You know the feeling so well. You seem to do all you can to lose weight but it keeps coming back – with a company. This is very discouraging and can ruin your motivation. There must be a tribe of gnomes feeding you a peanut butter while you sleep – that is the only explanation!
But, before you give up, please read on and see if you can recognize any of the symptoms below. These are the most common habits destroying our diets. Any sound familiar? These are the little gnomes messing with your plans. They can sneak in hidden calories or trigger late-night cravings. Change the patterns and you will notice weight dropping off in no time!
Top 10 worst diet habits:
- Relying on ‘light’ foods
The fat-free, sugar-free options – what if I told you bo**ocks to that? Just because you buy ‘light’ mayonnaise or butter, you really are not doing yourself a favor. Quite the contrary. By stripping a product of natural fat, food manufacturers have to stuff it with chemicals and sugars to regain the taste and the texture. And guess what, you end up with the comparable amount of calories to an original product, but with loads of artificial elements. Stick to full fat products (fat is good for you!) and simply reduce the portions.
- Expecting overnight results
Let’s be honest, how long did it take you to put on weight? Chances are it was a longer process. Don’t expect to lose it all within a week! You will just get disappointed or discouraged. Crash diets are called so as they usually crash. You deprive yourself of your favorite foods, feel constantly hungry and can only last so long until you snap and have a massive ‘cheat day’.
Change this scenario! Opt for steady but ongoing diet reducing calories and keeping fit. Have a treat from time to time, as well as regular healthy meals. That’s the only guaranteed way to lose weight and successfully keep it off.
- Skipping breakfasts
Now that is a massive no-no. If you skip a breakfast, you risk facing irresistible cravings late in the evening. Breakfast is crucial – it sets your digestive system for the day and gives you plenty of energy. Make it nutritious too: full of protein and fiber. These elements will keep you fuller for longer, fight the sluggish feeling and help resist snacking between the meals.
According WebMD, people who skip breakfasts find it more difficult to control weight and tend to eat more than usual at the next meal. So what is the best breakfast combination? A bowl of müsli with a full fat milk or two slices of brown bread with butter and cheese are examples of balanced meals full of proteins (milk , cheese, butter) and fiber (müsli, brown bread).
- Snacking & mindless eating
That’s most challenging to overcome when you’re on a diet. Did you know that we eat 30% more while watching TV than we normally would? Why? Let’s picture this: do you remember that night you’ve put Lost DVD on while snacking on peanuts? Before you knew, you ate the whole pack! Yes, we’ve all been there. This is the issue with mindless eating. You stop registering how much you actually consume.
Same goes for snacking. You know – a crisp here, a small chocolate there – there’s no harm in that? If done frequently it can add up to a whole bar of chocolate and two packets of crisps by the end of the day! That’s the gnome we’ve mentioned before, sneaking calories into your diet.
Resist snacking by sticking to this habit: always sit down to your meal and serve the food in one go in order to see it on a plate. Your brain is going to register it and help you feeling fuller for longer. And make sure to pick healthy protein snacks over crisps and sweets. Click here to see the examples of simple healthy snacks.
- Eating late
Here we go – I know, I know – I’m not about to criticize all of you hard working folk who come home late and an evening meal is the only proper food they have. But, planning your teatime ahead goes a long way. Upon returning home, you snack on anything lying around, while your dinner is getting cooked – you are so hungry and impatient! By making a dinner the night before (or morning that day), you only have to re-heat it in a microwave.
Serve smaller portions and pick foods easy to digest – salads, soups, fish or chicken. And stop eating at 80% full – very important! Your brain takes 20 minutes to register you’ve had enough – so by eating until you are full, you tend to overeat!
- Not getting enough sleep
This can also have a damaging effect on our waistlines. Sleep is a beauty miracle – I’m sure you’ve heard of that. It restores many functions and recharges our system for the next day. By cutting down on sleep (advisory 6 hours), you disrupt your body’s performance. Hunger and metabolism are particularly affected. Studies show that a regular nap restores two important hormones in our bodies: leptin and ghrelin. These guys regulate our metabolism and hunger levels. When they get disturbed, you are more likely to snack, overeat during meal times and won’t digest as fast as usual.
- Not keeping fit
That comes as a no-brainer. But, don’t close your laptop yet. We are not asking you to join a gym or attend a Zumba class – although that is a fun way to shed pounds too. There’s an easier – and a hassle-free way. Walk! Everywhere, to the shop, to work (if possible), with a dog – opportunities are everywhere. I remember I struggled tremendously to lose weight for over a year. It only became easier once I sold the car and began walking everywhere – for at least an hour a day. Weight started falling off without me even trying. And it’s so easy to do; you don’t need a special gear or a monthly subscription, just an hour a day – every day. Try it for yourself!
- Going it alone
Battling against weight is easier if you have a right support around. Tell your housemates, family and co-workers about the diet plans. They will be happy to support you and won’t tempt with nachos or take-aways. And guess what? You are more likely to resist snacking if people around you know you are trying to lose weight – you don’t want to face ‘what, you’re eating THAT’? looks – it can be really supportive in many ways.
- Turning down your favorite foods
Diet is not supposed to feel like a torture, you know? By refusing to eat your favorite pizza or ice-cream, you feel deprived and are more likely to snap at some point and binge-eat uncontrollably. That’s not the way. If you love ice-cream, have it for a dessert – just serve half a usual portion. Fancy a pizza? Order a small one (or only a slice), to get a taste of it. The trick is to eat a little bit of everything – and stop when you are 80% full – that way you won’t put on weight, and will never feel deprived or bitter.
- Not drinking enough water
Last but not least. Did you know we often take thirst for hunger? Yes, cravings frequently indicate we only need something to drink. Top up on water as often as you can during a day – staying hydrated will help you resist any high-calorie nibbles!
So there se have it. 10 worst habits that can effectively ruin your diet. Change these before giving up on losing weight. Stay motivated and don’t feel you have to deprive yourself of foodie-goodies in order to get slimmer.
Have a great tip of your own? Please leave a comment below!