When you’re working long hours on the computer, running from one business lunch to the next and traveling nonstop, your diet and fitness goals sometimes get derailed in ways you don’t even think about. By running from one event to another and having days packed with meetings you may be unintentionally harming your health and keeping on extra weight. Here are 9 ways you may be sabotaging yourself without even realizing it.
Bad Habit #1: Eating Low Fat Foods
Foods that are labeled low-fat or fat free can save you a few calories, but they do this by replacing fat with sugar and other chemicals which are WORSE than fat. They digest more quickly, leave you with a sugar crash and leave you feeling hungry faster. The best approach is to eat with nutrition in mind. Remember: A low-fat donut is still a donut!
Bad Habit #2: Skipping Meals
Say it with me: SKIPPING MEALS MAKES YOU FAT and is one of the worst things you can do for your body and mind. Your metabolism slows down, and you’re much more likely to overeat later in the day. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who cut out breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. Rev up your metabolism by eating small portions of nutritious foods throughout the day – for breakfast, 1 cup of greek yogurt & berries are a fast, nutritious option. If you’re on the go, snack on a handful of pistachios or edamame. These will keep you full and satiated for about 200 calories.
Bad Habit #3: Eating Too Quickly
I’m definitely a victim of this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone for sushi at 8 and was finished by 8:05! I had to train myself away from this habit. A study from the University of Rhode Island found that those who ate slowly ate 1/3 less than those who ate fast. Your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your brain that you’re full. Every meal should take you at least 20 minutes to finish. Try and chew your food 20 times in each bite and pace yourself.
Bad Habit #4: Watching TV while you eat
When you watch television, you’re not fully concentrating on anything else that you’re doing, and this includes eating. Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that people who were distracted while eating a meal ate more snack food afterwards than those who were paying attention – most didn’t even remember all of what they ate!! Statistics also show you eat 5-10 times more when you eat while watching TV. If you’re going to snack while you watch television, snack on cut veggies or portion 2 cups of air pop popcorn and don’t refill. Frozen grapes are also great; it takes about 20 minutes to eat a cup.
Bad Habit #5: Taking Big Bites
I do this and it works: cut your food into smaller pieces, use a smaller fork or spoon. You increase enjoyment and take longer to eat, which increases your satisfaction. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took large bites of food consumed 52% more calories in one sitting than those who took small bites and chewed longer!
Bad Habit #6: Having Overweight Friends
If your friends or spouse overeat you’re 57% more likely to overeat too, according to research from the New England Journal of Medicine. I am NOT suggesting you cut ties with your overweight friends! Instead of going out to eat, plan social activities. You’ll have more fun together and burn calories instead of packing them on.
Bad Habit #7: Avoiding the Scale
Accountability is one of the best things you can do for your body, and a scale will help keep you on track. Stepping on a scale every other day keeps your goals and accomplishments fresh in your mind. Other ways of staying accountable? Smart phone apps that can help you track your diet programs, like Lose It, and tracking your calories burned with a heart rate monitor like Polar’s FT4, or a pedometer that counts the amount of steps you’re walking.
Bad Habit #8: Eating “Filler Foods” at Restaurants
Filler foods can be anything from the complimentary breadbasket they put on the table, to the pound of mashed potatoes that come with your skinless chicken breast. Here’s the thing, those ”Filler items” are very cheap and it’s disguised as either a value added at the beginning or a generous entrée. The reality is, it’s neither! Those things can add an additional 500 calories to your meal without even blinking. Ask your server if you can get cut veggies instead of the bread and a side salad instead of the potatoes or rice. Trust me; your waistline will thank you!
Bad Habit #9: Not Seeking Health & Fitness Advice
By you reading this article you’re going in the right direction. Reading about exercise and diet makes you more likely to improve your exercise and diet. Researchers in Canada sent diet and exercise advice to more than 1,000 people. Those that read the advice began eating better and working more exercise into their daily life. A little reading goes a long way! Just try following me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see. 😉