Diet: Doing Stretching. The Wrong Mix Of Brain Chemicals. Even Listening To Pop: Forty Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working

By Peta Bee[1]

PUBLISHED: 16:45 EST, 2 July 2012 | UPDATED: 05:13 EST, 3 July 2012


The British Nutrition Foundation has identified more than 100 different factors that influence our weight

Why is it that your diet and exercise regimens never seem to work?

Possibly youre unwittingly undoing your best efforts.

Last week, the British Nutrition Foundation identified more than 100 different factors that influence our weight.

However, many of the tips they offered such as eating smaller portions and not relying on ready-made foods that are high in calories and fat are fairly obvious.

Here, we list the other, more surprising  habits that are sabotaging your weight- loss regimen…

Look again at your shopping trolley

1 Eating cereal for breakfast. A U.S. study found breakfast cereal sweetened with sugar left overweight participants hungry before lunchtime, and they consumed more calories a day than those given an egg for breakfast (the protein kept them full). Egg eaters also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

2 Having milk in your tea. Last year, Indian scientists found tea contains high levels of compounds, theaflavins and thearubigins, that help to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut, and can cut cholesterol. However, proteins found in cows milk neutralise this ability. Drink your tea black.

3 Eating white bread. Too many refined carbs, especially white bread and white rice, can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff, found researchers at Tufts University in Boston.

Two groups ate roughly the same number of calories each day, but those who ate mostly refined carbs added a half inch on their waist per year compared with those eating unrefined whole foods such as vegetables and  wholegrain bread.

4 Not reading food labels. A study in the Journal of Consumer Affairs showed that people who habitually read food labels as well as taking exercise lose more weight than those who merely exercise. Whats more, those who only read food labels and are sedentary lose more than those who exercise but ignore the food labels.


5 Drinking too much fruit juice. Fruit juices and other sugary drinks have a stronger impact on weight than calories from solid food, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Cutting out just one sugary drink a day resulted in a weight loss of more than 1lb after six months.

6 Underseasoning your food. Adding a bit of ground cayenne pepper to your meal can help burn calories faster. Whats more, the pepper seems to curb hunger especially  for fatty, salty and sweet foods, found nutritionists at Purdue University in Indiana.

7 Avoiding yoghurt. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found obese adults who ate three servings of fat-free yoghurt a day as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 22per cent more weight and 61per cent more body fat than those who simply cut calories.

Yoghurt eaters also lost 81per cent more fat in the stomach area. Its thought the calcium and protein in dairy products may help burn fat.

How friends ruin your plans

8 Overweight friends. If your friends gain weight, the chances are you will, too, according to a study from Harvard University.

We find that having four obese friends doubled peoples chance of becoming obese, compared with people with no obese friends, says Alison Hill, the studys lead author.

Why? A recent Dutch study found that we tend to mimic each others behaviour when we eat out, taking a bite at the same time.

9 Reading recipe books and magazines. Professor Kathleen Page, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, discovered looking at pictures of high-fat foods stimulates the brains appetite control centre, leading to an elevated desire for sweet and savoury food.

10 Not chewing enough. The longer food remains in the mouth, the more chance the tongue has to send messages to the brain to release the necessary digestive juices. Chewing and digesting solid food fills you up, says dietitian Helen Bond.

11 Eating at work. Research shows we typically eat 30per cent more calories in company than when alone and that women at work are more likely to be influenced by the diet patterns of colleagues than men. In one study, female secretaries ate 5.6 times more chocolates if these were on a nearby desk of a colleague than if they had to walk two metres to get them.

If you listen to pop as you chew, make sure the music is slow

If you listen to pop as you chew, make sure the music is slow

12 Eating off the wrong-coloured plate. A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found when food is on a plate that matches its colour, it tends to blend into the plate, leading people to eat more. When the same amount of food is served on a plate that contrasts the meal, such as red spaghetti on a green plate, the portion appears larger and is more psychologically satisfying.

13 Not getting enough sleep. A study published in the journal Sleep last month suggested too little encourages the genes that cause weight gain. Longer (nine hours) suppresses the action of these obesity genes.

14 Dieting by yourself. A study in the journal Obesity earlier this year found that team-mates in a weight-loss competition significantly influenced each others weight loss. We know that obesity can be socially contagious, but now we know that social networks play a significant role in weight loss as well, said lead author Tricia Leahey, of the Miriam Hospital in the U.S.

A study in the Lancet journal earlier this year found that people  who joined a diet class such as  Weight Watchers lost more than  twice as much weight as those who received weight-loss advice from a doctor or nurse.

15 Saying I cant when youre offered food. Research suggests if you say this when asked if youd like a slice of cake, youre less likely to stick to your diet than if you say, I dont…

Dr Vanessa Patrick, of the University of Buffalo, who led the study, says: Saying I cant to temptation inherently signals deprivation and loss. Using the I dont strategy shows a sense of determination and empowerment.

16 Avoiding the mirror. Eating near a mirror can have a powerful effect on how many calories you consume. One U.S. study showed tat eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third, says exercise psychologist Dearbhla McCullough, of Roehampton University. The theory is, having to look yourself in the eye as you eat reminds you of why youre trying to lose weight.

17 Being a loner. The more social interaction you have, the more weight you could lose. At least that was what researchers at Ohio State University found when they studied laboratory mice.

Mice forced to socialise led to vast increases in the amount of calorie-burning brown fat compared with ordinary white fat. The researchers put this down to the fact that the mice were more inclined to be active in the groups than alone.

18 Eating dinner off your lap in front of the TV. A study at the University of Birmingham in Alabama found people who were distracted while eating a meal consumed more high-fat snack food afterwards and didnt even remember what they  had eaten.

19 Being stressed. Stress encourages the body to lay on weight around your middle. This is because it triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol. Over time, raised cortisol levels cause belly fat to accumulate and also makes individual fat cells enlarge.

20 Buying too great a variety of foods. Fewer food choices and instilling culinary boredom could be the key to successful weight loss. Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when women were offered the same food over and over again, they tended to eat less overall.

21 Youre recently separationd or just married. Separation and getting married are kinds of marital transition that act as weight shocks, causing us to pile on the pounds, a study of 10,071 people found.

Professor Dmitry Tumin, from Ohio University, found the likelihood of major weight gain after marriage or separation increased most for people past the age of 30, partly down to comfort eating through stress and anxiety.

22 Playing music while eating. Researchers at Georgia State University showed this could cause you to eat more. If you listen to pop as you chew, make sure the music is slow: a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology showed that listening to faster music led people to eat more quickly, while the opposite was true for slower music.

Workouts that dont work

Doesn't work: Doing only stretching. It burns just 144 calories in 50 minutes

Doesn’t work: Doing only stretching. It burns just 144 calories in 50 minutes

23 Doing only stretching. It burns just 144 calories in 50 minutes, which is no better than a slow walk. Even a power stretching class burns only 237 calories (half the amount of a circuit class), boosting heart rate to just 62 per cent of its maximum.

It provides only a mild workout for the heart and lungs (a good workout would be 70-90 per cent), says John Brewer, professor of sport at the University of Bedfordshire.

24 Exercising alone. You are more likely to give up or not work out as hard. Group exercise unleashes a flood of feel-good chemicals in the brain that could help you stick with physical activity rather than throw in the towel, found a recent study by Oxford Universitys Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology.

The researchers also measured pain thresholds and found the group exercisers tolerated hard work much better than those going it alone.

Making a commitment to meet others also means you are more likely to stick with workouts, adds Dearbhla McCullough.

25 Lifting heavy weights. Lifting light weights (of 3-5lb) for more repetitions is just as effective at building muscle as lifting heavy weights, say researchers at McMaster University in Canada.

But while light weights will help you shed fat, lifting heavy weights can cause you to bulk up.

26 Exercising for hours at a steady pace. Short sharp bursts are just as effective and less time-consuming, and youre more likely to stick at it. Canadian researchers compared the effects of cycling at a moderate pace for 90-120 minutes with a workout of 20-30 seconds of gut-busting pedalling followed by four minutes rest and repeated four to six times.

After two weeks, both groups had almost identical improvements in fitness despite the fact some had only worked out for six to nine minutes a week, but others had put in five hours.

27 Giving in to hunger after exercise. When women exercised hard they ate almost enough calories afterwards to make up for the ones theyd burned, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

28 Doing the wrong type of exercise. Some people, regardless of weight, are programmed not to respond at all to aerobic exercise, says a study led by Jamie Timmons, professor of ageing biology at the University of Birmingham.

It makes no difference to their fitness or insulin sensitivity, the efficiency with which their bodies dealt with blood sugar and a risk factor for diabetes. Timmons says endless hours spent jogging, swimming or going to the gym could be a waste of time for up to one-fifth of the population.

Instead, they should do high intensity, shorter duration exercise such as circuits or weight training.

29. Exercising inside. Most studies show that, compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments is associated with greater boosts to mood, decreased anxiety and an increased likelihood of sticking with the workouts.

30 Doing the wrong exercise for your age. From around our 30s, we lose on average one-fifth of a pound of muscle a year, thanks to a process known as sarcopenia.

Resistance training in particular such as lifting weights or kettlebells becomes as, if not more, important than aerobic workouts as you get older to offset these losses, says Louise Sutton, head of the Carnegie Centre for Sports Performance at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Why do you need the muscle? Its vital for burning off fat.

To get fit, you need to mix exercise such as cycling and running, with weight training or resistance work

To get fit, you need to mix exercise such as cycling and running, with weight training or resistance work

31 Doing only aerobic or weight training. To get fit, you need to mix exercise such as cycling and running, with weight training or resistance work, including some forms of Pilates, according to a recent study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

32 Exercising without music. Music is a key motivator, suggest various studies from Brunel University in Middlerelations. This is because it both distracts attention from pain as well as simultaneously prompting us to work harder for longer.

Music is like a legal drug for sporty types, says Dr Costas Karageorgis, who led the study. It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 per cent. Its all your  bodys fault

33 You dont have enough brown fat thin people are known to have higher amounts of beneficial brown fat than the overweight. Brown fats great appeal is that it burns calories faster, like a furnace.

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that a form of brown fat is turned on when people get cold.

34. Youre too sensitive to smell. Overweight people gain pounds because they are more sensitive to the smell of food than thinner people, according to a study published in the journal Chemical Senses.

35 Your genes make you hungry. Many genes have been linked to obesity, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene, which has been shown to play a role in putting on weight.

Earlier this year, researchers revealed a mutation in this gene seems to disrupt the brains response to appetite hormones which leads the bodys message to stop eating being blocked.

36 Youre a woman. Using brain scans, U.S. researchers have found overweight men could suppress cravings or what they called the conscious desire to eat more successfully than women.  Its thought hormone differences were involved.

37 Your brain chemicals are out of kilter. The hormone leptin helps control appetite but U.S. researchers found overweight and obese people dont lack leptin, but their brain isnt very sensitive to it.

38 Its your age. Basal metabolic rate, which accounts for about 50 to 70 per cent of your total energy expenditure, is thought to decrease about one to two per cent per decade, says Louise Sutton. After 20, daily energy expenditure decreases about 150 calories per decade. The upshot is that you need to eat less as you get older, says Sutton.

39 Youre hard-wired to yo-yo.  Scientists now think that soon after fat people lost weight, their metabolism slows and they experience hormonal changes that increase their appetites again.

Last year, a team of Australian researchers reported these effects can be long term. People who have lost weight need to remain vigilant and understand that once they have lost weight the battle is not over, says Joseph Proietto, the professor of medicine who led the study.

40 Your parents made you fat: whether you are fat or thin could be an inherited factor. A 2009 UK study showed only four per cent of girls with normal-weight mothers were obese, compared with 41 per cent with fat mothers.

Research in the International Journal of Obesity suggests a very strong link between mother and daughter and father and son obesity, but no link across the gender divide.

VIDEO: The British Nutrition Foundation suggest you follow a healthy, balanced diet in accordance with the Eatwell plate guidelines’



  1. ^ Peta Bee (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Original Story Here


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    • *
    • July 3, 2012

    Help With Teen Fat Loss Tips? I am 16, about 5 foot 6 and weigh about 128 pounds. I know I am a healthy weight, but I wish to get rid of the fat around my stomach.

    I have been running twice daily, totally 30 mins a day, and I have been eating healthier.

    Any tips on how to lose the fat around my stomach? Personal weight loss stories welcome.

      • HealthNut
      • July 3, 2012

      I’m 15 and last summer I tried to lose weight. Well I did but I gained it back because after school when I get home I eat chips. XD So anyway. What I did was, I avoided bread and rice and other foods like that ’cause I hear they can cause fat even if they’re healthy. And then try doing other kinds of exercise. I did 40 mins. of exercise 4x a week including using the jump rope, using my aunt’s elliptical trainer, dancing, doing sit ups & stuff. So like in 40 minutes I get to do a whole lot of different kinds of exercise. And drink lots of water. Like if you’re hungry, but it isn’t exactly time for breakfast lunch or dinner yet, just drink a whole lot of water. Your belly might get big from drinking that much, but once you pee, it all comes out. You don’t gain fat from water, I think.

      So that was what I did. I didn’t really measure my weight tho, because what I was aiming for was a smaller waistline, and I was able to do so. I think I lost like 4-5 inches in like a month & a half. I was happy with that. Too bad I have to do it all over again because I gained it back when school started again. XD Also keep a tally of your weight for every two weeks. And you can see if it works or not.

      Good luck! 🙂 Hope I helped.

  1. Reply

    Fat Loss Tips,anyone? How Long? Ok i am NOT fat im fairly slim, i just want to lose fat around my hips(love handles) and inner thighs. I am 13 and i know kids lose fat faster than adults. I know you have to lose the excess fat before you tone up so does anyone have any tips like foods to eat, exercise stuff…..also approximately how long will it take,cuz iam not really fat…? thanx

      • HealthNut
      • July 3, 2012

      There are three real ways to take off unwanted weight: diet, exercise, and supplements. These three things can be done individually, or with each other for even better results.

      Modifying your diet consists of replacing your unhealthy meals with healthier, but just as delicious foods. Depending on your activity level and intended fitness goal, you’ll need a certain amount of protein and carbohydrates, but the main thing you want to eliminate is unwanted fats. Try to eat fresh vegetables, fish, meats, chicken, any other things that are healthier then burgers and fries.

      For exercise, this is really going to depend on your fitness goal. If you’re just trying to lose fat, a regular daily cardiovascular workout will be the best. This could be running, riding a bike, sports such as basketball, or many other activities. If you’re trying to gain muscle, you’ll want to spend 3-4 days a week working on specific muscle sets via weights.

      Supplements are also an important and effective way to get in shape. I’m not talking about things like steroids, but instead *natural*, healthy supplements. There are many different types out there, and they can be great if you don’t have the willpower to extremely modify your diet or spend a lot of time working out.

      The article below goes into more detail about all three of these methods. Good luck!

  2. Reply

    I Need Fat Loss Tips? Can you share fat loss tips or show me any site with useful and detailed fat loss(not weight loss) tips

  3. Reply

    Are There Any Fat Loss Tips Most People Don’t Know About? What are they?
    Yeah,yeah I know I might steal your answer, but I already know to exercise, drink water, take diet pills blah blah blah. Just save you’re time and DON’T tell me those things

    Please star this question if you like it.

    thanks in advance!!

      • HealthNut
      • July 3, 2012

      Yeah, eat fat. Sounds ridiculous, but fat in our food is a key component to helping us feel satisfied without overeating. When we take fat out, we end up adding in other ingredients that will either stimulate our appetite, or won’t satiate us enough to stop eating. And the ingredients processed items use to replace fats can cause more damage than good. The key is just to avoid trans fats. You can now even get butter and mayonnaise made with olive oil, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I use them all of the time now. Also, don’t restrict your calories too much if you are exercising regularly. Your body will go into starvation mode and you will either not lose weight, or you will gain weight when you do eat because your body is trying to store food away. Most diets end up failing because they are too restrictive. You just need to be realistic about what you eat. I use thedailyplate.com to track all of my meals and it has helped me get a better grasp on what things that I am eating may be a bigger problem than I had thought. Good Luck

  4. Does Anyone Know The Top Secret Fat Loss Secret Who Would Be Willing To Share It With An Overweight Teenager? I am a 15 year old, overweight girl. I hate it when people make fun of me because of my weight – it is so embarassing! I would like to know the top secret fat loss secret from someone who is willing to share it with me. I can’t afford to buy the book, or else I would. I’m desperate. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Any fat loss tips, too.


      • HealthNut
      • July 3, 2012

      Go wheat free. No pasta, pizza, bread and so on. And no food after 7 p.m.
      I know a woman who lost 60 pounds a month on it. She did nothing else!
      and as for your book – go to a bookstore and browse it. Or go to amazon.com, find it and then click “search inside this book” – you will be able to read an extract.

  5. Reply

    Weight Loss Tips Or Strategies To Lose Belly Fat? I need to lose my belly fat! Is there any one who loss there belly &has tips for me?please help!
    Also I need it to be FREE!

      • HealthNut
      • July 3, 2012

      Hi Daniella,

      Trying to reduce unwanted weight and belly fat has not really been easy with some people due to their body composition, but with determination and following the weight loss and belly program, you will be able to achieve your desired result. Bear in mind that its a gradual process. You cannot achieve it just immediately but doing what you are supposed to do will lead to positive result.

      All you need to do is to discipline yourself. Its very important. Eat balanced diet but eat when you are hungry. Try and eat fruits, vegetables and drink more water. Also, try to reduce fatty food going into your system, reduce sugar intake, soda, chocolate, ice cream, etc.

      Do regular exercise either in the house or outside. Fit in your exercise time into your daily schedule. If it means waking up early, do so that you can exercise your body. You can stomach exercise continuously and your belly fat will come down.

      Good luck

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