1. You’re not listening to your body
We have become over-reliant on the media and tools like food trackers, apps, diet plans and overly pushy trainers who tell us when to eat and exactly how much. We eat what we’re told to eat, even if we’re not hungry. Or, we just completely ignore what our body is telling us. Who has ever reached in for 5 whole wheat crackers and ate the whole box even though you weren’t even hungry?
We completely lose touch with our bodies’ natural ability to tell us what it needs when we become over-reliant on technology and others to control our eating- which is one of the most basic and ingrained human functions for survival. It has taught us to distrust ourselves and our decisions.
Here’s how your body works to control your appetite: Ghrelin, Leptin, Neuropeptide Y, Adiponectin and Cholecystokinin. These hormones are responsible for signaling hunger when we need fuel and signaling satiety when we’ve had enough. You were born with a natural “alarm” system, so why not use it?
THE FIX: Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are 70% full
It’s really that simple.
Our bodies are much smarter than we give them credit for. I don’t care if you’ve heard someone tell you “eat 5 small meals a day, every day no matter what!” 1,000 times. Every person on this planet is different. The important thing to focus on is the quality of your food choices and what your meals consist of.
If you work out regularly, your appetite and metabolism are more likely to be higher than someone who is sedentary. So it is true that the more you work out, the more food you will need to fuel your body. Your body will adjust naturally, and send hunger pangs more frequently to tell you it’s time to fuel up.
For anyone who struggles with listening to your body signals, I have two recommendations:
A) A book called Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole
B) Begin using a hunger scale to track your appetite and satiety levels. As you do this, you will begin to learn how to recognize when your hunger levels tend to peak and how much food it takes for you to get full and fueled. To learn more about using a hunger scale, please click here
2. You’re overdoing it on “fat free” items
Fat free does not equal trouble free.
Often when manufacturers take out fat from an item, the flavor goes with it. They will then restore the flavor by adding in sugar, salt, thickeners and flours which add empty calories.
Fat is essential for health and weight loss.
Certain fat’s such as linoleic acid (omega-6) and α-linolenic (omega-3) are essential nutrients that we must get from food. Without fat, we cannot digest, absorb or store Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Healthy fats aid in weight loss by helping us stay full, longer. If we skimp on the fat, research shows we are more likely to consume excess sugar.
THE FIX: Change your mindset to ‘good fats’ instead of ‘no fats’
The American Heart Association recommends consuming about 30% of your total calories from fat. For a typical 2,000 calorie/day diet, that comes out to about 67 grams.
Choose ‘good fats’:
- Monounsaturated Fats
Found in foods such as extra virgin olive oil, almonds, and avocado’s.
- Polyunsaturated Fats
Found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, tofu and soymilk.
3. You’ve forgotten about water
You’ve had a crazy busy day, 5 o’clock has come around and you realize all you’ve had to drink today was your coffee this morning and a water bottle after lunch. It’s very easy to do, but such a weight loss no-no.
According to a study by the CDC, only 22% of American’s get 8 cups or more of water per day.
Water doesn’t directly affect weight loss (as in it isn’t responsible for magically burning fat), but it does help with weight loss. Let me explain.
Many people confuse thirst for hunger (which brings us back to point #1 above, getting to know our hunger signals). Often times we are really thirsty but we eat instead, thinking that it’s hunger knocking on our tummies.
THE FIX: 8 cups per day, minimum
Make it a point to drink 1 glass of water right when you wake up in the morning, and also drink 1 glass before every meal.
You should carry around a water bottle in your bag or purse that you can also refill throughout the day.
Another tip I have given people who use plastic throw-away water bottles is to use the same one all day and keep a tally mark on the bottle to track how much water you’ve had.
4. You pay with plastic
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that when you buy your groceries with a credit card you are much more likely to purchase and consume unhealthy foods. This is not the first study that has shown credit cards influence a buyers behavior.
Paying in cash is more “painful” and we experience the cost of our actions right then and there. You are more conscious with your money when you buy things with cash, and you are less likely to waste money by purchasing things you know aren’t good for you (unhealthy foods).
THE FIX: Cash only for groceries
Buy your groceries with cash and bring a shopping list .
Make your first grocery stop on the weekends your local farmers market. Often times they prefer cash, so it will be a good habit to start forming. You also can’t go too wrong at a farmers market where you are surrounded by fresh fruits, vegetables and organic dairy and eggs!
5. You sit still at work
You may workout 4 days a week for 60 minutes at the gym, but what are you doing the rest of the day?
Staying sedentary during the workday and drowning out in front of a computer does no good for our metabolism, our waist-line, our eyes OR our psychological well-being.
THE FIX: Get up every 60 minutes
It is important to keep ourselves active throughout the work day, even if its only a walk around the office 1 time per hour or switching between sitting and standing at our desks. Doing this will keep your metabolism running high and can burn anywhere from 75-250 extra calories during the day.
If you have any other weight loss barriers that you’ve encountered, let other readers know in the comments below!