As wonderful as exercise is for you, the truth is that you can eat away the best workout in the world in less than half an hour. Despite the glut of information out there on what you should or should not be doing, there is a general lack of understanding about how to eat. Below are 5 common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
1) Underestimating ‘nips” and portions
We all do it. There’s a plate of goodies in the break room, or your child has a bag of M&M’s and you find yourself taking just a piece of cookies, or just a few candies. I used to say laughingly for years that the calories would leak out the crack if I broke a brownie in half before eating it. Well, they don’t. If you’re not seeing results, start logging EVERYTHING you put in your mouth for two or three days and you will probably be surprised. I thought for a long time I had a terrible metabolism because I wasn’t losing weight on 1500 calories a day. Turned out, I wasn’t eating 1500 calories a day at all once I took the nips into account.
2) Thinking a calorie is a calorie (proportions)
It is admittedly very confusing to try to know what you should be eating. Every diet out there claims to be THE ONE. No carbs, some carbs, Mediterranean, South Beach…what???? It’s not really rocket science, but it is science. A gram carbohydrate affects your body different that a gram of protein or a gram of fat and depending on your goal and activity level you should be eating in different proportion. Typically, if you want to lose weight, you should eat proportionately less carbs and more fats and protein. “Good” carbs, fats and proteins of course. (and that’s a whole other post).
3) Butter, sauces and condiments
Pretty much stop using these. Enough said? Well, a little more…you may think you won’t enjoy your food without these and it may actually be an adjustment for oh, a couple days. But you WILL enjoy losing weight seemingly effortlessly if you give them up.
4) Eating out
This one is a bit tougher. Eating out is more than just a convenience in our culture; it is actually a social and bonding event for many people. I’m not suggesting you never do it (although, do consider hosting people to your home for dinner; much more intimate, affordable and probably better food) but you do need to be mindful. A couple good tips are to avoid appetizers and anything white or creamy. Take advantage of the fact that restaurants are now required to provide calorie counts on their menu. Yes, it may take the ‘fun’ out of eating out, but if it does, what does that really tell you?
5) Liquid calories
Somehow, it has become a ‘thing’ to drink big huge coffees just loaded with toxins (Errr…sugar) or ‘smoothies’ that are pretty much just fruit flavored milk shakes. If you’re aware that this is a treat and have budgeted your calories to account for it then enjoy. I don’t care what anyone says, though, drinks do not fill you up as much as food so be aware that if you are drinking sugar, you will probably consume more calories than you intend and will still likely need to eat. Not a great combination for weight loss. And alcohol? Don’t get me started. Not only is it loaded with sugar, it also reduces your inhibitions towards gobbling up pizza or cheeseburgers at two in the morning.