The last 4 weeks we have been talking about what to eat and not eat to lose weight. This week my focus is on everyday habits that can sabotage our efforts to lose weight and meet our goals. Checkout this list for possible habits that are stalling your weight loss goals.
1. Night time binge
This is probably the most common habit that gets people into trouble, especially if it is accompanied by watching TV at the same time. I personally have experienced this habit quite a bit and can tell you that most of the time when I was bingeing I was not actually hungry, I was just in the habit of munching whilst watching TV. Next time you get the urge to binge at night stop and ask yourself ‘am I actually hungry’? If you genuinely are then have a very small snack such as a handful of nuts and STOP! If you are not, then leave the kitchen right away. Remember the body is preparing to rest and detoxify at night not digest so this is not the time to add in calories that will not get burned.
2. Additional sweeteners
If you are still adding a sweetener to your tea, coffee, cereal, oatmeal etc. then you need to work on eliminating them as sweeteners will cause weight gain. When I say sweeteners, I am referring to all from refined sugar to honey to stevia, natural or not at the end of the day they are a form of sugar which can cause weight gain. I suggest gradually cutting back e.g. if you currently take 1tsp sugar cut back to ½ and then zero within a 2-3-week period. If you need something for your homemade oatmeal you can add 1-2 chopped dates as they have many nutrients and will burn off during the day but avoid adding sweeteners to breakfast that may already be sweetened, e.g. many cereals.
3. Skipping Meals
There is this misconception that if you skip a meal you have just saved hundreds of calories and so you will lose weight. This is not true, firstly calories mean nothing and secondly when you skip meals blood sugar levels drop which then causes us to grab anything in sight to eat (which is usually junk or high starch foods) and almost always results in over eating. It is important to fuel the body whilst trying to lose weight, it is the choice of food that will impact your weight loss plans, so eat all your healthy meals and if you don’t feel like eating have a smoothie or a small soup or salad but don’t starve yourself.
4. Food as a stress reliever
I think we are all guilty of this one! I know I have done it a tonne of times and I am sure so have you. Grabbing comfort foods when we are upset, angry, sad, stressed is very common but it leaves us feeling guilty the next day and mad at ourselves for caving in. If you tend to do this keep healthy snacks in your pantry and don’t keep any comfort foods in the house, or at least away from your reach. Healthy snacks could include: kale chips, coconut chips, ready to eat carrot sticks or even a small piece of dark chocolate and yes, I won’t lie you will need a little willpower here!
5. Ditch low calorie foods
I have said this many times, low calorie foods are low in fat and high in sugar and we put on weight from eating sugar not from eating good fats so ditch the low-calorie low-fat foods and go for the full fat versions. I mean it, good quality fats have a high natural fat content, so they can only be consumed in small amounts as you will feel full very soon. This will result in considerably less food consumption. It will also result in feeling full longer and balance blood sugar which can otherwise be the reason for cravings and overeating! So, enjoy the nuts, coconut oil, butter, ghee, full fat dairy (if you eat dairy) and more.
6. Lack of sleep
During my corporate Lunch & Learns when I talk about the importance of sleep I get many people especially women who have kids and busy lives responding with ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’! My response is always that ‘YOU have to make this a priority’! The body repairs, rejuvenates, strengthens, detoxifies and heals whilst we sleep so if we don’t sleep enough we can end up with a slew of problems. As for sleep’s impact on weight, lack of sleep will disrupt the appetite hormones, leptin and ghrelin and will almost always cause us to feel hungrier during the day. I have personally tested this and days when I don’t sleep enough I am hungrier the next day. I urge you to start by adding 30 minutes more to your sleep and see how that feels.
Whilst these tips are focused on weight loss benefits, these all apply to living a healthy lifestyle and can also help prevent health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blood pressure and more so do take control of your health!