Losing weight and getting in shape are challenging for everyone, but sticking with it does produce results. Unless, you're sabotaging your efforts, which you may not even know you're doing.
There some mistakes you may be making that are preventing you from reaching your goals. Common diet slip-ups include:
1. Eating too late.
Eating at night has long been a diet faux pas, so this one is no surprise. Eating dinner late or snacking before bed doesn't allow time for your body to properly digest and metabolize your food before you lie down for the night. This can result in unwanted weight gain. For most people, 7 p.m. is the perfect time to call it quits for the day. If you work out at night and need something for recovery, try an apple with nut butter for some healthy fats and protein.
2. Rewards for good behavior.
I once read a quote that went something like, "You're not a dog, so stop rewarding yourself with food." Moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle, so occasional indulgences are permitted, but if you end every workout with a celebratory cookie and you always "unwind" on the weekend with fast food and soda, all that other hard work will become moot. For example, if you love something sweet at the end of a meal, look for dark chocolate-covered almonds or have some fruit.
3. Overdoing it on the good.
Just like there are serving sizes for junk food, there are serving sizes for healthy foods, too. You shouldn't eat three cups of brown rice in a sitting just like you shouldn't eat three cups of white rice. And while a vegetable like asparagus isn't bad for you, eating a whole plate of it coated in olive oil can have hundreds of calories. Fruits also contain lots of natural sugar. Be mindful no matter what you eat.
4. Bad workout fuel.
We've all heard tales of Olympic athletes who consume hamburgers and pounds of pasta daily and we think, "I work out, so I need a lot of 'fuel,' too." Do you train eight hours a day? If you do, yes, you need more, but the average person doesn't need all those calories, which means you have to be smarter about what you consume to fuel your workout and help your body recover after. Go for a protein shake before and maybe a cup of Greek yogurt with some fruit afterwards. Protein = lean muscle.
5. Not getting enough sleep.
How much sleep you get each night affects your body in so many ways. For one, it can cause stress which results in the release of cortisol, the "stress hormone" that can actually make you gain weight, especially around the midsection. Your immune system can also be weakened, which could keep you in bed instead of hitting the gym. Seven to nine hours is the recommended time to sleep, so give yourself a bedtime and stick to it.
6. Low on H2O.
Hydration is essential for a healthy body, especially when training. But it also has another weight loss benefit: It fills you up. Drinking a full glass of water with each meal and snack will help you feel satiated, so you're less likely to go for a large portion or second helping. If you don't like flat water or are a soda junkie, try sparkling water with a splash of lemon juice, which will support healthy digestion while giving you the fizz you may be missing.
7. Going to the extreme.
Overdoing it is never a good thing. When you cut out too many foods or reduce your calories drastically, the body's survival instincts kick in and you begin to start hoarding any and all calories you consume to fuel the body. Over exercising can also result in injury and extreme physical burnout, which can have symptoms like chronic fatigue, limbs that feel heavy or weak and changes in mood or behavior. It's a marathon, not a sprint, so be kind to yourself.
8. Not recognizing you're full.
Your appetite can be your worst enemy when you're trying to watch what you eat to lose weight and get in shape. You need to train yourself to recognize that moment you feel you've eaten just enough, before you cross into the zone of eating so much you're left longing for a nap or with digestive issues. Natural appetite suppressants like satiereal saffron or white kidney bean extract can help while you condition yourself.
9. Missing exercise.
Exercise and diet go hand in hand for health. You can't just cut calories and reach a healthy weight with the right amount of fat and muscle tissue. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio five days a week and mix it up with strength training. Cardio doesn't just mean running, either. Dance, walk or do yoga -- anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you sweat is cardio, so change it up until you find an activity you can stick with.
10. Comparing yourself.
This one is very important, because mental health is part of the fight as well. You need to love and respect yourself no matter where you're at and not look at other's results and a sign of your own shortcomings. Everyone's body is different and has different needs. Looking at photos of people who get paid to train for eight hours a day (like those professional athletes we discussed) won't make you thinner -- it may actually zap your motivation or send it to an unhealthy place.
Getting to a healthy place mentally and physically means listening to your body and knowing your own strengths and limits, which we all have. Speaking with your doctor can help you determine the best plan to reach your goals while remaining healthy, especially if you have a medical condition or take any medications.
Hopefully, recognizing and changing some of the behaviors discussed above will help you get there. Shop eVitamins for all your health and fitness needs and good luck!
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