Do you find you are trying to lose weight but can’t get ahead? If you have any of these habits, you may be sabotaging your own weight loss efforts.
No matter what type of eating program or exercise plan you follow, there are those times when you just can’t seem to get down to your target weight. It’s easy to lose those first few pounds, but then you plateau and your weight just sits there. It is very possible that you are sabotaging your own weight loss efforts without even knowing it. Poor habits have a way of working themselves into our lives and we don’t even realise they are keeping us from achieving our goals. We have listed some of the top culprits for impeding your weight loss so you can avoid them.
Sabotage 1 - Snacking at Night
You might not think that low calorie snacking right before going to bed is hurting you, however, the body starts making melatonin during the evening hours and this hormone slows down the functions of the body (metabolism) and starts preparing it for sleep. Even your digestion process slows down. Instead of snacking eat your evening meal early on and then don’t eat until morning. If you simply have to have a bedtime snack, eat something light at least 2 hours before heading to bed.
Sabotage 2 - Skipping Meals
Skipping meals may seem like a great way to lose weight, but it actually throws your body way off. When you skip a meal, your normal hormone levels get thrown out of whack and then your body thinks you’re starving it to death.
This results in two things:
- You end up binging on just about anything you can cram into your mouth when it’s time to eat.
- Your body is reluctant to burn off excess fat as an energy source - This is a protective mechanism as the body doesn’t know where it’s next meal is coming from thus will store fat.
Eating well spaced meals and snacks throughout the day can help maintain a balanced blood sugar level, stave off hunger, help reduce portion size and ultimately aid weight loss efforts.
Sabotage 3 - Not Mixing Up Training
If all you ever do is cardio, cardio, cardio, you’re making weight loss a HARD slog. Cardio is all good, but by itself is nowhere near as effective as a well rounded cardio and strength based workout plan. By incorporating weights and high intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workout regime you can maximise the amount of fat you burn and your weight loss efforts. Lean body weight (less fat, more muscle) increases your metabolism further, which in turn staves of weight gain and helps burn fat. Variety is key with any training regime, just don’t miss out that strength training element.
Sabotage 4 - Eating a High Carb Breakfast
The only thing worse than skipping breakfast is eating a LOT of carbs for your first meal of the day. Remember you’ve been fasting for several hours and eating straight carbohydrates first off can cause your blood sugars to spike drastically, promoting an insulin response which in turn encourages fat cells to store more fat. Such a breakfast will leave you feeling hungry in just a little while when your blood sugars dip. Make sure to get a well-balanced breakfast of protein and some complex carbs as well.
Sabotage 5 - Too Little Sleep
Being healthy means the right combination of nutrition, rest, sleep and exercise. Each of these are equally important. If you find that you are eating right and workout out regularly, but too much stress keeps you from getting adequate sleep, you will not be able to get down to your goal weight. When the body suffers from lack of sleep, it releases a stress hormone, cortisol. When cortisol levels are high it can lead to insulin and blood sugar levels becoming imbalanced. This can cause havoc with fat storage in the body.
Sabotage 6 - Not Enough Fluids
When you drink water it can increase the body’s ability to burn fat. Just drinking water won’t help you lose weight, but if you are dehydrated no matter how well you eat you are not going to lose as much weight as if you were hydrated. The dehydrated body can’t burn fat. By drinking at least 2 litres of water a day you can help your body get into fat burning mode easier.
- Misunderstanding Your Calorific Intake
Just because a food is in the “healthy” section of a menu or supermarket, it doesn’t mean it’s low in calories. Whole grains, nuts and avocados are super foods when it comes to nutrients, but are also very high in calories. Try to limit these high calorie foods by cutting back your portion size. Calories are tricky business and always worth counting to help keep you in check. Make sure that you use a reputable source for the number of calories in foods.
Sabotage 8 - Too Little Protein
If you skimp on protein, the body goes into a Catabolic state and starts burning down its own muscle for fuel. This leads to a decreased muscle mass which translates into a lower metabolism and less calories burned. You need protein to build your muscles which in turn speeds up your metabolism. Make sure to eat a well balanced meal consisting of enough protein, carbohydrates and vegetables.
Author: Mary Olinger
Author Bio: Mary Olinger is a Fitness & Workout Nutrition Editor at Nutrition Souq. She is a marathoner who trains year round. She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Education. Her expertise is in the field of fitness, diet, weight loss and nutrition. She is an international educator who enjoys writing to helping people make healthier life choices.