For many people, it boils down to a combination of two factors 1) lack of movement, especially throughout the day, and 2) misjudging calorie intake. For others, emotional eating sabotages weight loss efforts.
Most people who are trying to lose weight have the best intentions and truly desire to lose weight. Yet despite this, they tend to follow the 80/20 rule. That is, they follow their nutrition and exercise plan 80% of the time, but the other 20% of the time they over-indulge or unintentionally miss calories. In fact, most people underestimate the calories they eat by 20-50% despite best intentions. In one classic study, obese participants tracked calories and reported eating only 1,000 calories a day. (They blamed a slow metabolism for their inability to lose weight). After weighing and measuring all the food they consumed throughout the course of a day, researchers demonstrated that they ate twice as much – 2,000 calories a day. Their metabolism was also measured and was appropriate for their age, height, weight. In other words, nothing was wrong with their metabolism. So, if you’re eyeballing portions or if you’re not tracking calories, it may be time to boost your calorie IQ. Keep a food log and use a food scale, measuring cups and spoons to measure what you eat. If you’re like most, you’ll have to retrain your brain on the proper portions for your body.
If you’re sedentary most of the day and exercise a few times a week, it’s time to kick up your physical activity by limiting your sitting time to no more than 2 hours at a time. Take short walks, stand and pace whenever you can. One 20 minute walk burns 100 calories. If you do that daily, you'll lose 10 pounds after a year. Bottom line-move at every chance you get. Vven fidgeting burns more calories.
If emotional eating is a challenge for you – tackle it head on and commit to overcoming it. I recommend the books “Feeding a Hungry Heart” and “A Course in Weight Loss.” Also, Dr. Michelle Cleere and I did a webcast on emotional eating on 1/27/11. You can watch it here http://www.sharecare.com/static/programwebcast-archived?&sp_rid=NTUzNjMyNjYyS0&sp_mid=961999
As you make positive changes by moving more and eating fewer calories, it’s just a matter of time before you start losing. Stay persistent, focus on what you’re doing right, learn something from your setbacks and you WILL succeed.