Most of us know a few tips that will help us lose weight. But do you know what habits may be hurting you on your weight loss journey? Listed below are 5 habits that may be stopping you from losing the weight.
Lack of sleep can cause you to overeat and crave calorically dense foods. Think about when you’re tired at work. What do you do to wake yourself up? You need that shot of energy so you may go buy a cup of coffee and indulge in a snack. Depending on what that snack is, you’ve likely eaten extra calories that you otherwise wouldn’t have had you gotten enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation messes with your metabolism for a number of reasons. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s hormone levels are thrown off balance. Not only does your metabolism slow down when you’re sleep deprived but as we discussed in our previous article, 5 Habits to Boost Weight Loss, sleep deprivation increases your ghrelin levels which is the hormone that stimulates appetite. Sleep deprivation also decreases the levels of leptin in your body, the hormone responsible for telling the body it’s full. In other words, you eat more when you sleep less. Coupled with a decreased metabolism and you’ve created a sure fire recipe for weight gain.
If you’re aiming to get more sleep, try to avoid caffeine-ridden drinks late in the afternoon. Exercise is also important not just because it helps promote weight loss but also because it helps you sleep better at night.
Stress is a common contributor to weight gain in American adults. Our society is achievement obsessed and constantly works. As a result, we are at high risk for chronic stress. While stress may suppress your appetite in the short term, chronic stress actually boosts your hunger.
Cortisol is the hormone that is released when you’re stressed. Known as the stress hormone, when cortisol is released into the body, insulin levels rise and blood sugar levels drop. This results in your body’s craving for fatty, sugary foods. This is why when many people stress eat, they usually choose comfort foods like cookies, cakes, pizza, mac & cheese, and fries. They rarely reach for a salad or an apple.
If you suspect that you’re chronically stressed, try to find ways in which to release it. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Yoga is a great way to get in physical activity while partaking in meditation. Taking a walk is an effective and relaxing way to get in physical activity while enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature. Meditation is a physical activity-free means by which to relieve stress. Or you could read a book, listen to some music, or even play your favorite podcast as possible stress relieving activities.
3. Frequent Dining Out
Eating out is engrained in our culture. We love to socialize around food. While dining out is a great way to solidify the bonds of friendship, it’s also a great way to solidify your growing waistline. Frequent dining out is often a contributing factor to many individuals’ weight gain.
Not only are restaurant foods typically high in calories but the portion sizes are often far bigger than what we need. Dishes are served on huge plates which makes the amount of food placed on them appear proportionate in comparison. But it’s all a mind game that tricks you into believing you’re not eating as much as you actually are.
Alcohol is a common source of hidden calories. And generally speaking, beverages are typically a hidden source of calories. One reason for this is because beverages often don’t make us feel full even though they add calories to our meal.
You also may not know that most alcohol companies aren’t required to provide nutrition labels on their products. So those three beers you had with dinner may or may not have had a nutrition facts panel on it. The downside to this is that it can be difficult to factor alcohol into your diet if you aren’t even sure of its nutritional makeup.
While it’s unrealistic to expect most of the population to give up alcohol for the sake of weight loss, it is reasonable to learn the actual serving sizes for various alcohol drinks. Minimize how much you drink with your meals especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
5. Shopping when Hungry
Have you ever gone shopping when you’re hungry? If you have, then you’ve likely found that everything in the store looks delicious. That bag of Cheetos and those pork rinds which you haven’t had in forever seems to be calling your name. So you buy one bag of each. Then on your way home, you stop by the fast food restaurant next door and order a burger with fries and a milk shake. After you get home and eat, you not only regret your meal decision but you wonder why you were so tempted to buy that bag of Cheetos and pork rinds in the first place.
Shopping when hungry is a dangerous practice and one that you should definitely avoid. Individuals who shop hungry tend to buy higher calorie foods compared to those who aren’t hungry when they shop. If weight loss is your goal, then try to eat a small snack before you go shopping to avoid the less than ideal decisions you’re liable to make when shopping hungry.