Old habits can be difficult to break, but they may be breaking your weight loss efforts. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you’re really doing all the right things to lose those stubborn pounds, but for some mysterious reason, that needle just won’t budge, or when it does, it moves in the wrong direction.
While nobody is perfect, if you unknowingly continue to sabotage your efforts, you could not only be hurting your health, but odds are, you’ll never fit into that smaller pants or dress size. Of course, with so much contradictory advice floating around online and elsewhere, it’s no wonder so many people are confused about what they should eat to get to a healthy weight and enjoy optimal well-being, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, read on to find out which bad habits you should break to finally lose the weight this year.
1. Eating so-called ‘diet foods’
Many people understandably think that eating diet foods is the best way to lose weight, but generally, nothing is farther from the truth. That’s because most of them are filled with a host of potentially harmful ingredients that aren’t doing your body, or your weight, any favors. They typically contain all sorts of additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, sweeteners and a number of impossible-to-pronounce ingredients, all of which the body holds onto and stores as fat in its way of protecting its organs from damage, which means eating them is actually counterproductive to your goal – and, they’re not going to do much for your well-being either.
Plus, these so-called weight loss foods are not very filling or satisfying either. Most will leave you feeling hungry, and not long after, you may not be able to stop thinking about food, which leads to nibbling. And, before you know it you’re digging into the jar of peanut butter with a spoon, or turning to yet another “diet” food – either way you end up ingesting a whole lot more calories than you would have if you would have just prepared a nutritious meal.
What’s especially intriguing about this, is that research conducted in 2010 actually discovered that we burn an estimated 50% more calories when metabolizing whole foods than we do when we eat processed foods, which is what those diet items are. That may be why so many people have found that when they give up processed foods, including “diet foods,” and eat more calories from whole foods, which means foods that come directly from the Earth like fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, legumes and wild-caught fish, they actually start to lose weight.
2. Thinking about losing weight as a ‘diet’
Surprise! Dieting is not the way to lose weight. You can’t just temporarily restrict the amount of calories you eat for a period of time and then expect to go back to your old ways and enjoy a fit, trim body, which is why the vast majority of people who lose weight don’t keep it off for good. Not only are those hard-earned efforts put to waste, your metabolism slows every time you do it, making things worse the next time.
If you’re even thinking about going on a fad diet, please don’t do it. In a review of ten of the most popular weight loss programs in the United States conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine, it was discovered that only one of them was actually effective at helping people lose weight and keep that weight off. That correlates with the fact that the U.S. is the most obese nation in the world, yet Americans spend as much as $2 billion every year on weight loss programs.
The bottom line is that success comes for people who prioritize making lifestyle changes rather than going on a diet, which allows you to make more realistic and sustainable changes that can be followed throughout your life, instead of going on a short term diet that calls for dramatic changes. That ultimately leads to a frustrating, unhealthy cycle of losing weight, gaining it back and then some.
3. Not getting enough sleep
Getting a quality night’s rest isn’t something that you should consider optional, but surprisingly, many people do. And if you’re struggling with your weight, that may be one of the reasons. That’s because sleep plays a key role in weight loss and it can even help prevent weight gain in the future too. A lack of sleep has been shown in studies to disrupt the production of appetite hormones, which then leads one to feeling hungrier the next day, and it can sometimes even cause one to binge on food.
Research has found that those who are sleep-deprived are as much as 55% more likely to become obese, as compared to those who get quality rest each night.
So break that bad habit of skipping much-needed hours of sleep, aim to get 7 to 8 hours each night, and you might find that your struggle to lose weight is finally over. Here are 9 things you are doing that might be ruining your chance of a good nights sleep.
4. Drinking diet soda
Just like those diet foods, most people think that drinking diet soda goes hand-in-hand with losing weight, but it’s actually one of the worst things you can do for your health and your waistline. But those fizzy drinks help you feel fuller, and they don’t even contain any calories, so how can that possibly be?
Well, it’s true diet sodas may not contain calories, but they do contain artificial sweeteners, and those have been found to trick the body into believing that calories are on the way. When that doesn’t happen, the metabolism slows and throws off the body’s ability to regulate appetite. Some studies have even discovered that eating or drinking products that have been artificially sweetened often results in gaining more weight as compared to consuming those that are sweetened with regular sugar.
Plus, in addition to weight gain, drinking diet soda and other artificially sweetened beverages has been associated with heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, as reported in an analysis of studies conducted by Indiana’s Purdue University.
If you want to drink something that will help you feel fuller without taking in calories, try sipping plain sparkling water, or flavored sparkling water – here are 10 homemade soda pop recipes which are actually healthy! You could even add a squeeze of lemon to water or drink herbal tea, which is naturally caffeine-free and you can make a variety of flavors to help quench your thirst, quell boredom and in many cases, offer health benefits too. Not to mention flavored water can actually be made fun, here are 6 incredibly easy but flavorsome recipes you must try!
5. Skipping breakfast
You have to have heard by now that skipping breakfast is never a good idea, but if you’ve been ignoring that advice, because after all, skipping an entire meal is a simple way to cut calories, so how bad can it really be? But facts are facts. Those who eat breakfast regularly tend to weigh less and are more successful at keeping that weight off than those who don’t. That’s because consuming a breakfast made up of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, will help you feel fuller longer and have more energy too, so you’ll be more likely to burn those calories off by exercising. Here are 28 Innovative High Protein Breakfast Recipes To Keep You Full All Day.
Breakfast skippers also tend to consume more sweets, more soft drinks, and fewer vegetables and fruits, than those who regularly eat a morning meal. If you’re short on time, there are lots of easy, nutritious options. Scramble up a couple of free range eggs with spinach in a tablespoon of coconut oil and enjoy it with a side of fresh fruit, or simply toss a variety of fruits and veggies into your blender with some hemp milk to create a weight loss promoting, nutritious smoothie. Why not try making green smoothies which are are powerhouse of nutritional health benefits, read abut them here.
6. Drinking alcohol
Drinking alcohol tends to have a domino effect. After even just one drink, inhibitions are often lowered, while appetite increases. That combination in addition to the actual calories in the beverage you’re consuming is not exactly conducive to weight loss as it results in consuming hundreds of extra calories. If you drink, it probably happens more often than you realize as most people underestimate just how much they drink until they start actually tracking it by recording it in a journal or on an app.
Fortunately, if you consciously cut back, or eliminate alcohol altogether, chances are, you’ll drop those pounds like a hot potato. If you think that habit may be what’s been behind your inability to lose weight, try giving up alcohol for 30 days, or limiting it in a specific way, such as allowing yourself just one glass of wine on one night each week.
7. Overeating healthy foods
When you get excited about following a healthier diet, it’s easy to overdo it – and, even when those foods are nutritious, if you eat too many, you’re still taking in too many calories to be able to lose weight, especially if you aren’t compensating by working out frequently. Remember, while whole foods are rich in nutrients and can even boost the metabolism, you can overdo it. To prevent that, pay more attention to your body’s signals – are you really hungry, or just thirsty? Are you full but continuing to eat anyway? Serving sizes are typically much smaller than you might think – while nuts are a healthy snack, they come with a lot of calories, so it’s important to stick to a small handful, or about the size of a golf ball.
8. Going to the grocery store hungry
Going to a grocery store and being faced with aisle after aisle of tempting foods when you’re hungry is never a good idea as most of the time you’ll end up with the first thing that looks good. Fortunately, this habit is one of the easiest to break. All you need to do is eating something healthy before you go so that you won’t be tempted to indulge in a less than nutritious, calorie-laden snack. It’s also a good idea to shop with a list – and stick to it.
9. Banning healthy fats
Thanks to some bad, dated dieting advice, countless people are still under the impression that eating fats automatically leads to added pounds, but that’s just not true. Still, despite the best attempts by nutrition experts to dispel that notion, most Americans are fat phobic, but it’s not doing them any good – hence, the previous reference to the country being one of the most obese in the world.
While it may sound counterproductive, eating more healthy fats can actually help you lose weight by preventing cravings, helping you stay fuller longer, and keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. In fact, keeping nuts like almonds or walnuts readily available can keep you from reaching for a less healthy snack. Research has found that people who eat nuts weigh less and eat less overall.
You also might want to exchange some of the less healthy fats you’ve been eating, like vegetable oils, for coconut oil, which is not only loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it contains healthy fats known as medium-chain fatty acids, or MCFAs, which are unique fats that include caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid. These fats truly stand out when it comes to your health, as they’re metabolized differently than other fats, and have been shown in scientific studies to raise the metabolism slightly, while helping one consume fewer calories overall.
10. Not eating enough
It sounds crazy. If you take in fewer calories, that should mean losing more weight, not less. But it’s not that simple. While you might initially experience quick results, it doesn’t take long before you hit a brick wall – and, experience a number of unwanted side effects too. That’s because when you go on a very low-calorie diet, meaning one that’s 1,000 calories or less each day, it not only slows your metabolism to a crawl, it can cause serious fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, difficulty thinking clearly and possibly even gallstones.
When you don’t get enough calories, your resting metabolic rate can slow down dramatically, which causes the body to burn calories significantly slower than before as well. It requires fuel to run properly – and while it may be able to do that without a lot of calories for a short time, eventually it begins to conserve energy so that you can survive.