You’ve been trying to lose weight as efficiently and quickly as possible, yet nothing works. You think you’ve covered all the basics like cutting out fast food, reducing fat intake and skipping desert. But now, you’re starting to think that maybe you’re doing something wrong. You’d be correct in assuming that.
Losing weight takes more than abandoning a few bad habits here and there. It’s an intense commitment that requires a lot of research. Losing weight also requires you to take a good, reconstructive look at the way you live. Do you get enough sleep? Do you drink a lot of water? How many fruits and vegetables do you consume every day?
You’ll be happy to know that there are quantitative and qualitative amounts of research dedicated to breaking down which bad habits affect the way we gain or lose weight.
So, if you’re on a journey to lose weight, take a look at these 10 bad habits that might be slowing you down:
1. Eating late at night. You’ve had a long day at work and now it’s time to lie in bed and watch some Netflix. You reach for your favorite snacks and fast food thinking it’s okay to do because you didn’t eat anything unhealthy during the day.
Wrong. When you eat just before going to sleep, you’re filling your body with food that will be metabolized very slowly, resulting in weight gain. If you must snack, choose fruits and low-calorie foods.
2. Bad sleeping habits. Going to bed really late, having an erratic sleep schedule, waking up at different hours every day…these are just some of the things that can affect your weight loss goals.
Studies have found that disturbances in sleep can affect the balance of appetite hormones, which is linked to the amount of hunger we feel during the day. Also, people who are sleep-deprived are 55% more likely to gain weight than those who take their sleeping patterns seriously.
3. You only eat “low fat.” This might be confusing and counterproductive to weight loss, but hear me out. Food that’s labeled “low fat” only saves you a few calories and gives you a sugar rush.
Fat is necessary, so all you have to do is choose healthy ones that won’t get stored in the body. Good, natural and healthy fats can be found in avocados, nuts, whole eggs and full-fat yogurt.
4. Eating too quickly. When your mom used to scold you for eating too fast, it was because she wanted you to grow up with good manners. Now, science has revealed that there’s more to eating slowly than that.
A study by the University of Rhode Island found that those who eat slowly consume ⅓ of what fast eaters eat. Think of it this way: it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full.
5. Sedentarism. I know, I know. It’s the most obvious piece of advice when it comes to weight loss: move. You might think that you can lose weight just by changing the way you eat, but this is the slowest path available.
In fact, there’s a lot of science to back up the undeniable fact that people who eat well and exercise regularly are the masters of keeping weight off. Period. There’s no way around this.
6. Skipping breakfast (or skipping any meal). Logically, you assume that skipping meals means less food and therefore less weight. This assumption is wrong for a number of reasons.
When you skip meals regularly, your metabolism slows down. This makes you more likely to overeat at the end of the day. That’s right; that 9 pm, post-work Chinese food run isn’t natural if you skipped meals during the day.
7. You eat of out big plates. Studies have found that over 90% of obese people opt for larger plates when they order food. This is pretty straightforward: more food equals a higher caloric intake.
So, next time you make food or order something, ask for a small plate. If you’re not satisfied 20 minutes after eating, you can always go back for more!
8. You don’t drink water. If your main source for quenching your thirst is a drink that fizzes or has a strong sweet flavor, then you won’t lose weight. Only drinking two sodas a day increases your chances of gaining weight by 33% percent.
A study by the University of Utah found that people who drink two cups of water before each meal lost 30% more weight than those who didn’t. So, replace that can of pop for water and you’ll start seeing the difference!
9. Stress and anxiety eating. The source of your overeating might be emotional. Try to observe when you binge eat snacks and see if there’s a relation to how you feel.
The University of Alabama found that people who eat when they’re stressed or anxious were 13 times more likely to be overweight. Try to create a habit other than eating when stress and anxiety kick in like going for a walk, drinking water or chewing gum
10. You drink alcohol. When you cut off your alcohol intake, amazing things start to happen. Did you know alcohol gives you twice as many calories as proteins and carbs? Not only that, these alcoholic calories are also empty of nutritional value.
Alcohol can also play a big role in overeating. A study showed that alcohol activates the hypothalamus region of the brain, which heightens our senses and makes us more inclined to crave food without actually being hungry.