If you can determine and understand why you fail, you can focus on fixing the problem. Long term weight loss success has to do with changes that are made not only for a short period but for the long run. I have listed the 5 main reasons, in my opinion, why people do not lose weight or struggle to maintain their ideal weight.
Appetite control is the most important factor in successful weight loss. The reason you are carrying extra weight is that you are eating too much. This can be too much in the form of healthy foods where portions are not controlled (too large) or it could be a craving for unhealthy foods and an inability to resist. Another factor would be the insatiable appetite – no matter what you eat you stay hungry or you are eating well but have a craving for sweet things.
Weight loss is inevitably a fight with your appetite, whether you think so or not. As soon as you start reducing your food intake, it is a natural thing to be hungry. Your body needs extra calories and will tell you to eat more. It is what you do with this “eat more” that is the problem. Some of my patients can control that craving with a strong mindset (they are few and far between but they exist) but most people can control their appetite to a point and then either give in or give up.
Bottom line: if you don’t feel hungry – you will not eat too much and won’t crave the wrong foods. Wouldn’t it be so easier to stick to your healthy eating plan if you have no cravings and don’t feel hungry? Ideal scenario I would say. Therefore the market for Appetite Suppressants is booming but these often have horrid side effects like aggression and moodiness. Paired with a hungry person – can be quite dangerous….
So what to do about this? This is where WHAT and WHEN you eat is very important. Firstly aim for proteins at each meal as this suppresses cravings and combine with eating regularly and having small snacks, it will keep your blood sugar in check. Secondly, invest in a natural Appetite Suppressant like 5 HTP (see suggested products below) AND remember to take it and also at the right times. Most people use these for the first month of the eating plan and thereafter decrease to a smaller dose for maintenance. These supplements can be taken when needed i.e. use it over weekends or on holidays or just a low dose at lunch to control your appetite in the afternoon.
Often in my practice, clients would say: my mother was obese, so was her parents and so is my brother so it must be genetic….. I used to think, oh no, another one shifting the blame.
Let’s look at how your genes can impact your weight. Obesity is a complex disease which results from not only genetic factors but is triggered by your environment. Many individuals may have a genetic predisposition that may lead to obesity. The genes involved here are genes that interact with environmental factors like the type of foods you consume in your diet as well as your activity levels.
For instance: you come from an overweight family. You probably have the genetic potential to put on weight too. You however, exercise frequently, avoid unhealthy foods and use nutritional supplementation to control your appetite. You are the only person in your family that is of a normal weight. Your sister on the other hand was born with a dislike in physical movement, a love for sugar and spice and really struggles to control her dietary intake. She has therefore given up the battle of the bulge as nothing she endeavours seems to last or help control her weight problem.
Sequence variations within a pool of 56 different genes have been reported as being related to obesity. Identification of these genes (See DNA DIET gene test) will help clarify the reason that you are struggling with your weight. A few genes to mention that can affect weight loss are:
- Increased appetite (Yes this can be genetic, gene FTO, MC4R, TCF7L2)
- A constant craving for sweet things (Yes this too is genetic TAS1R2)
- Insulin Resistance (ARDB2 Gln27Glu, FABP2)
- Saturated fat sensitivity (FABP2, ARDB2, APOA5)
- Your bodies resistance to weight loss (Gene ARDB3, PLIN)
- Reduced ability to mobilise fat from fat stores (Gene ARDB2 arg16gly)
By having your gene screen done (DNA Diet – we collect the test sample at the Practice or it is sent to you via Courier directly to you home with full instructions), you will have a very clear idea and understanding as to where your focus should be with your weight loss strategy. Whether it is to take something natural for appetite control, or to reduce the saturated fat or carbohydrate intake in your diet, using L-Carnitine based products can assist with the breakdown of fat in your body. And there is plenty more products available to assist.
The tests will also identify patients who are at risk of gaining weight. You might want to consider screening your kids if both parents are overweight, or doing the test if your child struggles with his/her weight. Implementing good lifestyle habits when kids are young is much more successful in managing weight than trying to change habits when you are older.
Give this one a go, it worked for me……
You know the saying; “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. I have seen this so many times. Usually when you start with your weight loss plan, you are amped to do it right. You go and buy your goodies, stick to your mealtimes and make the right choices. As time goes by, planning your day, mealtime and meal choices may whither. If the right foods are not in your fridge, you will eat whatever is in there. If you have not packed lunch for work or school, prepared a shake or snack foods when on the road, you will end up stopping at a One Stop or buy from your work canteen and as these do not cater for healthy eating habits, you will take the only and in all likelihood the wrong choice.
Same goes for dinner. If you do not stock up on fruit and vegetables in your house, you will not cook/eat them. And if you didn’t take the meat for your next meal from the freezer the previous night, you will probably opt for a quick and easy meal. My advice to you is that you take some time and set up a weekly menu for your main meals and then do a shopping list based on the menu. This you can then repeat week on week so when things get out of hand at work level or on your social schedule – you are prepared. If making time to shop is a factor – look at doing online shopping on a Sunday which will be delivered to your door on a Monday. Another option is to double your cooking portions in the week and freezing a portion for the next week.
Make sure that your breakfast and lunches are easy to pack and not complicated so that you can stick to it easily. Yes, this might be boring but we were not made to have joy out of every meal in the day. Keep it simple and discuss the right eating plan for your day to day routine with your Dietitian. NO for complicated – YES for keeping it simple.
No you don’t need to run the Comrades! I mean that you should look at your day to day activity level. This is where a step counter can be very useful. In order to have enough exercise to boost weight loss, you should at least be doing 10000 steps per day. This is where I would start. Once you have achieved this, you would need to add on another 30 min of cardiovascular workout. So if this sounds like a lot of work – it is indeed!
30 minutes a day seems little but patients often struggle to fit in the 30 minutes. Again planning is essential. You must set a 30 minute exercise slot into your day. Suggestions would be to start work 30 minutes later, use your lunch break to go for a walk, train 30 minutes at your workplace after work. The key here is NOT to think about it. Put your gear on and do it. It is only 30 minutes after all. Push yourself!
Look at your diary – schedule a time that will work and if it means you have to have a trainer or walk while your kids participate in sports, join a class or just do a quick session at home before work, make it happen. Of course with the emphasis of keeping it up!
Some underlying conditions can cause unexplained weight gain. These include conditions like underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism), insulin resistance, medication side effects like Cortisone and some anti-depressants. Usually the underlying condition is not the main cause of weight gain but an attributing factor. In order to ensure successful weight loss, these conditions should be managed during weight loss and especially on a long term basis. At Chocolate Nutrition, we assess all possible causes for weight problems and treat them accordingly to ensure that those targets and goals are achieved!
DNA Diet Tests is a genetic test that looks at the reasons why you may be struggling with your weight. With the information you get from doing this test you will be able to focus your eating plan and weight loss strategy around the environmental and dietary triggers that cause you to gain weight. The test is done at the Practice and is a simple mouth swab test. We courier your sample to the Laboratory and they email us your results. Once we receive your results, a Dietitian will consult with you to discuss the results and to set up an eating and exercise plan to maximise your weight loss.
Test price is approximately R2600 * (*Prices are subject to change as per laboratory prices and excludes Dietitian consultation).
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