Sometimes we find ourselves stuck on a weight loss plateau, unable to make that number on the scale respond to our hard work. Even if you’re exercising regularly and eating the right foods, you might have found yourself frustrated by your body’s lack of response. There are many possible causes to this problem, but often we’re sabotaging our weight loss efforts without even knowing it. Watch out for these common diet saboteurs:
1. “Its healthy so I can eat all I want!” Many nutrient-dense foods are very low in calories – but some definitely are not! Even though foods like avocados and nuts are full of healthy vitamins, they’re also very full of calories. It’s important to watch portion sizes even with healthy foods.
2. “The box says it’s fat free!” Some of us equate “fat” with “will make me gain weight”. So when a box of cookies claims to be fat free, we think we can eat all we want. Remember that most snack foods are high in sugar, which means high in calories. Check out the nutritional information on the side of the package, and limit yourself to one serving.
3. Your serving sizes are way off-base. It’s easy to glance at a package and say to yourself, “Ok, one serving has 150 calories, so I’ll eat only one serving.” And yet you didn’t keep in mind what a “serving” really is! One serving does not equal the amount you can eat before feeling stuffed. We often end up eating three or four “servings”, and that 150 calories turns into 450 or even 600.
4. You’re not really hungry. Sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re actually just thirsty. When that mid-day urge to snack strikes, try downing two 8-ounce glasses of water first, and waiting a few minutes. You might find that your appetite wanes shortly afterward.
5. You have no idea how many calories you’re burning with exercise. Do you ever go for a jog around the block and think “Wow! I earned a cheeseburger tonight”? Actually, you probably earned about half a cookie! Use a smart phone app or another type of calorie calculator to keep track of the calories you really burn through exercise. Most likely, you’ll be surprised.
6. You aren’t getting enough sleep. Research has shown that sleep deprivation slows our metabolism and also makes us crave carbs. Make sure you’re getting the recommended seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night.