July 11, 2022
Whether before or after surgery, and no matter how well-meaning you are about your weight loss goals, there may be certain habits holding you back that you don’t even realize. Here are 13 habits that nutrition professionals blame for sabotaging weight loss.
13 Habits Nutrition Professionals Blame For Sabotaging Weight Loss
1. Believing that fad diets will help you lose weight
I know it sounds weird, but the problem with classic restrictive diets is that they are just temporary measures you take to lose extra weight.
When you diet, you make a sharp cut in calorie intake which slows down your metabolism because your body thinks it is starving. However, when you go back to eating as before, the weight you lose on the diet is regained, usually within one to five years.
The real way to lose and avoid unwanted pounds is to change your lifestyle and eating habits. Give yourself time, bite after bite, the benefits of healthy eating add up. You’ll see the results on the scale (although it’s not just the scale).
2. Blame yourself for eating “bad” food
A food will not make you more or less healthy. It’s the habits that count.
Oftentimes, thinking that you’ve “messed up” your diet just because you’re eating a “bad” food can cause you to overeat, whether you’re hungry or not, because you think tomorrow is a brand new day and that you’ll “start the diet again and be good.”
Letting go of that “all or nothing” mentality and focusing on healthy eating with room for indulgences once in a while can lead to a more balanced and sustainable diet. Remember that eating is not just about supplying your body with nutrients, but it is also about meeting pleasure.
3. Not having a personalized meal plan
A meal plan by itself is not a magic tool that will automatically make you lose weight. Several variables influenced the weight loss journey.
Nonetheless, having a meal plan will help you stay committed and reach your goals. Keep in mind that a generic meal plan may not work for you, as everyone has different needs and requirements, as well as different tastes and resources to consider. If you want a meal plan, it’s best to discuss it with your dietitian or nutritionist so you have a personalized plan and not just the one you found online.
And don’t forget that meal planning and preparation is essential to avoid impulse buying or eating from a take-out menu.
4. Lack of nutrition education
Nutrition education is one of the most important resources people should have for a healthy lifestyle. It is the basis that allows having the basic knowledge on the dietary values of foods and the preparation of foods, among others, to help them choose the best foods for an appropriate diet to achieve their goals.
For example, in the weight loss journey, a reduction in calories is necessary, but it is not the same as eating less, because certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can generate adequate satiety but with far fewer calories than others (like processed foods that claim to have fruits and vegetables).
Nowadays, information is more or less available to everyone online, but it is best that you turn to your dietitian or nutritionist who can help you with these matters.
5. Repeating the same meals over and over again
Eating healthy shouldn’t be boring. You don’t have to eat the same food over and over again until utter boredom causes you to give up and end up stuffing yourself with packaged food. This leads to sabotaging weight loss.
But to avoid this, you’ll need not only a little understanding of food and nutrition education, but also some basic cooking techniques to create nutritious, low-calorie, and appetizing meals.
We all know chicken breast is a great source of lean protein, but maybe if you always prepare grilled chicken breast the same way, it’s no wonder the fourth time you eat it, you hated her.
6. Cut Food Groups
These days it’s a trend to talk about the food groups we shouldn’t eat (dairy products, carbohydrates, fruits, legumes, etc.), and not because we don’t like them, but simply because that someone, somewhere claims that it is better for us, often without scientific proof or without knowing if it is something for everyone or only in certain cases, for example, in certain intolerances.
It doesn’t matter if it’s processed or natural foods, everything falls under the restriction and it’s not the solution. By carrying food that you like, you generate a feeling of deprivation, which is rarely a positive state of mind. And your body isn’t happy either. This deprivation can contribute to stronger food cravings, possibly leading to binge eating later on. This leads to sabotaging weight loss.
While we don’t need to narrow the food groups, just know that if you feel that once you start eating a particular food and you just can’t stop, try practicing mindful eating.
7. Skimping on sleep can mess up hunger control
Sleep is the basis of all our daily decisions and habits. Poor quality sleep can negatively impact not only our mood and our ability to focus on daily tasks, but can also impair our hunger control.
Lack of sleep can alter the hormones that control hunger. Two hormones are involved in controlling hunger, the appetite-stimulating hormone called Ghrelin and the satiety-inducing hormone called Leptin.
People who sleep less than the recommended 7-8 hours tend to have reduced levels of leptin and high levels of ghrelin, which results in increased appetite and poorer satiety control. This leads to sabotaging weight loss.
8. Lack of exercise
Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. It’s pretty accessible to everyone, can be super cheap or even free, and not only helps you improve physically, but it’s also a great way to socialize, meet new people, and disconnect from day-to-day issues.
But for exercise to be effective, both physically and mentally, it’s important to find something you enjoy. If you think it’s a chore you have to do, it won’t work. It could be going for a walk, swimming or even learning to play golf.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or a combination of both throughout the week, including strength training 2-3 times a week if possible.
I know that sounds like a lot, but if exercise isn’t part of your daily life, start small and try different activities until you find the one or ones you like.
9. Ignoring your stress level
When we’re stressed, it’s not uncommon for us to crave comfort foods. This is called “emotional eating” and is a way to suppress or calm stress and other negative emotions such as anger, fear, boredom, sadness and/or loneliness.
While this is fine on rare occasions, healthy, non-food outings should be taken to reduce stress.
For example, exercise is a great way to relieve stress, but we can also simply take a walk in the fresh air, read a good book or call a friend.
10. Not knowing the hidden calories
Reducing your calorie intake is key to success on the road to weight loss, but did you know that there are several foods you can eat regularly with “hidden calories”?
If you are used to having condiments, soft drinks, or fruit juices with sugar, alcoholic beverages, or even candies, gummies, and mints, keep in mind that all of these things add to your calorie intake and hinder your weight loss success.
So the next time you choose a drink, be aware of it. Or when eating salads, don’t overload them with commercial dressings, maybe try making your own next time.
11. Constant snacking
Most of the time, people don’t think of snacks as food, and they don’t take them into account when counting meals or calorie intake.
Snacking is simply eating or drinking something between meals, without thinking about whether the food is healthy or not. Although hunger should be the primary motivator for snacking, other factors such as location, social environment, time of day, and food availability also contribute. More often than not, people snack when appetizing foods are nearby, even when they are not hungry.
12. Thinking the weekend doesn’t count
It may sound silly, but when the weekend rolls around, many people completely neglect their meal plans or weight loss goals and act like whatever happens won’t affect the results.
This only sets you up for failure during the week. You can always indulge in “out of the ordinary” dishes, but that doesn’t mean you can eat anything and think that Monday you’ll be back on track like nothing ever happened.
13. Intestinal health and fiber intake
Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms living in our digestive tract. Taking care of them and maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms is the key to optimal health.
Adequate intake of dietary fiber may promote the growth of beneficial bacteria that produce certain chemicals associated with reduced body weight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva De Angelis is a registered dietitian and chef. She is passionate about all things food, nutrition and cooking. She loves to write about food and nutrition to share her knowledge with people and help them achieve better health. She believes that everyone should have access to nutrition education, as it is essential knowledge for a healthy lifestyle. In her private practice, she focuses on providing her patients with necessary nutrition education while encouraging them to cook to make meal planning easier and more cost effective.