It’s not just what you eat which could be spoiling all of your carefully laid diet plans to lose weight, it’s how you’re eating.
We all want to lose weight as quickly as possible. However, for all the sweat and toil we go through in the gym, many of us are compromising all those efforts with bad eating habits. Each of these, in their own ways, can counteract all the good work done. Here are seven bad eating habits that many of us are guilty of that we need to stop if we want to lose weight.
Making snacks too easily available
Snacking can be deadly to your diet. While you may make healthy and nutritious meals, the calories you snack on in between can easily mount up. This can be particularly problematic in offices where people have snacks by their desks or pass around cake. The more accessible snacks are, the harder they are to avoid.
The same problem can occur at home. If you’re keeping unhealthy snacks and sweets in easy reach, you’re making everything much harder. You can try filling eye level and easy to reach storage space with healthier snack alternatives.
If you do feel the need to eat between meals, you can switch to vegetables. For example, chopped up carrots can be a good mid-morning snack and a much healthier replacement for crisps.
Don’t believe the advertising
It’s easy to fool ourselves into eating healthily by taking the claims made by advertisers at face value. Even the likes of McDonalds try to boost the health credentials of their meals. That doesn’t mean that what they are selling you is any good – just that it’s a slightly healthier alternative to something which is even worse. For example, you might have a pack of biscuits which promises to use all natural, organic, ingredients but they are still biscuits. They still contain calories which can throw weight loss plans into chaos.
The same is true for health bars. These may contain lots of healthy ingredients such as fruits and nuts, but they can also be calorie rich. True they are better than a Mars Bar, but it still adds to our daily intake of calories.
Eating on the go
Many of us practise something called ‘distracted eating,’ even at mealtimes. Everything about our lifestyles plugs this into our routines whether it’s grabbing breakfast on the go in the mornings or eating in front of the television. Even reading a book can distract us from a meal.
Whatever activity we do while we eat, it can distract us from our meal. We’ll be more likely to eat more quickly and go back for more. Over the course of the day, it can lead to a significant increase in the number of calories we consume.
Instead, you can try to focus on our meals and take time to enjoy them. The chances are you’ll eat more slowly and feel fuller. In short, if you’re doing something else while eating, subconsciously you won’t feel that you’ve got much value from your meal, and you might be more likely to see out something else.
Eating while cooking
It is, of course, a very good idea to spend time cooking. However, this can also create an opportunity for increased calories. When we try to lose weight, we may keep count of the calories we consume throughout the day. However, in many cases we underestimate exactly how many we are eating. That’s often due to grazing during other activities.
Food prep is a time when we’re most at risk. For example, dipping into the sauce to taste it or licking the spoon all add to calories. You’ll effectively be eating without thinking about it. At the end of the day, the actual number of calories you are consuming may be much higher than the calories you’re recording.
Calorie counting can often focus on food, but throughout the day we may often be taking drinks which contain calories. For example, coffee with milk and sugar could boost your daily energy intake by a couple of hundred calories per day. Over the course of the week or a month, that will lead to a couple of extra pounds.
Eliminating these calories is relatively easy. All you have to do is switch to unsweetened alternatives, such as water, herbal tea or black coffee. These will keep you hydrated and give you a caffeine kick, without adding to your calories.
Cleaning your plate
We live in a culture in which it is considered polite to clean our plates. Indeed, many of us will have had this hammered into us by our parents. In doing so, we often eat more than we need to in any one sitting. Eating beyond the point of feeling full can be the difference between a meal which costs us 700 of our daily calorie allowance and one which consumes a full thousand.
This is also a problem with distracted eating. When we’re not focusing on our meals we can eat beyond the level of fullness. To improve things, we can try to eat more slowly. This allows our body to process the fact that we’re eating and will leave us feeling more satisfied at the end of the meal.
Thanks to the magic of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and other food delivery services it has never been easier to eat in, especially if you live in a city. If you’re busy this can feel like a faster and more convenient way to get dinner out of the way. Unfortunately, those burgers and pizzas you’re getting in are packed with fat and calories.
While it can take more time, making the effort to cook your own meals with fresh ingredients can lead to a much healthier and more nutritious diet to help you lose weight.