Are you having a hard time reaching your weight loss goals? It may not boil down to workouts and diets. Other factors play a vital role in your body’s ability to shed those pounds.
You Don’t Sleep Enough
Studies show that a lack of sleep can affect certain chemicals in our bodies that make us hungrier and less likely to be able to lose body fat, so getting a good night’s sleep is essential if you want to lose weight. One hormone that increases with a lack of sleep is the hunger hormone, leptin. On the other hand, the hormone that tells your body that you’re full, ghrelin, decreases if you don’t get enough shut-eye. If these two hormones are out of whack, you are more susceptible to making poor food choices throughout the day. Finally, cortisol, the stress hormone, makes it very difficult for you to lose body fat.
Most sleep experts agree that a minimum of 7 hours of sleep is necessary every night and that 8 hours are optimal. People are more likely to reach for that afternoon candy bar when they feel a lull in their energy. Enough quality sleep is vital to weight loss.
If you are having a hard time sleeping, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider about ways to improve your sleep. Some quick changes you can make are:
- Take all the screens out of your bedroom, that includes TVs, phones, and tablets.
- Keep the lights low an hour before you want to be asleep.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekends.
- Take a hot bath about a half an hour before bed.
- Don’t exercise too late in the day.
- Cut off the caffeine by early afternoon.
- Finish eating dinner at least four hours before you plan to go to sleep.
How much water do you normally drink throughout the day? While the ideal amount of water is debated among researchers and doctors, there is one easy way to see if you might be dehydrated – the pee test. If your urine is relatively clear, you’re hydrated. If it is dark yellow, then you’re not. Of course, increase your fluid intake if it’s hot and humid outside or if you’re engaging in the intense physical activity.
Simply drinking more water doesn’t exactly melt away the pounds, but if you are dehydrated, your body just can’t burn fat efficiently. Your typical hydration level directly affects your metabolism.
While drinking water helps you to hydrate, there are several other lifestyle habits that will dehydrate you besides not drinking enough H20.
- Salty foods, like bouillon cubes, movie popcorn, cured meats, fried foods, and soy sauce
- Sugary drinks and sodas
- Coffee and tea
- Alcoholic beverages
- Green and white asparagus
- Excess protein in your diet
While some foods seem to suck the water right out of your body, other foods can actually help to keep you hydrated. So, you may be able to add some of these foods into your diet instead of downing so much water throughout the day.
- Vegetables, like cucumber, iceberg lettuce, celery, radishes, and tomatoes.
- Fruit, like watermelon, star fruit, strawberries, grapefruit, and cantaloupe.
You Frequent Restaurants Too Often
Most people enjoy eating out at restaurants for a special meal or to celebrate a special event; however, if most of your dining is outside of your house, you are probably finding it hard to lose weight. Even though many restaurants have become more cognizant of people’s weight loss goals by providing nutrition information on the menu or by designing special “light fare” meal options, it’s still hard to make the right choices every time you eat out.
The serving sizes in most restaurants are way too big for many people. You’re also much more likely to drink alcoholic beverages, which equates to more liquid calories. That nutrition information on the menu might also be inaccurate, further sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Finally, eating out in a social situation is more likely to make everyone at the table overeat. You will likely lose track of how much you’re eating.
You Don’t Eat at the Dining Table
Even if you are eating at home, it’s important where and how you’re eating to avoid over-indulging. If you find yourself standing at the counter, eating out of pots while you’re cooking, or eating in front of the television, you will likely have a hard time losing weight. These are all examples of mindless eating, and consuming food in this manner leads to eating way too many calories. It’s better to sit down at your dining table and pay attention to your meal. Use all your senses to experience the flavors, smells, and textures of what you’re eating. You will likely eat more slowly and eat less food if you can eat in a more mindful way.
You Reward Yourself Too Much
Have you ever treated yourself to a special meal or dessert just because you ate a healthy breakfast and lunch? Do you tell yourself that you deserve that extra helping of lasagna or that scoop of ice cream after dinner because you worked out earlier in the day? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you may be rewarding yourself too much. Treating yourself with food rewards too often is a result of justifying why you should be able to eat foods you know you probably shouldn’t. If you feel the need to have edible rewards, try to keep it to one special meal per week.
Losing weight isn’t always about how many hours you spend in the gym or how few calories you eat during the day. Some of your daily habits can promote or hinder your weight loss goals, so it’s worth it to really examine your routines to see if just a few tweaks could make a big difference in your waistline.