This blog post originally appeared on Muscle is the New Sexy.
If you’ve been working out and lifting weights consistently but haven’t seen the scale or measurements budge lately, then it’s time to take a look at your diet plan. As the common saying goes, “You can’t out-exercise a poor diet.” As tempting as it is to say, “I’ll burn it off tomorrow” after we indulge in some cheesecake or donuts, it’s just not realistic to think one workout will help. Take a look at these 5 Bad Habits and ask yourself if you’re guilty of one or more of them. It could be the key to assisting you with your weight loss goals.
Eating at your Desk
I list this first because it’s probably one of the more unappealing and just plain gross habits we’ve become used to as of late. In typical American fashion, we’re always in a hurry and no one seems to have time to sit down during the day and eat their meals. This is why the grocery store aisles are loaded with quick and convenient “meals.” But even if you have the best intentions and pack your meals everyday, there is still the problem of WHERE to eat your meal. If you’re in a rush, your desk becomes the table. With as many germs that are typically on a keyboard and office desk, this is not ideal to enjoy your lunch. At the very least, choose a place to eat that is communal and intended to be eaten in, such as a cafeteria or break room. Everyone is busy, and your job is important, but your health is much more important. And getting crumbs in between the space bar is not attractive.
Scarfing Down your Food too Quickly
No one seems to enjoy their food anymore. Not every meal needs to be an earth shattering experience. But if you go to the trouble of cooking, or at least purchasing your food, why eat it like it’s going to be your last meal? If you eat with intention and with purpose, you might find yourself eating slowly, thus, feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Take time to taste every bite. Some people even bless their food before they eat, ensuring they savor every morsel. You know you’re going to eat again in a few hours. There’s no need to rush! Take frequent sips of water in between bites as well. If you’re hanging with others, chat with them while you eat. You should be too busy talking to eat so fast.
Skipping your Meals
There is still the misconception among dieters that in order to lose weight, you must skip some meals. This is counterproductive. Why? Because if you start reducing your caloric intake so drastically, you’re just going to become even hungrier and most likely start gaining weight because you might double the size of your next meal. If you are dieting, cutting back on the portion size is a better strategy than to skip a meal entirely. The food you eat should be whole and natural as much as possible, not invisible. An empty plate does not equal a lower number on the scale.
Drinking your Calories
Soda, pop, beer, wine, mixed drinks, juices. All of these beverages would be considered poor options to hydrate you. The best choice, of course, is water. Even if you have a “stellar” diet, and you celebrate a few days a week with just a few drinks, you could be doing yourself a disservice. For example, one Cosmopolitan has 145 calories in it, a Whiskey sour has 160 and a regular Beer has approximately 150. Those calories really add up over time. Reduce and cut back on these, and you might see a shift in your energy levels, better endurance in your workouts, and a change in the scale. You should see an even bigger change when you increase your water throughout the day. A good goal? Aim for half your bodyweight in ounces per day.
Opting for TV Dinners instead of Cooking
Boy Scouts aren’t the only ones who should always be prepared. Adults need to have a plan. It all starts with cooking. Planning and cooking your food might seem like a time consuming chore, but it really is the best way to ensure success with your health. Maybe you know those tv dinners aren’t very good for you but you don’t know what else to eat. And if you think those processed meals are “decent” for you, read the ingredient list. There are usually more than 30 ingredients listed which is always a bad sign. Learning to cook is worth it! Take some cooking classes or have someone you know share some tips with you. And cookbooks are cheap. I found one called “How to Cook” for $5. It really isn’t that difficult to bake some lean proteins and vegetables, cook up some hard boiled eggs, and heat up some leftovers for lunch. You can even pick one day during the week to get all your cooking done so you’re prepared and ready to get on track with zero excuses.
If you’re guilty of one or more of these bad habits, make the decision today to stop and create better, healthier habits. Pick one good habit to start and stick with it! It might take weeks or even months to create the better habit, but it will be completely worth it and your body will thank you.