Weight loss has its tricks, one little mistake can render your efforts totally useless. You don’t need to overhaul your entire diet and exercise regime to get back in shape. Just avoid these 5 common weight-loss pitfalls.
Don’t skip Breakfast! Besides warding off morning grumpiness, eating breakfast can also kick-start your metabolism. You send your body a signal that you’re not starving, so it starts burning fat—even when you’re just doing normal activities, and while you’re at it, add a little bacon to that omelette. A study in the International Journal of Obesity reported that mice processed fat and carbs better when fed a high-fat breakfast versus a high-carb one.
Stay off the Treadmill! Running indoors may seem like a snooze, but it’s worth a shot. Of all the machines at the gym, the treadmill is most likely to result in weight loss because it works more muscles and keeps your heart rate elevated, both of which burn fat. (Also, unlike the stationary bike and elliptical machine, it’s self-propelled, meaning it keeps up the pace, even when you’re inclined to take it easy). So take a break from the elliptical and give the most basic cardio machine some love.
USING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER Sweets aren’t going to do your waistline any favors, but if you’re going to splurge, you’re probably better off with the natural stuff. Studies suggest that fake, zero-calorie sweeteners (like those little blue and pink packets you put in your coffee) cause more weight gain compared to real sugar—possibly because they confuse your digestive system, compromising your ability to burn calories and actually increasing food cravings. And a study in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviorreported that, despite consuming the same number of total calories, “rats with access to HFCS [high fructose corn syrup] gained significantly more body weight…notably in the abdominal region,” compared to those with access to regular table sugar. And because HFCS “accounts for as much as 40 percent of caloric sweeteners used in the United States,” keep an eye out for it in everyday foods like sliced bread and salad dressing.
SKIPPING THE DAIRY AISLE OK, this isn’t an excuse to OD on ice cream, but research suggests that consuming dairy may help you shed pounds. An Obesity Research study showed that a high-dairy diet led to 70 percent more weight loss over six months versus an equal-calorie control diet. Taking a calcium/vitamin D supplement yielded similar results, but weight loss was the greatest in those who actually consumed dairy foods. Score one for cheese lovers. Just remember that low-fat is the key so you don’t overdo it with the saturated kind
LOSING SLEEP OVER IT “Have you ever heard people say ‘lose weight while you sleep’? Well, there’s some truth to that statement. When you don’t get between seven and nine hours of rest, your body produces more of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, and that means you’re famished the next day, according to Glassman. Not only will you be eating more, but you’re also more likely to go for the mac ‘n cheese than the grilled chicken salad. So if it comes down to an early-morning workout or a full seven hours, “hands down, take the extra few hours of sleep! You’ll be better rested, have more energy, and make better food choices,” says Glassman. No complaints here!