Why the diet doesn’t work: the 10 most common mistakes

Not all diets have a happy ending. “Forever thin and happy” is the mental incipit with which we sit at the table, but then there are psychological mechanisms, bad habits and eating errors that end up sabotaging us and throwing away all good intentions. But what are the most common mistakes that don’t make the diet work and lead to failure? Here’s what the doctor replies Carla Lertolasurgeon specialist in Food Science and Dietetics.


When we go on a diet, the ultimate goal must be fat loss, not general weight loss. This implies the first rule: never be in a hurry. When weight loss is too fast, it may only hide the loss of fluid and muscle mass, because losing weight on the scale and losing weight are not necessarily synonymous.. We must proceed for little stepscommit ourselves day by day, re-educate ourselves to good food, have realistic intentions and actionable in the long term: only in this way will we avoid that the lost kilos are only apparent and can return quickly, with all the interests.


If we focus solely on the response of the scales, we lose sight of an important aspect: the knowledge of our body, which in some way speaks to us. If we lose fat mass, we first notice it from the clothes, which begin to go wider, but also to the touch, trivially when we take a shower. Especially in the abdominal area, the tissue appears different, with a different consistency, less swollen. Let’s trust our touch.


This is the most common misconception. Bread and pasta are considered the great enemies of the line, so we ban them completely from the table: this, however, makes us adopt a diet strongly unbalanced And lacking. Even when losing weight, 60 percent of our daily calorie intake must be represented by carbohydrates, 90 percent of which are complex (bread, pasta, rice, etc.), paying attention to to prefer the integral variants. Likewise, i fat they have their usefulness, because they are a fundamental part of the cell membranes of all tissues. Rather than eliminating them, we choose the best ones, such as extra virgin olive oil, and learn how to dose: instead of grabbing the bottle and “watering” the food, we use the teaspoon to be aware of the quantity we use, gradually decreasing it compared to usual.


Protein (animal or vegetable) must represent 12-15 percent of the calories consumed each day. Exceeding this quota, or even following a high-protein diet, apparently makes you lose weight faster, but does not teach us to eat correctly, so in the long run we risk not only regaining the lost weight, but also incurring bone demineralization, damage hepatic and renal. In order not to make mistakes, it is good to ask a specialist for advice to draw up a personalized plan.


At the moment, there is no scientific evidence that demonstrates an effective validity of the fast in time. Indeed, maintaining the five daily meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks) is the most effective strategy for losing weight and staying healthy: on the contrary, due to an ancestral predisposition, when the organism experiences a state of “famine” there is a natural tendency to store fat as an emergency supply. This means that what is needed least, such as lean mass, is burned or all metabolic activities are slowed down to limit energy expenditure. Basically, if we eat too little, we risk not losing weight (in the true sense of the word) even if we lose weight.


Among the meals we scissor most often is breakfast, which is one of the fundamental appointments of the day: it helps us start with a sprint and, if planned in the right way, stimulates an equally healthy lunch and dinner. The perfect breakfast must be light, digestible, but also complete, so it must include all nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals), covering 20-25 percent of the total daily calories.


Hydrating properly is important. Water does not make you lose weight as such, but promotes an adequate lifestyle: like all good daily habits, in fact, even hydration activates a virtuous circle in which we are led to be more attentive. What’s more, we often mistake the feeling of thirst for that of hunger, so being dehydrated can overeat.


Often, those who want to shed a few pounds rely on fat-burning and anti-hunger products that promise fast results. In pharmacy and herbal medicine, a wide range of fiber-based products is available (to be taken with generous amounts of water to increase volume and facilitate the sense of satiety), thermogenic (containing substances such as caffeine or green tea that cause a slight increase energy metabolism) or with amino acids (to help both preserve muscle mass and promote a sense of satiety), but none of these solutions are truly miraculous. The only effective way to get rid of excess fat is to follow a proper diet, decreasing food income and increasing energy expenditure with physical activity.


Often, the design of a female silhouette is stamped on the packaging of foods labeled as light, which conveys the idea of ​​ideal physical shape, so we associate those products with lightness and end up eating larger portions. Rather, it is better to replace the classic “seasoned” baked goods (such as crackers, breadsticks, taralli, flatbreads, carré bread or rusks) with some plain bread, which is always the winning choice, because it is the most (naturally) light baked product that exists. And this must be taught from childhood.


In addition to having nutritional correctness, every diet must be free from emotions. Who has never happened to nibble on something nervously after a bad fight, at the end of a stressful day or when a thought is buzzing in your head? Eating relaxes, distracts, consoles and often represents the emotional response to unpleasant situations, uncomfortable problems and moods that we cannot cope with, manage or control. With the help of a dietician, we need to understand what we “put” in food, why we do it, what emotions make us wobble, at what times of the day we sabotage the diet more easily and how to manage the problem. To this we must add avaried and imaginative foodbecause the pleasantness of a diet plan helps to make it sustainable over time and does not make us feel dangerous gaps to fill.

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