You might think you are making healthy choices, but actually be unconsciously sabotaging your weight loss attempts.
Here are six things that you should be thinking about as you try to lose that extra weight.
1. Avoid using reusable shopping bags.
Okay, the environmentalists out there may hate this one, but your waistline might appreciate it. A recent study conducted by Harvard Business School found that people who bring their own grocery bags to the store are more likely to throw some junk food into the cart along the way.
The researchers concluded that bringing the reusable bags makes us feel good, and we ultimately reward ourselves with a sweet or salty treat. You don’t have to switch back to plastic, just realize that you are helping the environment as part of your responsibility and you don’t necessarily deserve a prize for doing so!
2. You are overly focused on one nutrient.
Those who are supremely committed to certain diet fads, like low-carb or low-fat, end up over focused on specific nutrients. Instead of setting strict limits on what you can and cannot eat, realize that studies show that eating low-fat dairy can lead to carb binging, and low fat food labels make us eat more.
Eating fat helps you feel fuller longer, and when you remove it entirely from your diet you will be hungrier—probably leading you to eat more or snack on unhealthy choices. Make sure your diet contains a wide variety of nutrients, whole foods, and no super strict limits.
3. You buy too much “health food”.
When food manufacturers utilize “fitness branding,” researchers found that these foods are automatically perceived as being more healthy than they may actually be. Researchers think that many people may consider health foods as a good substitute for exercise.
Regardless of how healthy your diet is, you do need to get some exercise for good health. And be sure to read the labels so you know what is really inside the package.
4. You focus on counting calories.
When you are trying to lose weight, counting calories is not necessarily the most important thing you need to worry about. In fact, researchers have found that using calorie counting as a weight loss strategy fails almost all the time. When you consume too few calories, your body enters a “starvation mode,” which slows your metabolism and causes you to burn fewer calories and lose less weight.
When you focus too much on the calories, you may be getting the wrong nutrients. For example, a sugary granola bar has fewer calories than ¼ cup of almonds, but the almonds contain far more nutrients, including fat, fibre, and protein. If you stick to healthy, whole foods in proper portions, you won’t have to count calories.
5. You view foods as “good” or “evil”.
If you are dead set on thinking that spinach is a “good” food and donuts are “evil,” then you are going to have a great deal of guilt when you eventually indulge in something “evil.” This doesn’t help your weight loss efforts at all.
In fact, a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto had participants weigh themselves on inaccurate scales that had been calibrated to show dieters they had gained five pounds. These people tended to feel more shame, and then indulged again to fight the emotional guilt. When you are so proud of yourself for eating only “good” foods, you may reward yourself with an “evil” treat. Ultimately, eating a balanced diet, with the occasional indulgence, is going to be best for your weight loss goals.
6. You never change your routine.
Do you eat the same foods every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? This can cause a cycle of total food boredom, and lead you to indulge unnecessarily. It can also affect the balance of bacteria in the gut, and cause other problems.
Make sure your diet is varied, and contains a wide variety of healthy choices, for every meal of the day. This will help control your weight, your blood sugar, and hypertension. Change things now and then, keep yourself interested in your meals, and keep your body functioning in top form.
You may not even realize that these supposedly healthy habits are interfering with your weight loss goals. Make some small changes and see some big differences!