Bad Habits Can Ruin your Diet

It’s been weeks since you started dieting to shed off those extra pounds. You’ve made a vow to become a better person and to get rid of unhealthy eating habits. You want to look better, feel better, and live longer. And you firmly believe that losing weight will help you achieve these goals.

Natalie Reynolds enjoyed socializing with her friends in college — going out for drinks or girl talk over pizza. But after graduation and starting a full-time job, Reynolds found that she needed to consume fewer margaritas and calories.

“Eliminating alcoholic beverages and sugary sodas and eating less sweet stuff like cookies and ice cream has really been the right combination for me,” she said after losing about 10 pounds.

Reynolds recognized that consuming cocktails — one of the most widespread bad habits of weight watchers — can hinder a successful diet.

Experts have noted a handful of things that tend to trip up dieters in their efforts to lose weight.

Don’t Binge

One of these is binging. Foods such as crackers, cookies and other snack foods are low in fiber and high in sugar, salt and trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. The tendency is to over-consume them.

Binging on refined processed foods is probably the greatest cause of obesity in America, according to

Flip Side Of Binging

Before and after binging comes starvation. If you skip breakfast, your body will have been “starving” for 12 to 18 hours before lunch or dinner, resulting in overeating again and causing your body to store much of the food as fat since it can not burn it all for energy.

Most people do not pay much attention to how many low-fiber calories and how much bad fat they consume daily, especially if they eat often in restaurants.

Those excess calories get stored as fat.

Not-So-Healthy Health Foods

Stephen Cabral, a nutritional specialist and personal trainer, recently published a list of 13 foods that profess to be good for the body, but in reality fall short.

The first of these is granola bars, which appear healthy because they contain whole-grain oats — but almost half of the carbohydrates often come from sugar.

Pretzels also may seem like a light, wheat snack, but are highly glycemic, get digested rapidly and are high in sodium.

Highly glycemic foods raise the body’s blood sugar rapidly, throwing a wrench into a healthy diet plan. Meanwhile, A consistently high-sodium diet can lead to congestive heart failure, cirrhosis or kidney disease.

Store-bought trail mix is also high in sodium, can contain sugar and food coloring and tends to have trans fats.

You should also be sure to check the ingredients before you stock up on fruit juice. Most juices contain very little actual fruit, but plenty of sugar. Cabral said even pure fruit juice has less fiber and vitamins than raw fruit.

Sugar Can Mean Storing Fat

Watch your intake of sugar, white flour and caffeine. Sugar raises blood sugar levels — also known as glucose — causing your body to produce insulin and changes your metabolic rate. That means that those who eat a lot of white flour and sugar products, loaded with empty calories, will store more fat and have a harder time burning it.

Caffeine can often be a double-edged sword. Mayo Clinic dietician Katherine Zeratsky said that some studies show caffeine can slightly enhance weight loss, as it acts as both an appetite suppressant and diuretic. But on the clinic’s Web site, she said both are short-term effects and caffeine has not proven to be an effective means for weight loss.

“Keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant that can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt your sleep, and cause nervousness and irritability,” Zeratsky said. “Also, many caffeinated beverages are high in calories, which can contribute to unwanted weight gain.”

Always Good — Water

The building blocks of every diet plan begin with drinking plenty of water. For your body to burn fat, it needs at least eight glasses of pure water daily, according to BellyBytes. Water not only satisfies your thirst, it reduces hunger and flushes out toxins.

Many small things also add up to unwanted pounds. Nutritionists tend to discourage eating before bed or eating while doing something else. Environment can often be a large obstacle for dieters to overcome.

Find Support, Sweet Alternatives

“Having a boyfriend who enjoys eating fast food for meals and chips and candy for snacks (has been a challenge),” Reynolds said. “But my best friend from high school is super skinny, so anytime I am around her I am more motivated to lose weight. I also had another friend who recently lost 30 pounds. She has also motivated me.”

Finding support when following a diet plan can be crucial. Whether through online chat rooms, group meetings or even recruiting a friend to exercise with make the challenges more manageable.

For many, satisfying a voracious sweet tooth can also seem like a major hurdle, but there are a variety of ways to still eat healthy.

“I have stocked my fridge with sweets like sugar-free Creamsicles, which are only 20 calories apiece, or fruits like apples and oranges that still give me the satisfaction of eating something sweet after a meal,” Reynolds said.

Despite some setbacks, she said when it comes down to it, kicking bad eating habits begins in the mind.

“I think the things that make people put on weight are when a person gets off track and loses sight of why they really want to lose weight,” Reynolds said. “Losing weight is really about wanting to.”

 – Jill Tydor

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4 Comments to “Bad Habits Can Ruin your Diet”

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