Have you been trying to lose the extra pounds but feel like you aren’t making an progress? Have you begun eating healthier, exercising more but still can’t seem to shed the extra fat?
Here are 5 things that you may be doing that could be preventing you from meeting your goals.
- Drinking sugary drinks – There are many drinks that contain high amounts of sugar. Often, these drinks contain the daily value of sugary (or more) in one 12 ounce drink! According to the American Heart Association, the daily limit for sugar for the average person is 24 grams. Most sugary drinks contain more than 24 grams of sugar, so if you drink just one drink and then add in all the other foods, even if you are eating “healthier”, you are probably going well over that 24 gram mark a day. And the extra sugar will just end up as fat if it’s not burned. The extra sugar every day is also what leads to Type 2 Diabetes. Here is a list of drinks that contain that, and most likely more than 24 grams: Lemonade, Sweet Tea, Regular Soda, Tall (small) Frappuccinos/Frappes (from Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, etc), Sweetened Iced Coffees, Juices (except freshly squeezed), Energy Drinks, Hot Chocolate and Chocolate milk. I had someone tell me that the rule of thumb, if you are looking to eat healthier, to look at the label and only eat or drink an item that contains 5 grams of sugar or less per serving. If you are tracking your calories in an app, you may begin to learn the amount of sugar each food and drink item contain. But if you don’t want to go through all that hassle, it may just be easier to limit your drinks to water, unsweetened teas and black coffee.
- Mindless Eating – Have you ever come home from a long day at the office and didn’t feel like cooking, so you grabbed a bag of potato chips and sat down on the couch to watch some Netflix? I call this mindless eating. You don’t exactly know how many calories are in the bag of chips and you end of eating the whole bag in one sitting. While yes, that bag of chips may have satisfied your hunger, it doesn’t have a diverse amount of nutrients. Our body uses nutrients differently for different functions. This is why the nutrition experts suggest to have a “balanced diet”. Eating one or 2 nutrients won’t end up being used fully by the body, and the extra will then just go to waste or be added as excess fat.
- Eating Fast Food – While I have managed to find healthier food and drink options on menus at fast food restaurants, they are few and far between. And even though restaurants are going the extra mile to add calorie counts on their menu items, they often don’t give the macro nutrients (fat, sugar and protein). Plus the way food it cooked also plays a roll in how healthy it is for you. And fried food is the absolute worst for your heart and body. Fried is the most popular method of cooking for fast foods since it cooks FAST! And higher fat foods just taste better, so why would a fast food restaurant cooker more slowly using low fat foods when they know it wouldn’t appeal to their customers? If you find it necessary to eat out a certain amount of times a week due to lack of time, try to look for grilled protein (white chicken with no breading), water, and salads with low fat / sugar dressing options. I have found that I can find many fresh / pre-made meals at the local grocery store that only require a microwave to heat up or a pre-made salad with grilled chicken and vegetables. If I’m really trying to cut calories, I’ll buy a bag of apples, carrots and sugar snap peas and leave them in the fridge at work and have those for my lunch and snacks.
- Not Exercising – I remember enrolling at a gym and getting a pre-screening done where the trainer took my Body Mass Index and found how many calories I was burning at rest. At that time I was about 5 pounds lighter than I am right now but way thinner. He first asked me, “Are you eating?” The scale said I was burning 1300 calories at rest. That means if I didn’t do any exercise during the day, I could only eat 1300 calories a day to maintain my weight. This also meant I had very little muscle because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does. At the time, I had 3 children under the age of 8. So my exercise usually consisted of a bunch of walking (not a bad thing) and some lifting of a toddler. I have since added more cardio and weight lifting to my routine. I am a little heavier than I was 10 years ago, but I can eat more during the day (about 2000 calories) without gaining weight. Besides keeping the weight off, exercising will also help improve your heart health, keep fat off your liver and improve your overall physical and mental health.
- Eating too many Grains – Did you grow up like I did learning about the “Food Pyramid“? Did you remember what was on the bottom? Whole grains – such as pasta, bread, cereal and rice. These contain a lot of carbohydrates that when eaten in excess, turn to fat. So if you add that to the sugary drinks, then this may be the reason why you aren’t losing weight. Many nutrition experts have now come up with a different looking Food Pyramid which is now referred to as the Healthy Eating Pyramid.
If you notice, the “Whole Grains” section moved up and is only in a third of that section. And it only includes Whole Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice and Oats (Not white Pasta or bread). So in reality, you should probably be eating just 1-2 servings a day of these whole grains. A couple years ago, I decided to limit pasta and bread. While I still occasionally eat it, I don’t have it every day. Maybe once or twice a week. This helped me lose a couple of pounds and not gain it back.
If you do stop doing all of these things above, then I’m sure you’ll start seeing progress in losing the extra weight. If not, then maybe there are other things you need to take a look at, but if you are overweight, you really can’t go wrong here. And hold yourself accountable. If you can’t, seek out someone who you can be honest with and who will help hold you accountable.
If you want some more coaching in this area, please fill out the form and I will get back to you!