How we approach health and lifestyle habits is constantly evolving and, oftentimes, what we might have believed was good for us, turns out to be far from it. There was once a time when sugar was not as looked down upon as it is today, but as research methods change, so do the opinions of nutritionists. Make sure you are not derailing your weight loss goals with diet-derailing habits you were told are healthy.
Below are some seemingly healthy habits that are actually hindering your weight loss progress:
- Replacing sugar with artificial sweetener: If you are trying to stay healthy and keep your weight down, chances are you are trying to steer clear of sugar. For many, the loophole for avoiding sugar and still sating sweet cravings can be found in sweeteners, which can be found in a vast range of things, from puddings and cookies to soda. Unfortunately, sweeteners are not the key to having your cake and eating it too. Artificial sweeteners can cause insulin, which is the body’s primary fat-storage hormone, to be released in your gut. Additionally, sugar alcohols are often added to sugar-free products, which can sometimes have a laxative effect when consumed in excess.
- Working out every day: Remaining committed to a workout routine is important, but if you spend all of your free time running, lifting, and engaging in other strenuous workouts, your body is missing out on crucial recovery time to rest and rebuild. This not only increases the risk of injury, but it can also slow your progress. Give your body the downtime it needs by taking off a day or two every week.
- Refueling with a post-workout smoothie: If you are in the habit of always needing to refuel with a smoothie or protein shake after a workout, this is usually unnecessary and only increases your calorie intake. Instead, make sure your next meal is rich in protein and nutritious.
- Saving calories for later: It is not uncommon for people to skip meals if they have plans later to grab drinks or dinner after work. This habit is actually not doing you much good though since it will be harder to control your portions or to make good food choices when you are starving. Instead of starving yourself and overeating later, snack on some baby carrots or an ounce of almonds before your outing and, if you drink alcohol, limit it to two drinks. If you are inebriated, you will lose self-control and totally derail your diet.
- Eating the wrong “healthy” snacks: Snacking is something many of us do rather than having a full meal, but some of the supposedly healthy snacks you are nibbling on throughout your day might actually be working against you. While it is easy to get lured in by phrases like “whole wheat” and “low fat,” many so-called healthy snacks are packing as much sugar as ice cream and cookies. Take a moment to reexamine the flavored yogurt and whole grain cereal you love. Are they as healthy as you thought?
- Skipping sleep for a morning workout: Working out first thing in the morning can provide some wonderful benefits, but if you sacrificing sleep to do it, you might be missing out on crucial rest. If you want to hit the gym at 5 a.m., make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time to ensure you are getting at least six to eight hours of sleep. Remember, dieters who sleep five hours or less put on about two and a half times more belly fat.
- Sleeping too much: Life is about balance, so even getting too much sleep can derail your weight loss goals. Those who sleep more than eight hours a night are likely to pack on more belly fat. More than six and less than eight is the optimal amount of sleep for weight control, so try to stay within that range.
- Cutting back on calories: Cutting calories to lose weight is necessary, but if you are skipping meals to lose weight, this is the wrong way to go about it. In fact, skipping meals might be the reason for any weight gain you might be experiencing. How is this possible? Skipping meals slows down your metabolism and boosts hunger, putting your body in fat-storage mode and making it more likely for you to overeat at your next meal. If you really want to lose weight, keep your metabolism revved up by focusing on small, snacks or meals that are rich in protein and fiber. This will help you burn more calories and avoid an afternoon crash.
- Skipping the yolk: The yolk of an egg is where the bulk of its calories and fat reside, which is why so many people opt for the whites instead. However, you might want to reconsider this choice. Yolks are actually a good source of fat-burning choline and vitamin D, which many often never get enough of. In fact, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to abdominal obesity, so start showing the egg yolk some love. It will also make you feel fuller longer, which means you will also be less likely to overeat later on in the day.
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