Five nutritionists explain eight reasons why it is difficult for you to lose weight and how to overcome them

For some time now, the paradigm in nutrition has changed: restriction has given way to pleasure, and you eat everything by controlling the quantity.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 May 2023 Monday 15:04
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Five nutritionists explain eight reasons why it is difficult for you to lose weight and how to overcome them

For some time now, the paradigm in nutrition has changed: restriction has given way to pleasure, and you eat everything by controlling the quantity. However, "magical diets" and ways to lose weight fast continue to proliferate on social networks. In between, many people who need to lose weight for health reasons feel as frustrated as they are disoriented.

In fact, nutritionists refer to a large number and variety of diets, methods, supplements and powders that their patients have tried, without obtaining the desired results. Precisely, the word diet is questioned by professionals, who are committed to implementing a change in habits that can be sustained over time.

However, there are some issues that must be considered so as not to become discouraged: the fact that there are no restrictions implies that the change must be implemented over time, both to strengthen those habits and to see the desired results.

In this sense, they repeat: there are no magical solutions. Yes, a lot of perseverance, conviction and patience. These are the main difficulties when looking to lose weight.

Many times it is believed that eating something caloric somehow "ruins" all the effort that has been made, and that then nothing is worth it. Thus, instead of resuming healthy habits, one "throws everything overboard" and abandons any intention of eating healthy.

According to this logic, which we have incorporated after years and years of considering that the decrease is based on the restriction, if you have eaten something "forbidden", nothing makes sense. On the contrary, if we take into account that we can eat everything, after having ingested something not very healthy, we must focus on continuing with healthier habits, but without demonizing that intake.

“I, who work with a flexible method, where unhealthy food can be part of the plan, I realize that people think they are overdoing it when they eat that unhealthy food, but we explain to them that this is contemplated, and we we tell why they have to do it”, says nutritionist Laura Romano, creator of Integral Nutrition.

The logic is overwhelming: no one can restrict themselves all the time, so once a person tires of restricting themselves, they have a rebound effect, where they not only regain the lost weight, but even gain more.

The key, then, is to take the moment of "overindulgence" as part of eating, and continue without guilt. “What we tell ourselves is often what makes treatment more difficult, and we tend to boycott ourselves,” concludes Romano.

Motivation appears at the beginning, but it cannot be the basis of a weight loss plan. “Soon after starting a treatment, the initial motivation and willpower become increasingly difficult to sustain. For this reason, one has to complement this with organizational habits”, Romano points out.

The nutritionist urges to prevent hunger and the desire to eat from coming together. In short, if instead of managing your intake, you skip meals and go hungry, it is logical that you feel that you cannot control yourself. “If you don't have snacks and you get home at eight at night, obviously you're going to have a snack or you're going to eat double the portion for dinner. But it's not your fault because you don't have self-control, but you didn't organize yourself well during the afternoon," she says.

"The issue is that you should have had an intake that avoided that pecking or that excess portion. So, with organization, with tools that allow you to have much more regulated energy during the day, you are going to have to put much less force of will and self-control”, he analyzes.

In the same sense, nutritionist Valentina Martínez points out that the most difficult habits to incorporate are: consuming fruits and vegetables daily, not skipping meals and physical activity. “These are related to the lack of time, but with different organizational strategies they can be modified”, she encourages.

"Compensation, when it occurs naturally, works, when it is compulsorily given, it doesn't," says Romano. By this he means that, in his method, based on eating healthy food 80% of the time and being able to treat ourselves the remaining 20%, a kind of compensation is contemplated.

But that does not imply "eating everything" and then going hungry as punishment, but quite the opposite: eating in an orderly manner, contemplating that there are times when we will eat whatever comes to mind, knowing that this is not bad, but rather the contrary is necessary.

In this sense, the nutritionist Martín Carrizo points out: "The theory of compensation is something common in popular belief, and in fact many patients believe that physical activity is enough to lose weight and the reality is that this is not the case. : it is almost impossible to compensate for excess caloric intake with regular physical activity, this can only happen in high performance sports”, he introduces.

And he continues: "With this we are not saying that exercising is useless, because it helps us to improve our body composition, so that our metabolism stays healthy, to maintain a low cardiovascular risk, and above all, so that our body uses a greater number of calories during rest.

Carrizo postulates that "the advancement of technology and the deliberate access to information through social networks, often from unsuitable sources", causes the patient to end up "confused and summarizing the treatment against obesity to a simple strategy of combine foods, or make schedule changes in their intakes.

“Actually, we know that in the vast majority of cases, treatment should be done through a multidisciplinary approach. Many times the performance of several professionals is necessary at the same time ”, she reflects. Romano attributes many of these errors in the conception regarding weight to a "dieting culture" in which we have been immersed for many years.

“In the experience that we see in the office, we notice that the more years of dieting they have, or the more experiences of previous diets they bring, the more entrenched are these beliefs that you cannot eat anything that is not healthy, that you cannot get out of the plan, that I'm going to eat a potato chip and it's going to make me fat and it's going to make me throw everything overboard".

“Diets do not help, because they restrict social life, they tell us what we have to eat without taking into account our habits, our tastes and, worst of all, that by restricting yourself, you lose weight, but you lose muscle, not fat and there is a certain rebound effect because it is unsustainable over time”, agrees nutritionist Martina Daireaux.

Carrizo recommends "fleeing from extremely restrictive diets: it has been proven that this type of diet, in which marked food restriction predominates, usually triggers, paradoxically, a greater number of episodes of voracity compared to less restrictive diets".

And he warns that "when there is overeating, or binge eating, this can be the worst option. You enter a permanent vicious cycle of restriction-overeating."

Romano believes that the most dangerous diets are the most prohibitive, since they generate anxiety and rebound effect. “The diets that confuse me the most, that generate the most disorders in the long term, are those that avoid food groups. It is one thing to restrict calories, but another thing is when they tell you, for example, a diet without carbohydrates, ”he points out.

“Diets that are based on eliminating a nutrient are confusing because later you end up thinking that what makes you fat is that nutrient, and you eat a lot of another. Patients come who have diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and who later eat 50 kilos of cheese but do not put a slice of bread at breakfast or as a snack, because they believe that flour makes them fat," he analyzes.

Linked to the above, Valentina Martínez affirms that, precisely, seeking to lose weight quickly is another of the obstacles that people encounter. “When losing weight quickly, with restrictive diets and without doing vigorous physical activity, in addition to fat, muscle tissue is lost, the latter is essential for good physical health and recovering it is very difficult, it takes about six months and requires a lot of perseverance in eating and exercising”, he points out.

“Big intentions don't necessarily generate big results,” says Romano. And he adds that anticipating this, in the first consultations they let their patients know that it is a process that takes time. "I think it's all about expectations, when we set out to change habits instead of going on a restrictive diet, we have to know that the priority is not that it be fast, but that it be forever."

“Lower the bar, either for weight loss or for the habits that I want to propose to change. Do not start from one day to the next to want to change everything, but go very little by little ”, she recommends.

For some time now, the body mass index has given way to composition analysis when evaluating the need to implement changes in diet. The number of the scale does not take into account physical textures, the diversity of bodies and that many people, not because they weigh more, are less healthy.

In this sense, the nutritionist Agustina Murcho recalls why May 6 was declared the "Day of the non-diet". "It is a celebration that seeks to raise awareness about the acceptance of the human body and the diversity of its forms."

Meanwhile, Martínez points out that the scale "only shows us the gross weight, it does not differentiate between fat, muscle, liquid or other components." And he adds: "For this reason, it must be combined with other indirect indicators of fat mass such as waist circumference, bioimpedance studies and / or evaluation of skin folds."

Doing only aerobic physical activity: doing it helps us to lose fat quickly, especially visceral fat, but if our physical activity is only aerobic-based, we will not develop muscle and, on the contrary, together with the caloric deficit you run the risk of losing it.

For this reason, specialists recommend combining aerobic exercise and muscular strength.

In addition to believing in restrictive diets, and even in the consumption of supplements without a prescription, Martínez mentions:

“Many ask themselves 'if I don't diet, what do I do?'”, acknowledges Murcho. "First of all, consult with a health professional who is dedicated to food education, who takes mental health and emotions into account," he suggests.

And he expands: "In most cases, we must also treat ourselves with psychologists specialized in the subject, since food and emotions go very hand in hand."

"In some cases, neurochemical dysregulation can be reversed in therapy and with a nutritionist, but when this becomes difficult, medication is needed, which is not bad and will even make us feel better. For this reason, a professional from the psychiatry," he notes.

As general recommendations, he suggests: