Sometimes we feel like we are doing everything right, but the weight still doesn’t come off. Following are some possible reasons why the scale isn’t moving in the right direction.
1. Eating In Front Of The Television Or A Computer
It is easy to overeat when you aren’t paying attention. Instead of bringing food to the couch or desk, step away from the screens and focus on enjoying your food. You will feel satisfied and have less of a tendency to overeat.
2. Overindulging In Low-Fat Foods
Low-fat foods may appear healthier, but they are often full of additives, artificial sugars and extra sodium. Even though it feels like you are eating lighter, you may end up eating more than you anticipated.
3. Overdoing It With Artificial Sugar
Study after study, including a recent one out of Yale University, has shown that when you eat artificial sugar, your bodies crave more sweets. Your taste buds may be ok with the fake stuff, but your brain isn’t fooled.
4. Thinking Cardio Is The Only Exercise Needed
Everyone needs cardiovascular exercise for heart health, but incorporating weight training also has major benefits. Weight training builds muscle mass, increases metabolic rate and makes your body stronger and leaner. This higher metabolism keeps you burning calories long after you have left the gym. (See our earlier blog Heels To Barbells).
5. Skipping Breakfast
It’s true – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who eat breakfast regularly lose more weight. Eating breakfast each morning jump starts your metabolism and keeps your cravings in check. It’s important to keep it healthy and balanced: include protein to give yourself sustainable energy and fiber to fill you up for hours.
6. Working Out On An Empty Stomach
Research has shown that when exercising on an empty stomach, the calories burned will come from muscle, not fat. You want to keep those muscles since they burn more calories than fat. The more muscle mass you have, the better it is for weight loss. Not only will fueling your body help you avoid losing muscle, you will have more energy to push yourself through your workout.
7. Overeating Healthy Foods
Yes – nuts, avocados, whole wheat pasta and olive oil are all good for you, but those calories still count. Keep track of your portions as you enjoy these foods.
8. Eating Straight From The Fridge Or The Kids’ Plates
Everything you eat counts – whether it is a handful of the chips from your son’s lunch or a few bites of leftovers from the fridge. Even if you toss down these few bites without thinking, they still count. My little trick – try chewing gum when making food for others.
9. Turning A Healthy Salad Into A Landmine
Be conscious of what you put on your salad. Creamy salad dressings, croutons, bacon bits, dried fruits and cheese can literally add hundreds of calories. Try other lower calorie choices such as chickpeas, shredded carrots, lemon juice or balsamic glaze.
10. Lacking Portion Control
This is a crucial key that can derail any attempts at weight loss. You may need to initially weigh your food to learn the appropriate portion sizes. Once you get the hang of it, you will be better able to judge what is a portion. And just as importantly, you need to learn to recognize when you are full. At that first feeling of fullness, either remove your plate or cover your food with a napkin.
11. Not Drinking Enough Water
Water not only keeps you hydrated, but drinking water on a regular basis helps with weight loss. Additionally, filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control. A recent study even found that drinking cold water can speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice.
12. Never Indulging
In an otherwise healthy diet, enjoying a treat now and then isn’t going to ruin your weight-loss goals, and it may help you stay on track by keeping you from binging. A study found that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories (that means some days less and some days more – not always an extra 600 calories) won’t reflect on your waistline, as long as you maintain a healthy diet in the long run. Try not to waste these calories eating cold leftovers straight from the fridge; if you are going to indulge once in a while, choose something you really love and sit down and savor it.
13. Eating The Wrong Post Workout Snack
A post-workout snack is just that — a snack. And unless it’s mealtime, what you eat after an average workout should be around 150 calories. Since healthy foods like trail mix can be high in calories, measure out a serving instead of mindlessly chomping straight out of the bag.
14. Forgetting To Journal
Writing down what you eat is an essential way to monitor daily caloric intake. A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveyed 123 women and found that those who were the most successful at losing weight used a food journal to keep track of their food intake. And with today’s apps, there is really no excuse. (I use MyFitnessPal.)
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