6 Habits RDs Blame For Sabotaging Weight Loss
By Jessica Migala
May 13, 2019
As well-meaning as you are about your weight-loss goals, there may be certain habits that hold you back — including ones related to sleep and mental health — you might not have considered. Here are six things that might be standing in your way of shedding those last few pounds and how to refocus on what matters:
𝟭) 𝗦𝗞𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗢𝗡 𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗙𝗔𝗦𝗧
The research about whether or not breakfast is a must goes back and forth. However, registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty often notices clients who are stalled in their efforts are eating too light a breakfast. In particular, people often “don’t eat adequate protein at breakfast, which means they’re missing a key opportunity to replace the protein that was broken down overnight.” If you continue to skip protein at breakfast, “it might lead to a sluggish metabolism over time,” she says.
What’s more, eating one piece of fruit or processed fare like packaged muffins won’t keep you full until lunch, which has a ripple effect on how well you function. “When my clients eat a more satisfying breakfast, they’re more energetic, less distracted by hunger, less irritable and more productive,” says Cassetty. Aim for 20–30 grams of protein by including options like cottage cheese or hard-boiled eggs, she says.
𝟮) 𝗟𝗔𝗖𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗠𝗔𝗚𝗡𝗘𝗦𝗜𝗨𝗠
Weight loss isn’t just about diet and exercise, and you’ve likely heard about how sleep is essential for a healthy weight. Skimping on zzz’s skews your hunger hormones, and you may find you reach for a sugary snack as a pick-me-up more often. Of course, committing to doing the things sleep experts preach (like stopping the pre-bed social media scroll) is important, but you probably also haven’t considered how your magnesium levels play a role in shut-eye. “Most people do not consume an adequate amount of the mineral, and this can interfere with proper sleep,” says Cassetty. Consider adding more magnesium-rich foods like almonds, tofu and leafy greens to your diet.
𝟯) 𝗕𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗦𝗘𝗟𝗙 𝗙𝗢𝗥 “𝗕𝗔𝗗” 𝗙𝗢𝗢𝗗𝗦
If you’re currently swimming in guilt over that brownie you just ate, it’s OK to relax about it. “No one food can lead to weight gain,” says Mary Jane Detroyer, RD. Often, believing you “blew it” with your diet can cause you to rebound eat, scarfing more food than you’re hungry for (or even want) because you’ll restart your diet tomorrow and “be good.” Giving up this all-or-nothing mindset and focusing on an 80/20 strategy, where you incorporate indulgences 20% of the time, may lead to a more well-balanced, sustainable diet.
𝟰) 𝗘𝗫𝗘𝗥𝗖𝗜𝗦𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗢𝗡𝗟𝗬 𝗧𝗢 𝗕𝗨𝗥𝗡 𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗢𝗥𝗜𝗘𝗦
“Exercise can make you hungrier, so you might overcompensate by eating more when trying to lose weight,” explains Cassetty. She encourages exercising for the sake of health — not simply to burn calories or negate your food intake. “I tell clients to have fun movement experiences,” which means doing something you truly enjoy or that’s new and exciting. It could be going for a walk, taking up swimming or learning to golf.
𝟱) 𝗟𝗘𝗧𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗗𝗜𝗘𝗧 𝗠𝗔𝗞𝗘 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗠𝗜𝗦𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗕𝗟𝗘
We often boil weight loss down to a math problem, but your emotional well-being is another major factor. “If someone is really unhappy in life, it can be hard to lose weight,” says Isabel Smith, RD. If a diet is too rigid — maybe it’s causing you to avoid dining out with friends — it won’t be sustainable for weight loss or encourage mental health.
Rather, a big factor in both happiness and weight loss success is surrounding yourself with positive connections. “Relationships that are supportive and feel good are the key to our success and happiness. When someone has this, it helps improve their quality of life, something that definitely correlates with overall health,” she says.
𝟲) 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗘𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗘𝗡𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛
The calories-in versus calories-out equation might sound simple, but the body is smart and designed to withstand famine. That means it will compensate for restriction by driving up hunger levels. “If you go on a regimented food plan that does not take into consideration your individual calorie needs or food likes or dislikes, it cannot last forever,” says Detroyer. If you’re tired all the time or struggling to break through a weight-loss plateau, it could be a signal you’re undereating. Speak with a professional who can help figure out the best plan to suit your needs, says Detroyer.
I found this article offers GREAT advice on weight loss. Far too often when dieting we allow our diet plan to control our life. That won’t work! Being a slave to a diet (ie giving up all carbs, beating yourself up for eating a piece of birthday cake, etc) will make you miserable. I frequently preach how much I dislike diets with crazy rules because they simply aren’t sustainable. Furthermore, if your diet is keeping you from enjoying meals with friends and family, what good is that for your mental health?
Additionally, I can’t stress enough the importance of a protein and fiber rich breakfast to start your day. Protein and fiber in the morning will set the tone for a successful day by filling you up so you’re not inclined to reach for the box of donuts or bagels your coworker brought to the office.
Eggs or overnight oats with nut butter, seeds, and berries will provide the bulk to sustain you easily until lunch which will in turn make you more likely to make smart choices at lunch. Simple carbohydrates for breakfast (donuts, bagels, Pop Tarts, muffins) will cause the dreaded carb crash and as dietitians know all too well, starting your day with simple carbs will only lead to craving more carbs. It’s a vicious cycle!
Finally, a good nights sleep is so important for our health. Adults should aim for at least 7 hours per night. If you’re prone to laying in bed watching late night TV, get the TV out of your bedroom! You’ll be amazed at how much better and energetic you’ll feel throughout the day when you get the proper amount of sleep. And you just may find removing the television will improve your love life too.😉
Image: Rick Elkins/Getty Images
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