What could be more frustrating than not seeing the scale drop despite days or weeks of doing everything right?
After all that hard work—all the cookies you didn’t eat, all the willpower you maintained, all the time you logged at the gym—how could you not have lost any weight? It’s enough to make even the most determined person throw in the towel.
Before you swear off exercise and declare yourself as someone who “will never lose weight,” stop, take a deep breath, and remember this: Weight-loss may seem simple (eat fewer calories than you burn), but often, there’s a lot more going on than a simple calorie equation. Our bodies aren’t calculators after all!
What’s more likely is that you’ve made some innocent mistakes in your quest to lose weight. Don’t feel bad about it—it’s extremely common. These bad habits may be preventing you from getting the results you want. The following is a list of the top 8 bad habits that prevent weight loss and what can be done to change them.
- Skipping breakfast. “That’s a big mistake, because you’ve fasted overnight. Your body needs fuel, and your metabolism needs to be jump-started with food.” Best breakfast choices: whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit.
- Portion distortion. We tend to eat everything served to us — whether at home or on the go. “Portions are huge these days, learn what normal portions are, and stick to them.”
- Confusing “fat-free” with “calorie-free.” Those “healthy” cookies and other snacks aren’t really pure. Calories are calories, read the label. Polishing off 10 fat-free cookies won’t help your waistline.
- Eating amnesia. Very often, this condition is TV-induced. Your hand is stuck in the bag, and you don’t realize what or how much you’re eating. That big bag of chips can disappear pretty fast.”
- Too few zzzz’s.Sleep loss makes you feel hungry even if you are full, because sleep loss affects the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite, studies show. Also, sleep loss increases fat storage in your body.
- After-dinner treats. “It tends to be mindless eating and usually involves something sweet,” says saysWeight Loss Clinic Dietitian Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. “Start a new habit — have a warm cup of tea, sparkling water, something non-caloric. Most importantly, quit eating anything after dinner.”
- Starvation-mode shopping. Face it, grocery stores and extreme hunger just don’t mix. You end up buying the first quick-fix item you see. Slow down. Eat a little something — something healthy — before grocery shopping. Suggestion: Get a sandwich on your way to the grocery store — grilled chicken breast, that is. “Then you won’t be so hungry, so tempted,” says Zelman. Also, shop with a grocery list and stick to it.
- Drinking without thinking. Beer, alcohol, wine, soft drinks — they all go down easy. But the calories can really add up. “Save your liquid calories for when you really want them,” says Zelman.
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