10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
By Jaylin Allen
There are obvious things that can derail your diet and exercise plan. Over-eating, consuming too many calories via foods loaded with sugar, fat and carbohydrates, or skipping breakfast are certainly behaviors we know can contribute to struggles in your weight loss and fitness plan. But, there are hidden, unlikely culprits that can stagnate your healthy lifestyle.
1. “Health Foods”
Now, this sounds like an oxymoron. Since when have healthy foods caused problems in a diet? Well, since every major chain restaurant has adopted a “healthy foods menu” it has confused the average person trying to change his or her eating habits for the better. It’s easy to think that choosing a salad over a steak is the better option. However, when that salad is loaded with cheese, croutons, bacon, and heavy dressing, it can rival any high calorie food on the menu.
Instead: When choosing a salad option, choose to hold the dressing on the side and be sure that you don’t request all the trimmings that can easily take your low calorie food into high calorie, high fat territory.
2. Skipping Meals
Many people think that eating less over time is the way to lose weight. That’s only partially true. If you skip too many meals, over time your body begins to hold on to every calorie you consume. In short, your body begins to hoard and store the calories you put in because it is convinced that you may be going into starvation mode otherwise.
Instead: Eat more small meals throughout the day. Instead of one or two large meals, eat five or six small meals that consist mainly of fruits, veggies, and protein.
3. Being Cold
Admittedly, if you’re anemic you can’t help being a bit chilly most of the time. But, when you are chronically cold, you run the risk of wanting foods that are warm, soothing and hearty to help warm you. However, most of those hearty foods are also high in calories.
Instead: This is an easy fix. First, find the real reason for your constant cold condition. If you’re anemic, see if you need to supplement your iron intake. If that’s not the case, then layer up. Carry a sweater and make sure you dress for the weather. If you live in a colder climate, add a workout to your normal routine and eat more calories in the form of a high protein snack.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
When you don’t establish a regular sleeping pattern, your body is sent into a hormone wreck. Your leptin levels, which reduce appetite, are lowered and your ghrelin levels, which increase appetite, are raised. The result? Your lack of sleep contributes to overeating and indulging, when all you really need is more sleep.
Instead: Go to bed 30 to 45 minutes before you normally would and continue building more sleep into your nightly routine.
5. Eating Too Fast
Eating too fast is a major culprit in over-eating. Once you begin eating, you need at least 15 to 20 minutes to begin to process food and feel somewhat full. Scarfing down a meal in under six minutes may have been a great thing for frat guys to brag about in college, but it has no place in the food habits of the healthy.
Instead: Take time to savor your food and slow down. Be sure to enjoy a meal away from the computer or television to ensure you reasonably pace yourself.
And speaking of television and computers…
6. Munching In Front Of A Screen
Regardless if it’s a computer or television screen, when you are distracted by what’s being shown it’s easy to lose track of how much you are eating.
Instead: Sit at the dinner table and allot a decent amount of time (usually 30 minutes will do) for your meal.
7. Using Large Plates
Using large plates are a recipe for disaster on your diet. The problem with large plates is that most people feel the urge to fill those plates with food. Larger plates means larger portions and larger portions mean more calories and more chances to over-eat.
Instead: Use a medium to small size plate for all your meals. You’ll consume less calories and your eyes won’t notice the difference.
8. Scale Back
When you weigh yourself daily or worse, several times a day, you create an environment where you are constantly in turmoil over every fluctuation you see. While it is helpful to maintain your weight with some monitoring, constant monitoring is more harmful than helpful.
Instead: Set a day and time to weigh yourself and stick to it. Know that your weight will change throughout the day so weighing yourself at the same time weekly, will give you more accurate and comparable results.
Some people respond to stress by eating less and others respond by eating more. Either way, stress is a surefire derail to your healthy habits. Cortisol is raised when you’re stressed and that can lead your blood pressure and sugar levels to become out-of-whack. Once that happens, the chances of over-eating increase.
Instead: Indulge in things that help you relax. Reading, listening to soothing music and yoga are excellent ways to de-stress after a long day.
10. Your Friends
When you hang out with people, do you tend to eat more? Do you eat different types of foods? Monitor your eating habits when your environment changes and notice if you’re the type of person who’s eating habits change dramatically with the company that you keep.
Instead: Don’t turn into a recluse in order to keep to your diet. Do choose your foods wisely and, when possible, bring your own food to dinner parties—share your healthy and delicious dishes.
When you take all things into consideration, maintaining a life-long healthy lifestyle takes work. But, when you are mindful of all the big and seemingly small things that can take you off-track, you will be well on your way to coasting into a great, healthy lifestyle for years to come.
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