Let’s face it.  We know what we should be doing to lose weight.  Adopting healthy habits like eating clean and watching what we eat, going to gym and training, not over indulging on booze and getting enough sleep are all on the list.   And we do what we can because doing something is better than doing nothing at all. 

There is a glitch in this system though.  There is more than one box to tick, as we all know but ticking boxes can also set you back if you are going about it the wrong way.  Even if you have the noblest intentions.

Here are a few of the weight loss strategies are prone to failure and what you can do to instead to reach your goals.
Ditching desert and opting for sugar-like substances instead

There are labels that indicate that food has no added sugar or a low sugar content which is great on the outset.   The problem is that these foods are sometimes laced with artificial sweeteners.  In the short term having something like that occasionally is not a big deal, but unfortunately the amount adds up very quickly, and before you know it, you are consuming massive amounts of chemicals. These unfortunately have long term health issues such as higher obesity risk (ironically), type 2 diabetes and heart problems.  The problem with artificial sweeteners is that they also ramp up your cravings for sweet foods and carbohydrates.  To add insult to injury, no one has ever been able to prove that using sweeteners instead actually assists with weight loss.  It is more a case really of what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts (plus you are putting your body at health risk).

Rather try this:  If you feel like something sweet, make it yourself and use a substitute low in kilojoules but still healthy, like Xylitol for instance.  This way you know what is in it and how much of it you have added.

Cutting portions dramatically

There is a gremlin in your body called Ghrelin.  This is no joke, this little hormone is your built in survival tool curtesy of mother nature.   Once you have decided you are going for gold and you are cutting down your portions to less than what your body needs this little guy will spike signalling your brain and body that you are not full and almost triggering an emergency.   Ghrelin then tells the hormone leptin (which is the guy that balances your energy and tells your body “thanks I have had enough to eat”) that he can’t pull in yet so leptin is not triggered.   Your body now is in “starvation mode” which is a problem because your instincts for survival is much stronger than your instinct to lose weight.  9 times out of 10 you will end up overeating and this is usually accompanied by a sense of failure and guilt of not being able to follow your diet.

Try this:  according to your body weight, establish now much you need to eat, protein, healthy fats, carbs and veg.  You should aim for around 20 grams of protein for women on average and men at the very least about 30g if you are working out and trying to build muscle.  You can also eyeball it, no need to weigh food etc. Ideally you would go; quarter plate protein, quarter plate fibre rich whole grains, and the rest must be loaded with colourful vegetables.  Insert link exact portion sizes

Changing to low fat everything

Where one substance is taken away from a product the general rule of thumb is that something else needs to replace that ingredient to make up for it in taste. In the case where fat is removed from a product, it is usually replaced with sugar and carbohydrates or other harmful chemicals and additives.   You end up eating more empty calories then the full fat counterpart.  It is not always easy to distinguish the good from the bad, but our bodies do need good fats for normal healthy bodily function.   Simple things like protecting our organs, certain vitamins and nutrients can only be digested with fats, we need it for hormone production and the brain is super reliant on fats for healthy functioning.  I wrote a whole article outlining each fat and how they work, what to avoid etc. you can read morel about them here

The satisfying “fuller for longer” effect healthy fats have on the body will help you regulate your hunger and for this reason will help you with fat loss.  Needless to say moderation is key.

Try this: Avoid trans fatty acids.  You will find this mostly in processed food like crisps, cookies, crackers etc. read the labels and look at for partially hydrogenated oils.  That’s the big no-no. Margarines, processed cheese and oils that had to go through a heated process (processed) is also not a great source of healthy fats.

Go for: Healthy whole foods (natural state foods) seeds, avo’s, salmon and other fish, lean grass fed meats, whole eggs, raw nuts, plain cheeses and yoghurts

Changing your exercise program to cardio all day every day

People have written about this so many times because it is such an easy trap to fall into.  a Twelve week study between two groups has shown, that overweight people who incorporated weight training along with cardio, lost more weight than other groups that only focussed on cardio.   Not just this studies, many every-day people are lately catching on to this and you can see it trending on social media as well. Read more on how incorporating weight training is beneficial to weight loss.

Try this. Work on a program which has you training different muscle groups on three days of the week on high intensity and alternate with cardio exercises and classes.  You can even try high intensity interval training on one day and alternate with LISS (low intensity steady state training) read more on that here.  To really fry fat fast.

Replenishing with Energy Bars and Sports Drinks

Ok, so if you are not a professional athlete or taking part in long duration type of sports like running or cycling you have absolutely no business drinking energy drinks. Especially if you are trying to lose weight.  Replenishing with a sports drink will basically negate your workout if you have spent an hour training and burned the average of 250 to 500 calories. 

This, needless to say, will not be assisting you with your weight loss.  Even though they replace electrolytes and might have a few vitamins here and there, they are really just empty calories.

Read more on how water can help your weight-loss here

Try this: Water.  And if you don’t like the taste you can flavour it with lemon. Water has a funny way of growing on you if you start cutting out other things.  You can carry a large container around with you and fuel up before, during and after a workout.   If you are looking for a bit of fuel before a workout a hand full of almonds does the trick.  Keep some in our car so that they are readily available or a whey protein shake. 

Learning how to read your labels properly can also assist you in choosing the right products.