Having trouble losing weight or keeping it off? If so, it’s likely that you’re sabotaging your diet with what we call “Fat Habits.” Taken from our new book, The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions, we’ve listed below the 6 worst fat habits from the most common diet wreckers, and offer up our “Slim Solutions.”
1. Overdoing “diet” foods and sugar substitutes
There are no “special” or “manufactured” foods required to lose and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, good-for-you unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins are probably the best foods to help you lose weight.
Many dieters get stuck on using pricey unhealthy “health” foods: diet foods, sugar substitutes, diet sodas and other calorie-reduced items that aren’t necessary and they aren’t always associated with diet success. Some studies even suggest sugar substitutes interfere with the body’s natural mechanisms to regulate caloric intake. Use diet foods and beverages sparingly and be mindful that they alone, will not equal diet success. A recent statement from health organizations say that if you use sugar substitutes as a replacement for foods and beverages with added sugars, they can help you cut calories. We suggest using sugar substitutes sparingly and limiting diet beverages.
2. Suffering from “perfect-eating syndrome”
Chronic dieters often adhere to strict all-or-nothing diets that are too restrictive and unrealistic. It’s like trying to walk on a tightrope for life, which explains their lack of success. We all will eventually fall off. Instead of thinking of a strict eating plan that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, focus on strategies that you can, with a little work, realistically live with.
You need to expect slip-ups to happen when you’re losing weight, so how you deal with a bad day, week or month helps predict success. Individuals who can lose and maintain weight loss can be flexible enough with themselves to bounce back to healthy eating. Think: Life Happens or as we like to say, #$%! Happens! And start fresh tomorrow.
3. Letting yourself slip & slide
We don’t know how many people tell us that they just can’t lose weight, and they’re eating perfectly. When we ask them, “What did you eat yesterday?” most can’t tell us what they ate 10 minutes ago! When we really delve in to their diet, they see all the little nibbles and extra calories that they’re mindlessly eating. To keep honest and win at losing, try to weigh yourself at least once a week and track everything you eat and drink at least 5 days a week. There are several great free online sources for tracking your diet, including MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople.
4. Eating while distracted
If you eat and do anything else at the same time, you’ve got a seriously bad habit to address. There’s significant research showing that adults and children who have the most screen time, (computer, smart phones, videos, TV) are more likely to be overweight or obese. But scientists say it’s not because they get less exercise.
Studies show that distracted eaters gobble up to 100% more after a meal compared to non-distracted eaters, and those who watch TV while eating consume 20-100% more calories compared to individuals who eat without distractions. And, at the same time, distracted eaters reported being less satisfied. To increase satisfaction of meals and snacks, you need to only eat. When the brain is distracted, it takes significantly more calories to get the same level of satiety.
5. Drinking too many liquid calories.
New research shows that we’re drinking a greater proportion of our calories than ever before. In fact, one-quarter of the population consumes nearly 300 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavored water and gourmet coffee drinks. The problem with drinking our calories is that they’re less satisfying than when we eat foods, so we’re unlikely to eat less even when we drink more calories. In addition, most beverages with calories get their calories from nothing other than sugar. This sugar is rapidly absorbed by the body and may increase risk for metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes and may increase hunger and cravings. It’s important to think before you drink.
6. Skimping on your zzzs.
This may be the easiest of all fat habits to break. All you need to do is get more sleep. Several studies have recently found that sleeping 6-8 hours a night was found to double dieters chances at losing at least 10 pounds over the 26-week study. If you really want to be a diet success story, make the changes needed in your life so you can get enough sleep.