What to Do When Your Diet Isn’t Working

Mar 24, 2015 //

Have you been dieting without seeing any results? Eating healthier but still not feeling your best? Everybody understands that their diet will affect their weight and health but few people know what to do when their healthy diet isn’t helping them reach their goals.

It’s time to revaluate your current diet. A simple change might be all that you need to get back on track. Take a closer look at these three common diet mistakes. Are you making them?

Mistake #1: Low-Nutrient Diet

Huge segments of the population aren’t getting enough of the nutrients they need from their daily diet. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, 86% of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough Vitamin E, 75% are low in folate and 73% aren’t getting enough calcium.

People who rely on prepared convenience foods and fast food fare often find themselves “undernourished and overfed.” Meaning, they’re eating enough or more than enough calories each day but not meeting their bodies’ need for various nutrients. This is likely the result of poor food choices.

Nutritional deficiencies may even be a problem for those of us who are following a healthy eating program. For instance, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that dieters who were adhering to one of four popular diet programs: Atkins, South Beach, and the DASH diet were also likely to be low in some vitamins and minerals.

Many of our bodies’ physiological processes can be hindered by a nutrient low diet. If you’ve been feeling less than your best, it’s possible you’re not getting all the nutrients you need. Track your food intake on an online food diary to see if you’re skimping on any important food groups or nutrients. Most online food diaries will show you if you’re getting in your recommended daily amounts.

Mistake #2: Overeating

Overeating may seem like a simple problem to correct but it unfortunately plagues many adults. The primary issue with overeating is that many of us don’t realize we’re doing it!

Anytime we consume more calories than we need to sustain our activity level and biological processes we gain weight. Subtle calorie overages that occur each day can add up quickly.

Here are three common mistakes that may be causing you to overeat:

Overestimating Your Activity Level

It’s common for people to overestimate exactly how physically active they are in a day and, in turn, the amount of calories they require. A large study published Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise discovered that the average person overestimates their daily physical activity by over 50 minutes each day.

Eating While Distracted

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a review of 24 different medical studies, concluded that eating while distracted caused study participants to eat more than they would eat if they’d dined without distraction. If you want to avoid overeating, eat in an environment free of distractions, such as the TV or your tablet or computer. Eat off a plate or bowl while seated at a table.

Drinking Your Calories

Between specialty coffee drinks, sodas, and smoothies many of us are getting a lot of calories form what we are sipping on. Nutritional research studies suggest that liquid nutrition may not be as satiating as eating whole foods. If your daily routine includes one or more high-calorie drinks, it might be easier than you think to over do it!

Mistake #3: Protein, Carb and Fat Imbalance

In most cases, you can maintain a healthy weight simply by eating a diet high in nutrient-rich foods and avoiding overeating. On the other hand, if you have lofty physique-related goals or a stubborn metabolism, you may need to experiment with your macronutrient balance.

Macronutrient balance is a term used to describe how you distribute your calories among the 3 macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Different body types tend to respond differently to different macronutrient balances. For example:

  • Lean and lanky body types (ectomorphs) do well with a 55% carbohydrate, 25% protein, and 20% fat macronutrient balance
  • Athletic and muscular body types (mesomorphs) respond well to 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat
  • Fuller figures (endomorphs) see great results with 25% carbohydrate, 35% protein, and 40% fat.

If you’ve been dieting for a while and haven’t been seeing results, correcting nutrient deficiencies, eliminating overeating or trying a new macronutrient balance may be the solution you’re looking for.

Erika Volk

Erika is a certified personal trainer, Nutrition Coach, and fitness writer. She holds certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), TRX Suspension Training Systems, Precision Nutrition. She specializes in creating gym-free workouts.

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