When you want to lose weight, it’s important to know the right steps to take to tip the scales in a favorable direction. It is equally necessary to know what Not Do. Sometimes, you may not even know that the habits you’re following are leading you astray, because it doesn’t necessarily feel like there’s anything “wrong” with them. That’s why we consulted with Marissa West, CPT and nutrition specialist, founder of West Kept Secret, e Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDNauthor of Finally full, finally thina nutritionist in private practice and a member of our committee of medical experts, who set the record straight by revealing the habits that destroy your weight-loss efforts.
Of course, everyone’s body is different and unique. What works for one person may not be the best way to attack for someone else. But there are some habits that everyone should avoid at all costs if shedding unwanted body fat and getting the number off the scale is the goal.
Don’t complicate things! Read on to find out what the experts have to say about the habits destroying your weight loss efforts. And when you’re done, be sure to check out You’ll Never Lose Weight If You Eat These 11 Things Again.
When you give your weight loss journey 100% effort and hard work, it can be quite disappointing not to see physical results after just a few weeks. This could be because you are “bouncing around” on different workouts.
“Bouncing from workout to workout sounds great in theory, but ultimately, it can be the end of losing weight consistently,” West explains. “A good rule of thumb is to give any exercise program you’re trying a month to see if there are any changes and progress in place. Progress doesn’t have to be weight loss right away, it can be measured in other ways, such as completion more reps of a certain movement or doing pushups on your toes than your knees or running a mile faster.”
Too much of anything is never a good thing and healthy foods are no exception to the rule! Some healthy foods are also high in calories, so practicing portion control is key.
“Although almonds and avocados are healthy superfoods, they’re still high in calories, so it’s possible to go overboard with your daily calories if you don’t stick to an adequate serving size of healthy snacks, especially those that come in a bag,” West says. “For example, if you’re eating straight out of a bag of chips (even the healthiest option), it’s easy to double and triple the serving size without realizing it. I always advise customers to review their snack portions, then roll out the snacks, and finally put the bag away to prevent this from happening.”
Young agrees that “fats are still fat” and points out that consuming too many healthy fats is an unhealthy habit. “Incorporating healthy fats into your diet is not only essential, but it’s a good way to get your macros [However,] consuming too many healthy fats can lead to weight gain because fat contains more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates,” he adds.
Next on this list of seven habits that will destroy your weight loss efforts is not getting enough rest. Good quality sleep isn’t something you should skimp on, because feeling tired on a regular basis is directly related to weight gain. “Studies have shown that getting too little sleep increases cravings for energy-packed, high-carb foods,” says West. “Sleep gives your body just enough time to recover, conserve energy, and repair muscle buildup during your workouts.”
It’s a smart habit to check in with yourself each morning to see how rested you actually feel, and make any necessary changes to your routine if necessary.
Sure, sipping wine while watching reality TV is a fun pairing, but be warned that alcohol can throw you off track of whatever fitness goal you’re working toward. “I hate to be a buzzkill, but drinking affects muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which reduces your ability to gain muscle, disrupts sleep patterns, and causes dehydration, all of which contribute to weight gain. When we consume alcohol, we derail the process of converting fat into energy and fat is more likely to be stored in our cells,” says West.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol, but drinking in moderation is the name of the game. At West Kept Secret, they promote “ranges of booze”. For example, if you usually like four glasses of wine, lower it from two to three the next time you go to a bar with friends. “And just like that, you’ve cut your alcohol intake by one drink (roughly 100 calories),” says West. “Interval work while consuming alcohol promotes fluidity while drinking, avoids feelings of ‘restriction,’ and helps promote a healthier relationship with alcohol.”
Also, with every alcoholic beverage you sip, aim to drink a full glass of water right after. This will help flush out toxins and hydrate your body.
To make weight loss a reality, it is recommended that you establish a deficit of approximately 500 calories per day. When you see you’re making progress, though, this calorie deficit number “can become obsessive,” says West. Don’t get too strict with your calorie count. If you do, you won’t be giving your body the energy it needs to function properly. This can even activate “starvation mode,” where fat is stored rather than burned.
“Instead of continuing to restrict more calories, simply add those 500 calories to your diet, but make a conscious effort to ensure they’re calorie-dense foods that will be used as energy and not stored as fat,” West suggests.
Good old H2O is a must to include in your weight loss journey. Not keeping your body properly hydrated can make you fat for a couple of reasons, explains Young. “The first is that water can help you feel full by reducing feelings of hunger,” she adds. “Research has shown that substantial water intake has led to a drop in body weight, body fat, and body mass index. Drinking enough water has also been shown to help the body remove waste. When the body he doesn’t have enough water and is dehydrated,” the kidneys retain fluids. Water helps dilute the kidneys by filtering out toxins and other waste materials. Dehydration and water retention can ruin your chances of losing weight.”
Last but not least on this list of the worst habits destroying your weight loss efforts? Eating out or ordering too much take out. This is a common habit many of us are guilty of when we have to juggle a busy schedule, make lots of social plans with friends, or feel a little lazy.
“When you eat out a lot, you don’t have control over what’s going into your food,” says Young. “You don’t know every single ingredient used for the recipe, and you definitely don’t know how much of each ingredient is used. For example, a salad plate might be served with grilled chicken cooked in excessive oil.” When you are in control of the ingredients that go into your meals, you have a much better chance of losing weight.
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