Have you ever tried losing weight only to find yourself frustrated because your efforts were not getting you anywhere? There’s no miracle solution to getting fit. It’s all about eating right, exercising, and getting quality rest and sleep. Nonetheless, we often engage in some habits that keep on sabotaging all our hard work. If you find yourself going back at one in your weight loss attempt, maybe it’s because you exhibit some of the following habits.
1. You work out only when you want.
It’s Monday and you’ve done so much at work. You feel tired, hungry and sleepy. When you reach home, all you want to do is rest, sit in the couch, turn on the TV and eat a large packet of crisp. Exercising would be the last thing on your mind.
If you think exercising when you are tired will only make you more tired, think again. According to a study published in the Psychology Bulletin, 90 per cent of people who exercise suffered less fatigue and developed more energy and focus. In fact, the effect of exercising on your sense of focus is comparable with that of a drug used for ADHD patients. It’s all about managing your time and picking the best schedule for your workout. If you’re already dead tired for an afternoon workout, schedule it first hour in the morning.
2. You’re skipping breakfast.
If you think skipping breakfast will save you some calories, think again. In most cases, not eating a regular meal in the morning will make you crave for high-calorie foods and snacks later in the day. Another thing, having a solid breakfast meal promotes metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. With the right mix of foods (complex carbohydrates and protein), you will have enough energy and less food craving.
3. You’re not drinking enough water.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, dieters who drink 16 ounces of water before meal whilst keeping their calorie intake healthy (between 1,200 and 1,500) lost 44 per cent more fats than those who consumed the same number of calories but had reduced water consumption. Did you know that dehydration is the most common cause of weight gain? Often, your body mistaken thirst with hunger. So here’s a tip. Whenever you crave for food, drink a glass of cold water first. If the hunger goes away, it only means you aren’t hungry, only thirsty.
4. You’re not getting enough sleep.
Many dieters pay so much attention to exercise and calorie count but often overlook the value of sleep in their weight loss endeavour. Our body has its own clock which regulates hormones that control sleep, wakefulness, hunger and metabolism. When our bio clock is interrupted, our craving for high calorie foods increases and our metabolism goes out of whack. In one study conducted by the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Centre, it was found that people who lack sleep tend to consume 300 calories more than those who had enough sleep. Whilst they burn the same amount of calories, excess calorie intake leads to progressive and steady weight gain. Remember, you only need to consume 3,500 calories to gain one pound. Sleep deprived individuals are also at risk of developing belly fats.
5. You spend a lot of time with inactive people.
Are you fond of going out with friends for some “food trip”? Do you love partying all night during weekends, drinking beer and snacking on fatty treats? If yes, you are not far from weight gain. A long-term study which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a person is more likely to become obese when a friend becomes one. Well, this does not mean you should stop seeing your friends and find new ones. You can be their health saviour! Instead of another “unli-beer” session this weekend, encourage them to go to the gym or backpack. Engaging in healthy and physically challenging activities is a fun way to bond with friends and at the same time, burn fats.
6. You’re underestimating your total calorie intake.
Often, food portions we’ve become accustomed to are far greater than the actual serving. For instance, the recommended serving for pasta is just half-a-cup which is approximately equivalent to a scoop of ice cream. Another thing, just because you are eating a few doesn’t mean you are also consuming fewer calories. If you choose the wrong food, even just a cup serving could supply your body tons of calories! One way to keep your calorie intake on track is to measure your food for one month – weigh it if possible. This gives you an idea of how much you are actually eating. Knowing proper portions and monitoring your calorie intake are important for weight loss success.
7. You seek emotional comfort from food.
Do you often resort to food whenever you feel down? If yes, this habit of yours is actually sabotaging your efforts to lose weight. Sweet, salty and high-calorie foods can really provide you comfort but their “feel-good” effect is only momentary whilst their health consequences are lasting. Emotional eating could also lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety and worse, depression.
Finding a healthy outlet for your emotions is one way to avoid emotional eating. Instead of emotional eating, engage in activities that alleviate your stress levels and make you feel good without causing harm to your health and well-being. These include exercising, engaging in creative activities, taking a vacation, and interacting with nature. Another way to let go of negative emotion is to practise breathing techniques and meditate.
8. You don’t count weekends.
You’ve been religiously following your weight loss programme all through weekdays, is it bad to have a “cheat day”? Having a cheat day is not bad as long as you still keep an eye on your food and activity levels. If you restrict yourself from eating ice creams for the entire week, treat yourself with a scoop on a Sunday. But don’t let your body become physically inactive. Instead of chilling in front of the TV for hours, find more fun activities that keep you moving, like strolling in the park, kayaking, swimming, etc.
9. You’re constantly comparing yourself with others.
Looking at the stick figures in the magazine and internet won’t help you lose weight. Sometimes they would inspire you, but often, they will make you feel worse. Because competitiveness is a trait hardwired to our brains, we all have the tendency to compare ourselves with others – sizing each other up. But sticking to this habit could do more harm than good. Many people shift from one weight loss programme to another once they’ve heard or seen something. There’s nothing wrong with trying out what worked for other people. But you’ve got to give yourself a chance to know what work and what doesn’t, for you.
10. You’re stuck on what doesn’t work.
This is different with the previous habit. Here, you carry on with a weight loss solution that is not working for you. Losing weight is easier than maintaining weight. Maybe you managed to lose a stone in a relatively short period of time using a diet fad you’ve read about, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will keep you from losing weight forever. To be successful in maintaining fitness, you need to assess your lifestyle most especially your activity level and calorie intake.
Don’t let these habits prevent you from achieving a leaner figure and bringing back the confidence you once had. Losing weight is possible and its starts with building healthy habits.
If you struggle, take expert advice with our weight loss management programmes. Take online and self-managed techniques to understand your daily calorie intake and expenditure, or come in to the Southampton suite with free weekly weigh ins, advice and support when purchasing Cambridge Weight Plan products. Alternatively, if you're in a rush to fit into that suit, come in for a Quickslim Body Wrap.