Eating habits you should drop now

BLOG 831. Drinking too often

After one drink, people inhibitions are lowered and their appetite spikes. That combo — in addition to the extra calories in the cocktails themselves — results in consuming hundreds of surplus calories. And it happens more often than they realize, because most people underestimate how much they drink until they begin keeping a food diary. The good news is when they consciously cut back, they drop weight. If you think you may be in the same situation, become a teetotaler for a 30 days, or commit to limiting alcohol in specific ways, such as only drinking one night per week, or 2 times per month. The results can be dramatic.

2. Eating diet foods

First, they’re usually packed with lots of unwanted additives and impossible-to-pronounce ingredients. And let’s face it, they’re just not filling or satisfying. After eating a frozen diet entrée, bar or dessert, you were left with lingering hunger and thoughts of food, which led to nibbling on other foods. As a result, you wind up taking in far more calories than they would have if they had prepared a healthy, satisfying meal. A 2010 study found that we burn about 50% more calories metabolizing whole foods versus processed foods. Therefore, is more likely break a weight-loss plateau when you ditch diet foods and start eating more calories from fresh, whole foods.

3. Oveareating healthy foods

It’s incredible when people fall in love with healthy fare like veggies, lentils, and whole grains. The only sticking point is they sometimes eat too much. For example, a person can change his regular meal of 5 tortillas for wild rice, which is fantastic!!, but his wild rise portion is too large given that he sat at a desk all day, and in addition he put avocado to his salad, avocado is a healthy food but it has too much fat and you have to limit its consume. The truth is, while whole foods are nutrient rich and they enhance metabolism, you can overdo it. To prevent that, listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and use visuals to guide your portions. For example, a serving of fruit should be about the size of a tennis ball.

4. Skipping meals

Going long stretches without eating can create two unwanted side effects that undermine weight loss. First, you’ll likely burn fewer calories as a way to compensate for not having fuel when you need it. Second, you’ll up your chances of overeating at night, when your activity level is low. Several studies have found that it’s not just your overall daily calories, but also when you eat them that matters. A good rule of thumb is to eat larger meals before your more active hours, smaller meals before less active hours and never let more than four to five hours go by without eating.

5. Counting calories

Aside from the fact that the quality and timing of the calories you consume is critical for weight loss success, the practice of counting calories can backfire. One study found that even without limitations, calorie counting made women more stressed. Nobody wants that. Plus, an increase in stress can cause a spike in cortisol, a hormone known to rev up appetite, increase cravings for fatty and sugary foods and up belly fat storage. Also, the calorie info available on packaged foods or on restaurant menus isn’t a perfect system. I’m not saying that calorie info is meaningless, but I do think there are more effective and less cumbersome ways to shed pounds.

6. Shunning good fat

Despite the best attempts to dispel the notion that eating fat makes you fat, all the people have remained fat-phobic. But eating the right fats is a smart weight loss strategy. In addition to quelling inflammation — a known trigger of premature aging and diseases including obesity — healthy fats are incredibly satisfying. They delay stomach emptying to keep you fuller longer, and research shows that plant-based fats like olive oil and nuts up appetite-suppressing hormones. Plant fats have also been shown to boost metabolism, and they can be rich sources of antioxidants. Aim to include a portion in every meal.

7. Emotional eating

The habit of reaching for food due to boredom, anxiety, anger or even happiness is by far the number one obstacle my clients face when trying to lose weight. We’re practically taught from birth to connect food and feelings. I’ve heard stories about people being rewarded with treats after a good report card or a winning game, or being consoled with food after being teased at school or going to the dentist. We bond over food, bring it to grieving, use it to celebrate or turn to it as a way to stuff down uncomfortable feelings. It’s a pattern that’s socially accepted and it’s challenging to overcome. But it’s not impossible. And even if you found non-food alternatives to addressing your emotional needs 50 percent of the time, I guarantee you’ll lose weight. Instead of a fad diet, consider making this your New Year’s resolution — while you can’t break all the patterns overnight, this change may be the most important and impactful for weight loss success.