It doesn’t matter if you’re using Noom or The Zero Belly Diet—you want to go full keto or try your hand at Adele’s Sirtfood Diet—there are a few basic weight loss truths we at Eat This, Not That! hold to be self-evident: Processed foods and too much sugar are bad, healthy fats and whole foods packed with fiber are good, and you should definitely avoid the following universal no-nos that many top weight loss experts say will derail any weight loss program. So read on—and for more great ways to slim down and feel better, make sure you’re up to speed on the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time!
You’re Not Eating Protein in the Morning
“The one thing I notice in 90 percent of my clients [who can’t lose weight] is that they are skipping heavy protein in the first meal of their day,” says Anthony Coffey, owner and head trainer at Bloom Training. “Having a higher protein diet, especially starting the day high, leads not just to a higher thermal effect (burning more calories throughout the day), but better preservation of lean body mass, which further protects the metabolism, and aids in a more tone and defined look. It also lessens cravings, mood disturbance, irritability, stress, and fatigue levels throughout the entire day—all things leading to weight gain, or trouble losing weight.” If you’re looking for some healthy breakfast inspiration, see these 7 Amazing Breakfast Habits for a Flat Belly.
You’re Not Grateful
Mindset is critical to your resolve, and if you’re not approaching your disciplined regimen with the right outlook, your chances of success are slim.
“Restrictive eating is chock-a-block full of landmines, as [feelings of] scarcity, also referred to as cognitive tunneling, often produces an unhealthy mental environment that increases the likelihood of emotional and binge eating,” says Geoff Girvitz, the Toronto-based director of Bang Fitness. “Practicing gratitude is not just an airy-fairy technique. It’s a strategy that specifically counters the feeling of scarcity. A sense of gratitude and abundance has to be in place for making intentionally reduced food intake feel less oppressive.” For more on the connection between your eating habits and your mood, know that It’s Impossible to Lose Weight Without Doing This, Say Experts.
You Wait Until You’re Starving Before You Eat
“The worst thing people who are struggling to lose weight do every day is waiting to eat until they are ravenous,” says Katelyn Barrons, NASM, CPT, an Ace Health Coach. “People who are trying to lose weight often think that if they skip a meal or can push back a meal time that will help them consume less calories. This often backfires because inevitably people will get so hungry that they overeat or don’t feel motivated to make a healthy decision. Having structured meal times and food prepped ahead of time can help make sure that hunger cues stay under control and people are able to choose balanced, healthy meals!”
You’re Closing Your Kitchen Too Late
If you’re eating a big dinner late, you could be hurting your chances of successful weight loss. “I teach the habit of eating a larger meal for lunch, including treats, and taking the soup or salad you would’ve been having for lunch and eating it for dinner instead,” says Carly Banks, a health counselor at The Habit Ayurveda. “I’ve seen clients lose upwards of 35 pounds simply from shifting their meal times, while eating the exact same diet. This shift also improves sleep quality and decreases morning grogginess.”
No surprise here, but it’s worth noting, again, that alcohol is one of your biggest weight-loss villains. “A single glass of wine is between 120-125 calories, a vodka soda is a little over 100 calories, and a 16 oz margarita can set you back more than 1,000 calories—and that’s only if you’re having one,” says Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month. “These calorie-dense drinks also have little to no nutritional value, and it’s more likely that you’re going to crave greasy, unhealthy food than opt for a protein-and-veggie-packed meal when you’re tipsy!”
You’re Making Excuses
“The single worst thing you’re doing for your health and weight loss goals is making excuses,” says Emily Tills, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition coach. “You’re giving yourself the right to say, ‘I’ll work out tomorrow and continuing to push away at my goals because I have nothing to keep myself accountable to.’ You’re giving yourself an inch and you’re taking a mile. Every time you set a goal and don’t follow through, you’re conditioning yourself to accept that you’ll never change and that things will never change.”
You’re Regularly Drinking Soda
“Drinks such as soda are very high in sugar, and diets high in sugar have been shown to have the potential to decrease the microbial diversity in the gut after just one week’s time,” says Jinan Banna, Ph.D., RD. “That loss of microbial diversity in the gut microbiota has been shown to be associated with most of the human diseases affecting westernized countries, including obesity.” If you want to know the absolute worst of the worst when it comes to your soda aisle, check out the 108 Most Toxic Sodas on the Planet.
You’re Not Eating Enough—Period
“This may sound counterintuitive, but the worst thing people are doing every day to gain weight is simply not eating,” says Kylie Burton, DC, CFMP. “It’s not good for your blood sugar. Blood sugar imbalances, where it goes up and down just a bit each day, are the number one problem in hormone chaos. And when your hormones are out of whack, weight isn’t coming off no matter what you do. Skipping meals or simply not eating regularly tells your body that you may experience a famine in the near future [and your metabolism will adapt]. Regular eating tells your brains that there is food ready to be consumed and your body doesn’t need to store what you eat [as fat] for later.” For more great advice, don’t miss these Sneaky Weight Loss Tricks That Actually Work, According to Experts.
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