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 โ€” including ones related to sleep and mental health โ€” 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:

๐Ÿญ) ๐—ฆ๐—ž๐—œ๐— ๐—ฃ๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ข๐—ก ๐—•๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—”๐—ž๐—™๐—”๐—ฆ๐—ง

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 โ€œdonโ€™t eat adequate protein at breakfast, which means theyโ€™re missing a key opportunity to replace the protein that was broken down overnight.โ€ If you continue to skip protein at breakfast, โ€œit might lead to a sluggish metabolism over time,โ€ she says.

Whatโ€™s more, eating one piece of fruit or processed fare like packaged muffins wonโ€™t keep you full until lunch, which has a ripple effect on how well you function. โ€œWhen my clients eat a more satisfying breakfast, theyโ€™re more energetic, less distracted by hunger, less irritable and more productive,โ€ says Cassetty. Aim for 20โ€“30 grams of protein by including options like cottage cheese or hard-boiled eggs, she says.

๐Ÿฎ) ๐—Ÿ๐—”๐—–๐—ž๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐— ๐—”๐—š๐—ก๐—˜๐—ฆ๐—œ๐—จ๐— 

Weight loss isnโ€™t just about diet and exercise, and youโ€™ve likely heard about how sleep is essential for a healthy weight. Skimping on zzzโ€™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 havenโ€™t considered how your magnesium levels play a role in shut-eye. โ€œMost people do not consume an adequate amount of the mineral, and this can interfere with proper sleep,โ€ says Cassetty. Consider adding more magnesium-rich foods like almonds, tofu and leafy greens to your diet.

๐Ÿฏ) ๐—•๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—”๐—ง๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ๐—ฅ๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—Ÿ๐—™ ๐—™๐—ข๐—ฅ โ€œ๐—•๐—”๐——โ€ ๐—™๐—ข๐—ข๐——๐—ฆ

If youโ€™re currently swimming in guilt over that brownie you just ate, itโ€™s OK to relax about it. โ€œNo one food can lead to weight gain,โ€ says Mary Jane Detroyer, RD. Often, believing you โ€œblew itโ€ with your diet can cause you to rebound eat, scarfing more food than youโ€™re hungry for (or even want) because youโ€™ll restart your diet tomorrow and โ€œbe good.โ€ 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.

๐Ÿฐ) ๐—˜๐—ซ๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—–๐—œ๐—ฆ๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ข๐—ก๐—Ÿ๐—ฌ ๐—ง๐—ข ๐—•๐—จ๐—ฅ๐—ก ๐—–๐—”๐—Ÿ๐—ข๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—˜๐—ฆ

โ€œExercise can make you hungrier, so you might overcompensate by eating more when trying to lose weight,โ€ explains Cassetty. She encourages exercising for the sake of health โ€” not simply to burn calories or negate your food intake. โ€œI tell clients to have fun movement experiences,โ€ which means doing something you truly enjoy or thatโ€™s new and exciting. It could be going for a walk, taking up swimming or learning to golf.

๐Ÿฑ) ๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—ง๐—ง๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ๐—ฅ ๐——๐—œ๐—˜๐—ง ๐— ๐—”๐—ž๐—˜ ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ ๐— ๐—œ๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—”๐—•๐—Ÿ๐—˜

We often boil weight loss down to a math problem, but your emotional well-being is another major factor. โ€œIf someone is really unhappy in life, it can be hard to lose weight,โ€ says Isabel Smith, RD. If a diet is too rigid โ€” maybe itโ€™s causing you to avoid dining out with friends โ€” it wonโ€™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. โ€œRelationships 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,โ€ she says.

๐Ÿฒ) ๐—ก๐—ข๐—ง ๐—˜๐—”๐—ง๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—˜๐—ก๐—ข๐—จ๐—š๐—›

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. โ€œIf 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,โ€ says Detroyer. If youโ€™re tired all the time or struggling to break through a weight-loss plateau, it could be a signal youโ€™re undereating. Speak with a professional who can help figure out the best plan to suit your needs, says Detroyer.

๐—ฅ๐—ข๐—กโ€™๐—ฆ ๐—ง๐—›๐—ข๐—จ๐—š๐—›๐—ง๐—ฆ-

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 wonโ€™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 arenโ€™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 canโ€™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 youโ€™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. Itโ€™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 youโ€™re prone to laying in bed watching late night TV, get the TV out of your bedroom! Youโ€™ll be amazed at how much better and energetic youโ€™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.๐Ÿ˜‰

Image: Rick Elkins/Getty Images

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