Failed weight loss attempts are a dime a dozen. Between all the fads to taking on too big a challenge, it's easy to feel like there's no real hope for slimming down. We read up on how to shed pounds in one week. We learn the healthiest, safest and most effective diets to try. We're told what exercises work best, and which ones you shouldn't even bother with. And right when we've got it down, all the rules seem to change. It's a whole lot of trial and error. You gain a pound this week, you lose a pound that week. It's an exhausting process.
Here are five important lessons women of the weight loss world have gathered during their failed attempts to shed some pounds.
1. Not all carbs are created equal.
“When I was trying to lose weight before a wedding, I decided I needed to cut out carbs to reach my goal. I still ate plenty of fruits and veggies, but I cut out starchy vegetables like potatoes and, of course, bread, pasta, and crackers. Within a couple of days, I was seriously dragging a**. I couldn’t complete my usual workouts, and some days, I couldn’t even get to the gym. I probably was burning fewer calories than I was before," says Sheila Ray, 23.
"Though I managed to lose a couple of pounds, it was all water weight. As soon as I ‘caved’ and ate a piece of bread, I gained it all back. After all of that, I decided that I could benefit by minimizing how many refined carbs I eat, switched to whole-grain bread and pasta, and stayed away from processed cookies and crackers as much as possible—within reason. Now, I actually have the energy to complete my workouts, and I don't have the post-carb comas I used to get all the time. I’m losing real weight. It’s slow, but it’s steady.”
2. Ridiculous tools aren't necessary.
“I tried a diet plan that revolves around eating all of your food out of portion-controlled containers that come in different sizes and colours to represent different food groups—like protein, fruit, and veggies," says Blake Stuffel, 29.
"The idea is that if each of your meals fit into the array of containers, you’re set. Your meals are both portion-controlled and balanced. But I had so much trouble figuring out how to use them and cooking every meal from scratch that I basically gave up. While those damn containers were a struggle, they did teach me the importance of portion controlling your meals and making your food ahead of time—but I don't need colour-coded food storage to do it."
3. Binge eating is the result of a bad diet plan.
“I've tried several quick-fix diets to lose weight, like the one where you eat soup for three days or only eat tuna. They always left me feeling unsatisfied. By restricting myself to only certain foods or drinks for a number of days, I was constantly hungry—so sooner or later, I ate everything in sight," says Natasha Suttle, 29.
"I never felt like I was becoming healthier or losing weight. After a few failed diets, I learned that trying to starve myself just doesn’t work."
4. Juices shouldn't be treated as meal replacements.
“I tried the juicing fad after the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
reeled me in. After watching it, I ordered a pretty legit juicer and bought nearly $200 worth of veggies and fruits. I decided I would give up caffeine
and food all in the same day because it seemed like the way to set myself up for a big win. The morning juice was delicious, and I felt like I was crossing the starting line to a better me. By noon, I had to introduce kale, which I hate. I did manage to make my way through it, but it wasn’t fun. I was hungry and suffering from withdrawal from sugar, food, caffeine, fun. Drinking liquid kale wasn't so great, either," says Carrie Dowling, 30.
"Around dinnertime, I was like, ‘f*ck this.’ I called up one of my friends, and we went out for Mexican food and margaritas. Lessons learned: Juice is not a meal, and no matter how many people tell you to eat kale, you don't have to!”
5. It's after you lose the weight that you have to be most careful.
“I've gained and lost probably 500 pounds in my lifetime. I’ve had success with programs like Weight Watchers and counting calories like it’s my job, but I’ve never kept it off," says Jesse McPhail Ramsay, 40.
"For me, maintenance is the hard part. Once I lose the weight, I always think, ‘Yes! Now I’m done and can do what I want.’ But that just isn’t true. The really hard work comes after you reach your goal."
What lessons have you learned from your weight loss attempts?
Source: Women's Health