It’s obvious to anyone that regularly wolfing down donuts and pizza will not exactly promote weight loss – or good health. But there are other, less obvious ways in which you could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Not getting enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you tend to reach out for food in an attempt to get some much needed energy. In addition, research shows that chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect cell function.
2. Not getting enough fat in your diet. Sounds counter-intuitive, we know, but a healthy diet is a diet that contains a significant amount of fat – as long as it’s good fat. Olive oil, avocado and fatty wild fish such as salmon are all great sources of good, health fats. Recent research has shown that dairy fat may also be healthy and offer protection against diabetes.
3. Eating a high-carb, low-protein diet. This type of diet is a disaster in terms of weight loss and weight maintenance, because a high-carb, low-protein diet often results in blood sugar fluctuations and in a constant, unrelenting hunger. This is especially true if the carbs are highly refined, of course, but a protein-rich diet (aim for 20% percent of your daily calories) will keep you full, satiated, and will rev up your metabolism.
4. Skipping breakfast. Mom was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast wakes up our body and your metabolism. Skipping breakfast will not just cause you to burn fewer calories during the morning hours, it will also cause you to overeat at lunch, or reach out for unhealthy snacks in between.
5. Eating too few calories. The last thing you want is for your body to decide that you’re starving and that it needs to slow down to a crawl and use every last calorie to its fullest, but this is exactly what happens if you eat too little. Generally, a moderately active woman needs 2000-2200 calories per day, and a man needs 2400-2600. You could go lower of course if you need to lose weight – a 500-calorie daily deficit is a good number to aim for, which still means a woman should get 1500 calories and a man 1900 calories. Frankly, all those “1000 calories per day” diets scare us.