Have you tried numerous weight loss techniques, but are still holding on to those few (or more than a few) extra pounds? The usual vague advice like eat less, move more won’t guarantee weight loss. Here are 10 habits that prevent people from attaining ideal weight even when they eat healthy and exercise that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
Using a lot of vegetable oil
Most people eat vegetable oil from fried foods and processed foods. Research shows that too much vegetable oil causes inflammation due to high levels of omega 6 fatty acids. Additionally, oil is also high in calories so it causes weight gain.
Consume less processed foods and junk food to reduce vegetable oil intake. You should also consider cooking with coconut oil. Studies show that it has numerous health benefits. But as with any other oil, use with care and moderation.
Underestimating calories consumed
Various studies show that people underestimate the number of calories they consume and overestimate calories burned through exercise.
If you’re not losing weight, chances are you’re simply eating too much. Counting calories is the only way to know for sure if you’re consuming just enough but not too many calories. And you don’t have to count forever, just do it until you can accurately eyeball portions and avoid hidden calories.
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular tracking apps. You can use it to track your weight and daily calorie intake.
Research has proven that eating late at night causes weight gain. A study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who ate between 11 pm and 5 am gained more weight than those who didn’t.
And this six months study conducted on 160 healthy adults found that 37% of the subjects were eating past 11pm, for 3 consecutive days. At the end of the study, the subjects who ate late at night had gained more weight.
It’s not the act of eating late at night that causes weight gain but rather the excess calories you end up consuming. Set a simple rule that you won’t eat anything after dinner.
Consuming a lot of sugar
Even though study after study has shown that sugar is bad for your health and weight loss – sugar consumption is still increasing every year. And it’s not table sugar which is to blame – added sugar is the real cause of this problem.
So many processed foods have added sugar. Be sure to check food and drink labels for added sugar. Reduce the intake of table sugar as well.
Drinking high-calorie drinks
Calorie containing beverages will automatically increase your daily calorie intake. The stomach doesn’t care about calories – it cares about food volume. Since sugary drinks are not filling, you’ll still be hungry even after drinking thousand calories.
Note that fruit juices are not any better because they contain the same amount of sugar as processed drinks. Avoid all calorie containing beverages when trying to lose weight.
Eating straight from the bag
Research has found that people eat more when they eat snacks straight from the bag. You can’t tell how much you’ve eaten when you eat from a bag.
Put your chips or nuts in a plate or bowl and eat from there. That way you’ll recognize when you’ve had enough and stop. Or just use modest, one-serving bags to limit consumption.
Not getting your calorie needs
Maintaining high calorie deficits may work for a few days. But soon the side effects will start kicking in. You’ll start feeling hungry all the time, metabolism will slow down, you’ll lose muscles and fat loss hormones will be damaged.
The body needs enough energy from food to function properly. Don’t maintain a calorie deficit higher than 25% of your maintenance.
Not getting enough sleep
Studies show that lack of sleep causes weight gain. It also raises cortisol levels which in return cause inflammation and makes fat settle around the abdominal area. Additionally, lack of sleep causes fatigue and headaches which can reduce your workout performance.
Make sure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Here’s how to ensure you get a full night deep sleep – keep the room dark, reduce noises from outside by using white noise, don’t watch TV before bed and so on. Here are 20 tips for sleeping better every night.
Not focusing on getting strong
Most people only exercise to burn calories and lose fat. Even though that’s a good thing, focusing on getting strong will take your mind off fat loss and help you get in shape faster. And as you age, research has shown how important it is to retain muscle mass.
Focus on doing more exercise like push ups instead of calculating how many calories push ups burn. Gaining strength will motivate you to keep going even when there are no changes on the scale.
Sitting all day
A study conducted by University of Missouri-Columbia found that sitting for a few hours causes the body to stop producing lipase, a fat-restraining enzyme.
If you sit at a desk every day – stand up after every hour and take a walk or stretch. It’s highly likely to forget this, so set reminders. You may also want to do these exercises to correct bad posture caused by sitting all day.
For more science-backed tips for losing weight, see the expanded article on Focus Fitness.