If you’re trying to shed excess pounds and some habits that may be contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle, you know the process of getting on a better path can be complicated and frustrating at times. Not all foods and fads are created equal. Things you may think are working in your favor may actually be derailing your goals for sustained weight loss. Here are a few likely saboteurs.
Being able to decipher the jargon on nutrition labels is a smart skill to learn. It’s easy to be fooled by claims of “Lite” and “Fat Free”. Many of these claims are unsubstantiated and are used in comparison to the full-fat version of the same product. Just because an item states it is low in fat doesn’t mean it is without tons of sugar, carbohydrates, sodium and emulsifiers.
Emulsifiers are especially nasty substances that can do a number on your body by altering bacteria in your gut, triggering inflammation and increasing your risk for obesity and heart disease. If you see words like lecithins, mono- and di-glycerides, polyglycerol ester, sorbitan ester and sugar ester on a product label, look for a healthier alternative. When possible, opt for minimally processed or unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, legumes and nuts.
Too Much Protein
While protein is an important part of a healthy diet, too much of a good thing can block your weight loss success. As a rule of thumb: If it runs, jumps, swims or flies, it tends to be good protein. Whereas, relying on protein powders or shakes can mean you take in lots of sugar and other additives. Under certain circumstances, these may be appropriate to fall back on but you can probably get adequate protein through a well-balanced diet.
Not Enough Water
Failure to drink enough water throughout the day is a major factor in blocking weight loss progress. Water helps you feel full, which helps to curb your appetite. A proper supply of water is needed to help the body burn fat. Plus, it’s necessary for digestion and to prevent dehydration. Six to eight, 8-ounce glasses are generally recommended by dietitians and weight loss experts. You may need more or less, depending on the climate in which you live, your overall health and how much exercise you do.
Thinking that fat will make you fat is a common misconception.. In reality, you need it to stave off hunger for hours at a time, to provide a clear mind and to function properly throughout the day. Incorporating healthy-fat choices such as avocados, coconut oil, fish, nuts and seeds will go a long way in helping you fill mentally and physically satisfied. Just enjoy them in moderation.
Sacrificing a Meal
It seems logical to think that if you skip a meal or drastically cut your food intake, you’ll cut out more calories over the course of the day and lose weight — but it rarely works that way. Skipping meals and cutting back invariably leads to uncontrollable hunger and overeating. Instead, try making a meal plan that allows you to spread out your daily calories over three meals and one or two snacks. You’ll find it’s easier to practice portion control when you know you’ll be eating again in a few hours. You’ll also be less likely to be in a starve-then-binge pattern of eating.
Eating Too Fast
It takes time for the signal from your stomach to get to your brain that you’ve just eaten. Without that signal, you may be inclined to keep eating until you’re full — and then end up stuffed. Instead, slow down, put your fork down between bites and try to stretch your meal to at least 20 minutes. It’s best to stop eating when you’ve reached the point of feeling fairly full.
Rewarding Exercise with Food
Exercise is a great thing, but be careful not to get fooled into thinking you’ve burned enough calories during a workout to indulge in a big meal or special treat. Online resources are available to help you figure out how many calories you actually burn when you exercise and can provide a comparison to the calories you’re tempted to take in afterwards. Try keeping a log of the type of exercise you do and the amount of time you spend doing it as a way to track what you’re taking in and what you’re burning.
Gain the Upper Hand
If you practice better eating and lifestyle habits and still find you’re not gaining the upper hand in your weight loss, Dr. Michael Lee at Lee Bariatrics, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice, can help you determine if weight loss surgery is an option for you. Just remember that it’s best not to wait to visit with a bariatric surgeon until you’ve exhausted a good deal of time and money on products and programs that don’t get you to your weight loss goals. With offices in Denton and Prosper, now is a great time to talk with the staff at Lee Bariatrics about creating a lasting weight loss plan.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee and a complimentary visit with our registered dietician specializing in bariatrics, by calling 1-888-225-9514.
The above is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the medical guidance from and discussion with your physician.