Trying to lose weight is no easy feat. If you’ve been working out and still find the numbers on your weighing scale inching upwards, it could very well be due to your everyday lifestyle habits. If you are guilty of any of these 12, it’s time to kick them to prevent unnecessary weight gain.
#1 You lack sleep
Insufficient sleep affects the hormone leptin that suppresses appetite, so you may end up eating more than you should. Increased levels of fatigue will also make you less inclined to exercise. Researchers at the University of Turin found that a lack of sleep was associated with a 70 per cent risk of obesity.
#2 You sleep too much
Think twice before you decide to sleep in during the weekends – it could spell trouble for your waistline. Researchers from the University of Glasgow found that individuals who are genetically predisposed to being overweight increased their risk of obesity if they sleep more than nine hours a night.
#3 You skimp on calories
This weight loss method doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. In fact, it may be contributing to your expanding waistline. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism and makes you more hungry. Plus, you’ll experience stronger cravings that are hard to curb (P.S: here's how to curb them). Your body also becomes more inclined to store fats in order to provide energy.
#4 You overeat healthy foods
That salad may look skinny but it doesn’t mean you can eat without exercising portion control. The calories in salad ingredients like avocado, chicken and potatoes easily add up. Be aware of what’s in your salad and go easy on the dressing. Other healthy foods like nuts, which are high in fat, can also cause weight gain if consumed in excess.
#5 You don’t vary your workouts
Doing the same workout repeatedly causes your progress to stagnate as your body gets comfortable over time. If you have been going for the same HIIT class for weeks, consider switching things up with some strength training classes to work on your other muscle groups. Vary your exercises throughout the week. Don’t know where to start? This hip boxing gym might just be able to help you nail that killer wedding bod.
#6 You often have dishes to share during meals
Having meals in a buffet-style makes it hard to portion-control as you’ll be unaware of how much you’re eating and may end up reaching for more food than necessary. If you really must have those dishes, fill your plate with all that you need – so you can visualise what you’re eating at once – instead of taking small portions and going back for seconds.
#7 You eat while you're distracted
Sitting on your couch and having your meal over Netflix can contribute to belly fat. Many people choose to have their meals while watching or reading something to fully maximise time, but these distractions often cause you to eat more than necessary. Try not to multitask while you eat, take the time to enjoy your meal. Remember, mindfulness is key.
#8 You overdo your workouts
Working out excessively may be ruining your weight loss efforts. Pushing your body too hard increases your risk of injury and may hinder your progress. It can also raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol to encourage fat storage. Mix up your workouts by adding in some interval training. And don’t forget to give your body time to rest. If you just can’t go without a day of workout, opt for low-impact recovery exercises like cycling or swimming.
#9 You refuel with smoothies
Image: Viktoriia Borysenko/123rf.com
Even if you just survived a killer HIIT class, having a smoothie or protein shake on top of your meal may not be a good idea. Having a protein-rich meal is good enough to replenish your energy levels. The smoothie you are sipping on contributes to unnecessary calorie consumption. If you need to hydrate, go for plain water or low-sugar electrolyte drinks and look forward to a nutritious meal.
#10 You starve to indulge
Have you ever skipped a meal in preparation for the buffet dinner or after-work drinks with your friends? This can easily cause you to have trouble exercising portion control. Instead of starving yourself, snack on low-calorie, healthy foods like nuts or veggie sticks to prevent yourself from overeating later. And if you’re drinking alcohol, limit yourself to two drinks.
#11 You're easily pressured
It’s hard to stick to your diet plans if you’re a chronic sufferer of #FOMO. You will not hesitate to say yes to drinks and an unhealthy meal as long as someone asks. While it is nice to spend time with your friends and family over an indulgent meal, it may also cause you to consume extra calories. And those drinking sessions definitely aren’t going to help whittle down your waist. The next time your friend suggests going out for a meal, take the initiative to pick a place that serves healthy options.
#12 You eat too quickly
Take your time during meals by giving yourself at least 20 minutes to finish your food. Make sure you chew thoroughly as well, so that your brain has time to process that you are full. In a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found that participants consumed fewer calories when they ate slowly. Plus, they felt less hungry after the slow meal compared to a quick meal.
This story was originally published on Shape.