Trying to Lose a Few Pounds? Don’t Make These Mistakes

If you are trying to shed some pounds through diet and exercise it is easy to believe certain myths that will help the weight come off fast. But the fact is that they are myths because they simply do not work. This article from Women’s Health explains why the four common mistakes brought to attention will not help you lose weight.

With that in mind, we spoke with experts to find out what mealtime hangups could be keeping you from your #absgoals. Once you find out where you’re going wrong, it’s time to start tackling each habit, one at a time, says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D., of St. Louis University.

“Target just one or two of these behaviors at first—ones that you can make the most difference by changing,” says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D., of St. Louis University.

That’s because recent studies show that we have only so much willpower, which can make trying to break several bad habits at once overwhelming, says McDaniel. By following the slow and steady approach, you’ll increase your odds of sculpting a thinner, fitter physique—and keeping it for life, she says.

Let’s get started!

1. You Skip Meals or Snacks

Not eating can mess with your body’s ability to control your appetite. But it also destroys willpower, which is just as damaging. “Regulating yourself is a brain activity, and your brain runs on glucose,” says Kathleen Martin Ginis, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn’t have the energy to say no to the inevitable chow fest.

So skipping a feed turns us into gluttons at night. Your starving brain “just doesn’t have the fuel it needs to keep you on track, monitoring your diet,” says Martin Ginis.

Break it:  Change your mindset, says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Think, “I’m going to start a new routine,” not “I’m going to restrict myself,” she says. Restriction leads to overeating.

2. You’re Always Speed-Eating

You’re not denying yourself food, you’re just eating it slower, allowing your body time to digest so you don’t keep eating when you’re full. In an experiment published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 17 healthy men ate one-and-a-quarter cups of ice cream. They either scarfed it in five minutes or took half an hour to savor it. According to study’s author Alexander Kokkinos, M.D., Ph.D., levels of fullness hormones (called PYY and GLP-1), which signal the brain to stop eating, were higher among the 30-minute men. That means the guys who ate quickly didn’t feel as full as the dudes who took their time.

Break it: Your body is trying to tell you something, so give it a chance, says Kokkinos. Put away the newspaper, turn off the TV, and try this breathing trick from The Yoga Body Diet: Inhale while slowly counting to five, then exhale for the same amount of time. Repeat this three to five times before eating to start your meal in a mindful place.

3. You Pig Out on Weekends

For a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers used rats to examine the effects of palmitic acid, found in saturated fat, on leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. “We found that within three days, the saturated fat blunts or blocks the ability of leptin to regulate food intake and body weight,” says study author Deborah Clegg, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern medical center. That can prime your brain to overeat on Monday, says Clegg.

Break it: You don’t have to go cold turkey (though turkey on whole-wheat is always smart). McDaniel says that your reward for a healthy week should be one cheat meal, not an entire weekend of them. After all, having an all-you-can-eat weekend is like eating poorly for nearly 30 percent of your week.

4. You Drink Often

Here’s an exercise to start tonight: Write down how much beer, wine, and other drinks you consume in a week. (Use that cocktail napkin.) You may surprise yourself. Calculate the calories and expect another surprise. A reasonable-sounding two beers a night can mean more than 2,000 calories a week—roughly an extra day’s worth. Besides the empty calories, booze undermines your willpower, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. That leads to impulse orders of, say, Buffalo wings.

Break it: Try quitting—for just a week. Check your weight, how your pants fit, and see if you can live on less. When you do drink, switch to lower-carb dry red wine (about four grams of carbohydrates compared with almost 13 in a regular beer) or low-carb beer.

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/mistakes-keeping-you-fat

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