Now that the holidays are over, the new year is usually started with some kind of diet and exercise resolution. All the unwanted pounds have added up and you are sick of it. The first solution I always turn to when losing weight is by eating less. Wow!….what a concept. It is such an easy solution but it can be the most extremely difficult path to follow. The vast majority of people will dash to the closest gym and workout like dogs but still find it difficult to shed those winter pounds. Some sneaky little problems people tend to ignore or might not even realize that can become a hindrance to dropping the weight is the fact that they are underestimating how many hidden calories consumed.
(Oh coffee…how I love you!)
The Average Diet
I am in great shape and only eat 2-3 meals a day with water or coffee to drink. I also fast about two times a week so that I am constantly creating a caloric deficit. Even though I love food, my fasting days make me feel energized and more alert. Now, the average person eats roughly 3-4 meals a day with snacks and drinks scattered throughout. When a person thinks of the word “meal,” the first thing that comes to mind is breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The term “snacks” is usually anything that is consumed outside of breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Drinks for the average American consist of either 2-3 sodas a day, sports drink, Kool-Aid, iced tea, or some kind of other fruity type beverage. Some may only consume 1-2 types of drinks, but it is not uncommon for someone to consume all of them listed within a given day. So how does this all add up.
You Only Eat 3 Meals A Day…But It Might Actually Be 6-8
If you are having a hard time losing weight, it’s more than likely due to a hidden factor that is causing excessive calorie consumption. Well I am going to uncover that “hidden” problem so that you will be able to identify it when trying to lose some pounds. One of the “hidden” problems is with the term “meal.” Most people wouldn’t consider a cookie, muffin, soda, chips, etc as a meal. Those items are often viewed as snacks. Well a meal is actually considered to be anything that has the caloric value comparable to an apple. Now an average meal should be around 300-600 calories. If you have 3 average meals a day, you are looking at a range of around 1,200-2,000 calories. Most people would do very well sticking within that range, but it’s the additional snacks and drinks that demolish the diet. This is why I consistently hear people say “well I don’t eat that much but I still gain weight.” They aren’t counting additional foods or drinks consumed.
Snacks And Sodas Are Usually The Culprits
Like I mentioned before, most people would never consider a cookie, muffin, soda, etc as a meal even though it could easily have 300-500 calories. Remember, everything that is consumed matters when trying to lose weight. All the snacking that is done outside your regular 3 meals a day, can easily rack you up an additional days worth of calories. This is the biggest reason people fail to lose weight. Something to keep in mind…you will almost always “under-calculate” how many calories you actually consume.
Areas To Evaluate Overeating Or Improper Mindsets
1)Small snacks can be very high in calories– A common mishap is snacking on food and high sugar drinks that are small but pack a huge punch in calories. Even healthy items like nuts can sometimes be a problem. Yes, they are good for your body but can damage fat loss efforts due to their high caloric content in just a small handful. The difference is not sitting down with a bag of nuts while watching tv. It is not uncommon to eat over a half a days worth of calories in one sitting. Other small items to look out for are cookies, muffins, cake, chocolate candies, Little Debbie treats, chips, etc. A lot of people can snack on these and not even leave a dent in their stomach. This is why snacking on these kinds of treats can easily damage your fat loss efforts.
2)Large meal portions– Obviously Americans are “Kings” when it comes to portion sizes. If we don’t have a plate full of food the size of a station wagon…then we aren’t satisfied. This may be one of the hardest areas for people to show some discipline. It can be very hard not to go for seconds when the meal tastes amazing.
3)Extra Workouts– Another little rule that will save you a lot of energy, time, and work. “You can’t outwork a bad diet.” It doesn’t matter how hard and often you workout, you can still get fat. People still think that working out allows them to overeat. Could this mindset be the reason why we see so many “slightly chubby” trainers as well as other daily gym goers? If you are still consuming more calories than what you burn, you won’t lose weight. It is way more difficult to burn 1,000 calories exercising than it is to eat 1,000 calories. I see this problem and mindset all the time.
4)Health Foods– This is another important factor to consider. It doesn’t matter how healthy a certain food is…if you are eating too much you will have difficulty losing weight. It doesn’t matter if it is a “special healthy shake” or an organic whatever, you won’t lose weight if you keep taking in more calories than what you burn.
*It is a lot harder to over indulge on fruits and vegetables because they do contain fiber and a lot of water which will keep you full.
You Don’t Have To Deprive Yourself: Flexibility Is The Key
I can’t stress this enough. When fat loss is your goal, you MUST count everything that goes into your mouth. I don’t mean to literally count the calories you eat. Just be aware that everything that is eaten matters. In order to have a successful weight loss plan, there needs to be flexibility that allows you to enjoy your food without being deprived. For example you might eat pizza for dinner every Saturday because your family all come together for this particular meal. We know that most pizzas are very high in calories. So how do you make it work in your fat loss goals? Fast the day before or try and eat very little. You can also pig out on your favorite desserts at a party. Just make some adjustments the next day. Eat only 1-2 meals for the next few days. It doesn’t even have to be that extreme. Once again, fasting 1-2 times a week can take care of those issues. These are all little ways to keep your calories in a deficit.