Eating Habits That Are Derailing Your Weight-Loss Efforts
The occasional dietary splurge isn’t what really thwarts most women’s weight-loss efforts. It’s the so-called “healthy” weight-loss strategies we use, convinced they’ll help us cut calories, slim down, and get healthier—only to see our scales stay put. (Or worse, go up.) Frustrating? Yes. Just keep an eye out for these habits—and then nix them accordingly.
Using Zero-Calorie Sweeteners
It’s a super-easy way to cut calories in the short-term, but it’s not a smart strategy in the long-term. Non-caloric sweeteners don’t fool your brain. The sweet taste sends a message to your brain to expect calories. When calories don’t arrive, your brain will drive you to eat to make up the difference. That doesn’t mean you should stick with refined white sugar. Instead, try raw sugar or honey (in moderation, of course) to sweeten your dishes.
Skipping breakfast is the easiest way to set yourself up for a binge later in the day. Make sure to get some protein in that first meal, too, to get your metabolism going for the day.
Sorry, juicing fanatics. Any type of juice, no matter the labeling, undergoes a process by which the healthy part of the fruit or vegetable—fiber—is removed, and the only thing that remains is sugar. I’d much rather you eat your calories as opposed to drinking them since there’s no satiety benefit of drinking calorie-containing beverages. In other words, you won’t feel nearly as full as if you’d eaten the same amount of fruits and veggies as are in your juice.
Not Reading Labels
Dried fruits, granola, foods with added flax—it doesn’t matter what nutrition-related buzzword is on the packaging, it still may be loaded with calories from fat and added sugars—not to mention a high sodium content. Case in point: Foods sporting the yellow Whole Grain Stamp are typically higher in sugar and calories than whole foods without it, according to a recent Harvard School of Public Health study. So even if it looks healthy, read the nutrition label before you buy something—and always check out the recommended serving sizes.
Forgoing the Post-Workout Snack
We know you want to burn more calories than you’re taking in. But to do that, you have to restock your energy reserves after a workout. Recover with carbs and protein after exercise. These nutrients and calories go straight back to the hard-working muscle, preparing you for the next day’s effort. Recovery nutrition will also keep your metabolism higher, burning more calories for the rest of the day. Plus, it’ll also help keep your appetite under control.
Thinking ‘Salad’ Automatically Means ‘Healthy’
This is especially true when it comes to restaurant menus. Added calories in salads come from dressing, nuts, croutons, tortilla strips, dried fruit, cheese, and high-fat meat. No, these ingredients aren’t evil. But if you have too many of them in the same salad, you may be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts. Sometimes, it’s better to just go with the sandwich or the burger if that’s what you’re really craving. The sneaky, deceptive calories in salads can add up quickly.
Thinking Less is More
In terms of calories, that is. Under fuelling slows your metabolism, and you lose less—not more. When trying to lose weight, you should aim to take in about 300 fewer calories than you burn a day. This will keep your metabolic rate high, helping you to burn more calories and lose more fat.