Sometimes, losing weight feels like rocket science. There are calories to count and carbs to watch. Different exercises build different muscles, while cardio can only be so much fun. Plus, when there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach, it takes some experimentation.
But if one thing’s for sure, certain habits will get in the way of weight loss. These behaviors are a bad choice for anyone, regardless of their health goals. They’re even worse if you’re trying to lose weight. As you figure out what works for you, manage these three habits as well. It just might be what you need to get on track.
3 Habits To Avoid For Weight Loss
1. Dining Out Can Ruin Your Diet
Eating at restaurants has its perks. You can socialize while someone else makes your food – and cleans up. It’s also an easy way to try new dishes. Unfortunately, dining out is one of the best ways to ruin your diet.
Regularly eating restaurant food is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and early death.
Compared to home-cooked meals, restaurant dishes rarely use fruits, veggies, and whole grains. This is especially true in fast-food restaurants. Most meals are high in calories, fat, and sodium. These energy-dense meals will hamper your weight-loss efforts. In 1977, only 18 percent of meals were eaten away from home. By 2005 to 2008, it increased to 32 percent.1 With an increasingly busy lifestyle everywhere, dining out is only becoming more popular.
Protect your weight-loss goals by cooking at home as much as possible. Prep for the week so you can pack food for work. Experiment with new dishes, ingredients, and cuisines to find something you love. The Internet has endless inspirations for healthy foods.
2. Skipping Meals Can Increase Hunger
Not eating seems like an easy way to lose weight, right? Wrong! It’s actually one of the worst habits, whether or not you’re trying to shed pounds. Skipping meals – especially breakfast – increases hunger later in the day. You’re more likely to give into cravings and overeat. In fact, ditching breakfast is linked to high blood cholesterol, poor glucose control, and weight gain.2
Make it easy for yourself by prepping for breakfast the night before. Even better, cook a make-ahead breakfast in the beginning of the week. Ideas include a quiche or healthy granola bars. This way, you won’t have to think about breakfast preparations every single day.
3. Eating While Distracted Can Increase Food Intake
These days, it’s normal to eat while working on a computer. It’s even more typical to eat while scrolling on a smartphone. We’ve gotten used to and love multitasking, with a lot of screen time. Unfortunately, this habit can make it hard to lose weight.
Distracted eating has a significant link with increased food intake, says The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, mindfulness has the opposite effect. The more attentive you are, the less food you’ll eat.3 Avoiding distracted eating will help with portion control as well as food choices.
Controlling these habits takes time and patience. Don’t be too hard on yourself and make drastic changes! By slowly dropping these habits, you’ll make more room for healthier decisions.
|↑1||Kant, Ashima K., Melanie I. Whitley, and Barry I. Graubard. “Away from home meals: associations with biomarkers of chronic disease and dietary intake in American adults, NHANES 2005-2010.” International journal of obesity (2005) 39, no. 5 (2015): 820.|
|↑2||Neumann, Brianna L., Amy Dunn, Dallas Johnson, J. D. Adams, and Jamie I. Baum. “Breakfast Macronutrient Composition Influences Thermic Effect of Feeding and Fat Oxidation in Young Women Who Habitually Skip Breakfast.” Nutrients 8, no. 8 (2016): 490.|
|↑3||Robinson, Eric, Paul Aveyard, Amanda Daley, Kate Jolly, Amanda Lewis, Deborah Lycett, and Suzanne Higgs. “Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2013): ajcn-045245.|