There are obvious things that can derail your diet and exercise plan. Over-eating, consuming too many calories via foods loaded with sugar, fat and carbohydrates, or skipping breakfast are certainly behaviors we know can contribute to struggles in your weight loss and fitness plan. But, there are hidden, unlikely culprits that can stagnate your healthy lifestyle.
1. "Health Foods"
Now, this sounds like an oxymoron. Since when have healthy foods caused problems in a diet? Well, since every major chain restaurant has adopted a "healthy foods menu" it has confused the average person trying to change his or her eating habits for the better. It's easy to think that choosing a salad over a steak is the better option. However, when that salad is loaded with cheese, croutons, bacon, and heavy dressing, it can rival any high calorie food on the menu.
Instead: When choosing a salad option, choose to hold the dressing on the side and be sure that you don't request all the trimmings that can easily take your low calorie food into high calorie, high fat territory.
2. Skipping Meals
Many people think that eating less over time is the way to lose weight. That's only partially true. If you skip too many meals, over time your body begins to hold on to every calorie you consume. In short, your body begins to hoard and store the calories you put in because it is convinced that you may be going into starvation mode otherwise.
Instead: Eat more small meals throughout the day. Instead of one or two large meals, eat five or six small meals that consist mainly of fruits, veggies, and protein.
3. Being Cold
Admittedly, if you're anemic you can't help being a bit chilly most of the time. But, when you are chronically cold, you run the risk of wanting foods that are warm, soothing and hearty to help warm you. However, most of those hearty foods are also high in calories.
Instead: This is an easy fix. First, find the real reason for your constant cold condition. If you're anemic, see if you need to supplement your iron intake. If that's not the case, then layer up. Carry a sweater and make sure you dress for the weather. If you live in a colder climate, add a workout to your normal routine and eat more calories in the form of a high protein snack.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
When you don't establish a regular sleeping pattern, your body is sent into a hormone wreck. Your leptin levels, which reduce appetite, are lowered and your ghrelin levels, which increase appetite, are raised. The result? Your lack of sleep contributes to overeating and indulging, when all you really need is more sleep.
Instead: Go to bed 30 to 45 minutes before you normally would and continue building more sleep into your nightly routine.