Are you a yo-yo dieter? When you’re desperate to lose weight, you can end up trying some pretty wacky diets. Unfortunately, many of these don’t work, and contradict the advice of nutrition experts. Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer tells Express.co.uk the most common reason diets fail, and the tips that she ‘swears by’
There’s nothing more frustrating than struggling to shift a few pounds.
When, despite all your hard work and giving up your favourite treats, the numbers on the scale don’t budge, many of us get demotivated and give up.
If you find yourself constantly trying new diets and never reaching your goals, or piling the weight back on, you might be a yo-yo dieter.
Chances are, if you keep flitting between different fad diets, you will never achieve your long-term weight loss goals.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Suzie Sawyer, a clinical nutritionist at FeelAlive, says: “We all know the term ‘fad diet’. And, if we’re honest, there’s probably very few people who haven’t tried one at some stage in their lives.
“A fad diet is a slimming plan that promises amazing amounts of weight loss, very quickly, but is not backed-up by any real science. The truth is that some of these diets can actually do more harm than good to our health.”
Why isn’t my diet working?
There can be a number of reasons why your diet is failing, but the number one might surprise you.
The reason that most diets fail, according to Suzie, is because they are too restrictive. That’s right – for weight loss to be sustainable and successful, you might need to eat more.
Suzie says: “‘Fad diets’ are, by definition, highly restrictive – just think about the cabbage soup, grapefruit and even baby food diets!
“As such, cravings can be almost unbearable, particularly if you are living under the same roof as people not following the same dietary regime.
“Many fad dieters say they are ‘hungry all the time’ because of decreased fullness due to suppressed production of leptin, the ‘fullness hormone’.
“This often adversely affects sleep patterns as the brain is so preoccupied with food that is off-limits.”
Suzie explains that it is not a failure of willpower to be unable to stick to a highly restrictive diet, it is due to your body overcompensating because you aren’t eating enough.
She says: “Side effects of yo-yo dieting include not only cravings, sleep disturbance and fantasizing about food but also low energy levels, muscle loss, decreased body temperature, poor digestive and reproductive health and even an increased risk of developing eating disorders”
How can I lose weight and stay healthy?
Even though fad diets and get fit fast plans are probably not worth it in the long run, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight can put you at risk for chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes as well as putting pressure on your heart and joints.
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Weight loss can take some time, so perseverance, and eating enough to avoid suffering cravings or lack of energy is key.
Suzie shares the tips that she ‘swears by’ for staying trim:
Be realistic – and be patient.
Suzie says: “Losing more than 1-2 lbs a week of FAT is not possible.” Set your goals and discuss them with a GP or personal trainer to advise you on whether they are achievable.
Get more exercise in
Exercise is a great way to maximise your weight loss. Suzie says: “Think half and half! Burn around 250 calories a day doing exercise of your choice and reduce food intake by 250 calories daily – you’ve achieved a 500 calorie per day reduction.”
Get your nutrients
Food isn’t all about calories, we need nutrients from our food that help our body and immune system stay tip-top. Taking a multivitamin supplement is a great way to stay on top of your nutrients, your body will thank you.
Eat three meals a day…
Once again, it pays off to think about dieting as eating well rather than eating less. Skipping meals is an absolute no-no.
Suzie says: “Constant grazing, even though you may be not eating a huge number of total calories daily, will upset insulin response; the body will store more fat.”
… and NEVER skip breakfast
Suzie says: “It’s actually the most important meal of the day!
“Your body needs to be fuelled in the morning otherwise it will start breaking down muscle. This in turn reduces metabolic rate so you’ll be working against yourself!
“Always include some protein with breakfast to balance blood sugar levels; eggs, natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds, avocado, porridge – there’s plenty of great options!
Drink green tea
If your goal is weight loss, think about switching your Builders tea for green tea.
Suzie explains: “Green tea contains catechins which help to ‘rev up’ the metabolism, making the body more effective at burning fat.
“Drink four cups of green tea daily for optimal effectiveness and avoid other caffeinated drinks for best outcome.”