Losing weight is hard, but you may be making it even harder. Here are five of the worst habits that may be preventing you from losing weight:
1. Eating an unhealthy breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, don’t skip it, but don’t screw it up by eating the garbage we ate as children. Cereal, and especially a cereal that contains more artificial ingredients and sugar than nutrients is not a good choice. You should skip almost every pre-packaged, refined flour and sugar coated cereal on the shelves. If it has to be “fortified” to add vitamins and minerals back into it, it’s not a good choice. If you need cereal, choose steel cut oats with berries or wheat germ.
Many of the foods we enjoy at breakfast are poor choices, coffee and donuts, sausage or bacon, bagels and cream cheese… Each healthy meal should include a balance of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and omega-3 fatty acids, this includes breakfast. Try 1-2 scrambled eggs with peppers, lean turkey bacon, and a slice of dry whole wheat toast and fruit. A healthy breakfast will start your day with the energy you need as it also fires up your metabolism for the day ahead without the wild sugar rush and crash.
2. Skipping meals
You may think that you are promoting weight loss by skipping meals, but you are more likely sabotaging your progress. Skipping meals triggers hormones that control fat storage, and signals your body of an impending fast or lack of available food supply. Your body will then begin to convert and store any available nutrients as body fat in order to survive what it believes to be famine. As you restrict calories and skip meals in your effort to lose weight, your body is fighting against you to retain that stored energy. To avoid this struggle, feed your body smaller more frequent meals and healthy snacks every 3-4 hours.
Turn off the television, the laptop, tablet or cell phone, when you eat, focus on eating. If you eat mindlessly, you will overeat. Eat healthy tasty foods and eat them slowly. Don’t eat standing up or over the kitchen sink or counter, doing so promotes a feeling of being rushed as though you need to eat as much and as quickly as possible. Sit, relax and enjoy a healthy sized (smaller) serving of foods you enjoy.
We tend to eat too much at one sitting, portion sizes are too large or serving size is unclear which leads to overeating and eventually obesity. Use portion control along with smaller plates and bowls to reduce your calorie intake at each meal. Drink from smaller juice sized glasses, use chopsticks and avoid “family style” serving, fill your plate with healthy servings of each food then put those serving dishes away, no more “seconds” or “thirds”.
5. Not drinking water
An 8-ounce glass of water should be a part of every meal and snack. It helps you feel full sooner, aids digestion and hydrates your body. You’ll also suffer fewer headaches or bouts of constipation caused by dehydration. Replace all of the sodas and liquid sugars that you drink throughout the day. Cut back from the 300-500 calorie frappuccino to a 5 calorie black coffee and chase it down with water.