefit from counseling.
- An unbalanced diet and food addictions. If your diet is high in refined carbs and inadequate in protein and natural fats, you may not feel satisfied by the food you are eating. This can lead to overeating as well as high blood sugar levels. I have heard people say that they feel addicted to sugar and this food addiction gets in the way of their weight loss. Cutting back on refined carbs and increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein can help with this feeling. Instead of snacking on chips, have some almonds! Nuts and seeds provide healthy fats, protein, and other great nutrients — and they help you feel satiated longer!
- Not changing behavior There are three components needed for weight loss: healthy eating, exercise, and behavior change. Changing a behavior that you've had for years can be challenging, but it is possible. A certified diabetes educator can help you with this, but try starting with two or three specific and realistic goals. For example, you could take a low carb lunch to work three days a week, or walk for 30 minutes four days a week. Maybe you could try to eat dinner on a smaller plate, or cut down to eating out two times a week. Even something as small as not eating after 7pm can make a difference.
Check out this easy, healthy recipe for Lemon Herb Tilapia with Zucchini — it's gluten-free, too!
NOTE: This information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...