People often find me because they feel frustrated and confused by nutrition. They want desperately to lose weight, feel better, and more confident, but nothing they have tried has worked. The demands of most diets require them to abandon many of the foods they love and social activities they enjoy. These diets do not produce lasting results leaving a strong distaste for anything weight loss related.
I see this time and time again as I counsel people struggling with obesity. But I also see the same behaviors on repeat. Behaviors most obese people are not even aware may be sabotaging their weight loss goals. Behaviors that are being ignored yet are detrimental. Here are 5 bad behaviors to avoid:
1. Skipping Breakfast (and maybe lunch too)
I cannot count how many times someone has said to me, "I do not eat very much, there is no way I should be this weight!" What they do not realize is that they are that weight BECAUSE they are not eating often enough. When a person goes a long period of time without eating, the body compensates by increasing reserves of energy (ie fat) in case it happens again and decreasing the amount of energy it uses (ie lowers the metabolism). This is detrimental to weight loss. This is how sumo wrestlers keep their weight high despite their athleticism. It is recommended to eat within 30-60 minutes of waking up. This does not mean, you must eat 10 small meals, however eat often enough to stop the cycle of starving and binging. For most people this is every 4-5 hours or 3 meals a day.
2. Clean the plate
I first noticed this back in college working as a waitress. I started noticing that it was not the food choices that differed so much between different sized people, but those people who were obviously obese finished every bite on the plate. Nothing would be left at the end of the meal. Sometimes this originates from childhood being required to clean the entire dinner plate before being allowed to be excused. Adults still feel such heavy guilt over wasting food. The good news is your mom and dad are no longer keeping you at the table until it is all gone! In addition, most restaurants serve a portion that is enough for two full meals. Instead of making the plate clean, ask for a to go box and take it home to enjoy a second time!
3. Drinking Calories
These calories are so easy to ignore because they are quick to consume, available at every eating establishment and often accompany most social activities. For some it is the morning latte, for others it is the morning glass of juice. Others it is the afternoon pick me up soda or refreshing sweet tea or lemonade. Or the evening glasses of wine, beers or other adult beverages. And the most deceitful of all is the disguised "healthy" smoothie. Many obese people make a habit of consuming 200 or more Calories a day from beverages.
4. Ignore added fats
A common dangerous excuse I hear is "it is only a little." Ever found yourself thinking, "Oh it is only a little salad dressing or mayonnaise or creamer or butter or cooking oil" and on and on the lie goes. The problem is that fat is rich in Calories containing 9 Calories per gram as opposed to 4 Calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates. It only takes "a little fat" to equal a lot of Calories! Stop adding "just a little" and intentionally eat a small portion of unsaturated fats daily such as a handful of almonds or sliced avocado.
5. Consider normal daily tasks "Exercise"
Nothing screams obese like the person who says they exercised because they went to the grocery store this week. Normal daily tasks should not be viewed as exercise. Your body needs exercise in addition to the normal daily movement required for cleaning, shopping, walking the dog, and most jobs.
Hopefully knowing these five common pitfalls will help you achieve your weight loss goals. Avoid these 5 bad behaviors and begin your journey to a healthier you. I am cheering for you!!
Nutrition from the dietitian
Blog of Abrea Nutrition.