Every small habit counts when you’re on a weight loss journey. But if you’re not careful, certain factors might slow down the progress. They’re hard to catch if you don’t know what to look for. To start with, take a step back and look at your habits. Are you guilty of these nutrition mishaps?
1. Eating Hidden Calories
Some calories are really sneaky. They hide in foods like store-bought granola bars, smoothies, and muffins. These products seem healthy, but the nutrition label tells a different story. Play it safe and make it yourself. At home, you can control every single ingredient while avoiding added sugar, salt, and preservatives.
2. Ruining Salads
Not all salads are equal. A layer of creamy, high-fat dressing basically negates all the good-for-you nutrients. One tablespoon of ranch dressing already has 64 calories! Choose something light like balsamic vinegar. Combine honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and mustard for a tangy dressing.1
3. Drinking Diet Soda
Diet soda is useful for weening yourself off of soda. Unfortunately, drinking too much diet soda will actually make you hungrier.2
Compared to real sugar, the artificial sweeteners satisfy different taste pathways. This means your sweet tooth will never be pleased! Instead, sugar cravings will just grow and grow. So, ditch the regular soda and work on cutting out the diet version as well. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit smoothies and infused water.3 4
4. Not Eating Enough Fiber
Fiber is the ultimate tool for weight loss. It increases satiety so you don’t feel ravenous so quick. Yet, only 5% of American adults eat enough.5
Aside from appetite control, fiber also controls blood sugar and cholesterol. It provides great protection against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Aim for 20 to 30 grams a day. To avoid constipation, increase your intake slowly. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber.6
5. Eating Salty Snacks
Salty snacks affect more than your blood pressure. If you eat too much, your waistline will take a hit. Sodium throws off your fluid balance by absorbing water. This causes urea, a waste product in urine, to build up in the kidneys. However, urea production is a demanding process, so it’ll take a lot of energy. The result is hunger.
Replace salty snacks with popcorn, nuts, or dried fruit. Just be sure these foods don’t have added salt, butter, or sugar.7
6. Not Drinking Enough Water
Hydration is a must for overall health. Water supports all of your body’s important functions, especially during exercise. Dehydration will make physical activity torture.
Furthermore, water is a natural appetite suppressant. Sip on water while waiting for food at a restaurant. Thirst can also show up as hunger, so drink some water before getting that second serving.8
7. Not Eating Solid Meals
Meal replacement shakes are very convenient, but they’re not fool-proof. The simple act of chewing and digesting solid food uses up more calories.
Even worse, liquid food does not increase satiety like solid food. You’ll feel hungrier than before, so it’ll work against weight loss. Eat whole, real meals whenever possible.9
Beyond your diet, develop a well-rounded fitness routine. Focus on both cardio and strength-training. Don’t forget that muscle burns more calories at rest than fat! Be consistent and you’ll be sure to see results.
|↑1||Basic Report: 04639, Salad dressing, ranch dressing, regular. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Artificial Sweeteners. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑3||Frank, Guido KW, Tyson A. Oberndorfer, Alan N. Simmons, Martin P. Paulus, Julie L. Fudge, Tony T. Yang, and Walter H. Kaye. “Sucrose activates human taste pathways differently from artificial sweetener.” Neuroimage 39, no. 4 (2008): 1559-1569.|
|↑4||Wang, Qiao-Ping, Yong Qi Lin, Lei Zhang, Yana A. Wilson, Lisa J. Oyston, James Cotterell, Yue Qi et al. “Sucralose promotes food intake through NPY and a neuronal fasting response.” Cell metabolism 24, no. 1 (2016): 75-90.|
|↑5||Lambeau, Kellen V., and Johnson W. McRorie. “Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy.” Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners 29, no. 4 (2017): 216-223.|
|↑6||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑7||Kitada, Kento, Steffen Daub, Yahua Zhang, Janet D. Klein, Daisuke Nakano, Tetyana Pedchenko, Louise Lantier et al. “High salt intake reprioritizes osmolyte and energy metabolism for body fluid conservation.” The Journal of clinical investigation 127, no. 5 (2017): 1944-1959.|
|↑8||Mattes, Richard D. “Hunger and thirst: issues in measurement and prediction of eating and drinking.” Physiology & behavior 100, no. 1 (2010): 22-32.|
|↑9||Pan, An, and Frank B. Hu. “Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: differences between liquid and solid food.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 14, no. 4 (2011): 385-390.|