6 nutrition mistakes you always make that keep you fat
Start by performing triage on the six eating habits listed here. But don't try to banish them all at once. "Target just one or two behaviours at first—ones that you can make the most difference by changing," says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D., of St. Louis University.
The reason: Recent studies show that we have only so much willpower. That's why trying to break several bad habits at once can be overwhelming. But if you follow the slow and steady approach, you 'll increase your odds of sculpting a thinner, fitter physique—and keeping it for life.
1. Skipping 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. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn't have the energy to say no to the inevitable chowfest. So skipping a feed helps turn us into gluttons at night. Your starving brain "just doesn't have the fuel it needs to keep you on track, monitoring your diet."
(Related: 10 brain-boosting fish recipes)
Break it: This one's easy. Spread your calories out into three meals of about 500 calories each, and two snacks of 100 to 200 calories each, says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis. Most men who are trying to lose weight still need at least 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day, says Applegate. More important, change your mindset, she says. Think I'm going to start a new routine, not I'm going to restrict myself. Restriction leads to overeating.
Use the non diet approach: You're not denying yourself food, you're just eating it more slowly. Savoring it. Allowing your body some time so you don't keep eating when you're full. In an experiment published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &Metabolism,17healthymenate11/4cupsoficecream.Theyeitherscoffeditin5minutesortookhalfanhourtosavourit.AccordingtostudyauthorAlexanderKokkinos,M.D.,Ph.D.,levelsoffullness-causinghormones(calledPYYandGLP-1),whichsignalthebraintostopeating,werehigheramongthe30-minutemen.Inreallife,thescofferswouldn't feel as full and could be moving on to another course.
Break it: Your body is trying to tell you something, so give it a chance. Slow down and enjoy your food, says Dr. Kokkinos. Put away the newspaper and turn off the TV.
(Related: Is weight-loss the key to attractiveness?)
3. Pigging Out on WeekendsWeekend feasts can cause trouble beyond Sunday. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers used rats to examine the effects of palmitic acid on leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Palmitic acid is found in saturated fat, an ingredient often featured in your favourite weekend grub.
"We found that within 3 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. So a Friday to Sunday of burgers, fries, and wings may prime your brain to overeat on Monday.
(Related: The truth about trans fats)
Break it: You don't have to go cold turkey (though turkey on whole wheat is always smart). Your reward for a healthy week should be one meal where you can eat pretty much what you want. One is enough. After all, having an all-you-can-eat weekend is like eating poorly for nearly 30% of your week. That means you'd be eating well just 70% of the time. We call that a C minus. Do you really want below-average results?
4. Gorging on Salty Snacks
Sodium is insidious—it causes us to eat unconsciously. It adds up fast: popcorn at the movies, crisps during the Breaking Bad, and pork scratchings at the bar.
Break it: Not many men can replace their favorite snacks with carrots or celery, but give them a try: The crunch may be what you crave. Otherwise, try small amounts of low-sodium chips and pretzels. As you're cooking a dish, skip the salt and, if you want, add just a dash at the table. A little goes a long way.
(Related: Slash salts with these homemade tasty salads)
Alcohol, that is. 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—almost an extra day's worth. It can take more than 2 hours of running to burn that off. You call that a weight-loss plan?
Break it: Try quitting—for just a week. Check your weight and how your trousers fit. See if you can live on less. When you do drink, switch to lower-carb dry red wine (about 4 grams of carbohydrates compared with almost 13 in a regular beer) or low-carb beer.
6. Eating in Front of the TV, Then Dozing Off
It's a double whammy with a twist. You ingest calories while burning none, and sabotage your secret weight-loss weapon: sleep. Research confirms that people who eat in front of the tube consume more calories (nearly 300, in one study) than those who don't, and that the more TV they watch, the less active they are.
Break it: Donald Hensrud, M.D., medical editor-in-chief of The Mayo Clinic Diet, says, "If you want to watch TV, be active at the same time or go work out and come back—then you can treat yourself with some TV." And make your Sky+ earn its keep so you can go to bed on a regular schedule. Sleep is a fine habit when done correctly.
Video: My 8 Biggest Workout & Nutrition Mistakes (DON’T MAKE THEM)
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