Despite our instant gratification society, people are slowly learning that the newest diet trends and fad diets just don’t work. You’ll lose weight, but it won’t be healthy or lasting loss, and usually it’s with solutions that can’t be permanent. Your diet needs a makeover if it’s no longer serving you, and if you can’t make it a permanent lifestyle change. Everything about you, including your weight, is the result of your health and habits. Here are five clues that you haven’t found the right diet for your needs.
Your weight yo-yos
It’s easy to lose weight – at least some of it. You might get jazzed about the first big losses that suddenly motivate you to diet even more. Eventually, though, this concept of “being on a diet” wears thin, or your body stops responding in the same way, and the weight comes back. Have you ever been on a diet and then go back to “regular eating” once you’re done? You have just identified a huge culprit in the infamous diet cycle.
You catch yourself constantly ‘cheating’ on your diet
Anyone who has ever been on a diet has done it – sooner or later, you will cheat. How do you stop this from happening? Here’s a clue. If your favorite thing in the whole wide world is a double fudge sundae and your diet never ever allows for one, you will fail. Only cut out things that you are willing to give up forever. Diets are about lifestyle change, not something temporary for short-term weight management goals. Also remember that if you’re always hungry, you may be cutting portion sizes too quickly. The rule of the day is moderation in everything, not complete abstinence from “unhealthy” food.
Your energy levels are rock-bottom every day
It doesn’t matter how much weight you lose if you also lose your energy. If you wake up dragging every day, have no motivation, and feel like every task is just too momentous, then something is wrong. Your diet is the first likely cause, especially if you didn’t feel this way before making weight management changes. A good, healthy diet should make you feel better and more energetic, not worse. Don’t hesitate to get a doctor’s evaluation and talk to a nutritionist to make sure there are no other problems, and to make sure you’re actually consuming a healthy combination of food.
You’re not regularly meeting USDA recommendations
Unless you specifically measure out every single portion of food you eat, you’re never going to be in perfect adherence to USDA consumption guidelines. With the exception of specific medical conditions that require it, measuring out your food is a tiny bit extreme. That said, it’s important to get close. Every food group offers different nutrients that you need. Without these, the body is not going to be healthy regardless of your weight. Many fad diets work by entirely cutting out a group or parts of a group, and it can cause severe health issues long-term.
Your weight changes too quickly
Your diet isn’t serving you if you’re not getting the results that you want — within reason. In today’s instant gratification world, people are constantly sucked in by promises of losses of 30 pounds a week or the perfect bikini body before summer. Many fad diets affect massive weight loss in an unbelievable amount of time by wasting your muscle. Muscle burns calories, so your body will gain fat even more readily once it’s gone. You need your muscle, and may gain weight when you start a good strength training regimen because it does weigh more than fat. This is where it’s important to look at the measuring tape and realize that your progress is in much more than just the number on the scale.
The most important thing to remember about dieting is that there is no magic bullet. Get the idea out of your head that you’re going to do something different for a few months, lose a ton of weight and look the way you want, and then go back to “normal life.” That’s not how it works, and that’s how you set yourself up for failure and health problems. Start by making small changes, make them habit, and repeat. Good weight loss involves a mix of diet and exercise – there’s no way around it – and is typically between half a pound and two pounds per week.