Habits are those behaviors we do automatically. First, a cue triggers a behavior that elicits a reward, and then we want to repeat it over and over again.
Some habits, such as noticing a messy pile of blankets and pillows and taking action to make the bed, are positive. Others, like responding to stress by lighting up a cigarette, aren’t.
We especially have unhealthy habits that pertain to weight loss. Many of us receive advice and motivation from all the wrong places, leading to self-defeating behaviors.
And that’s where our expert comes in.
Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team at Optimal Performance Medicine in Woodstock, Georgia, know how frustrating weight loss can be. We also know how easy it is for anyone to sabotage their own progress without knowing it. We gently expose these pitfalls and help you correct them, so you can lose weight and become healthy for the long haul.
Here are four common habits that seem healthy, but could actually ruin your weight loss journey.
1. You prioritize the gym over the kitchen
We love the gym, home workout videos, and other modes of movement. As tools, they help us strengthen our muscles, fortify our joints, and, of course, increase calorie burn for weight loss.
However, we often overestimate how many calories we burn while exercising. For example, that tracker on your wrist or your treadmill’s screen might not be accurate. You also may wind up eating back the calories you’ve burned.
Furthermore, the number of calories you burn during exercise is small compared to your overall energy expenditure. Most calories you burn daily come from your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the number of calories you burn at rest.
So, in addition to increasing your movement throughout the day, boost your metabolism by eating the right kinds of foods. Think protein, fiber, healthy fats, and even spicy foods.
2. You don’t eat enough
It’s true: A calorie deficit is the key to losing weight. In other words, you have to burn off more calories than you take in. It would make sense, then, to start eating like a bird, especially if your gym attendance is spotty.
Yet the reality is that undereating during the day leads to overeating at night. Calorie restriction also leads to a sluggish metabolism: If your body doesn't have enough fuel to do things like breathe and pump your heart, it certainly won’t want to burn it for your weight loss goals.
Remember to focus on the quality of the calories going in rather than the number.
3. You’re busy counting calories
Speaking of being preoccupied with calorie counting: If your head's in your phone or your calculator trying to meticulously track each morsel, you won’t savor your food and may ignore cues for hunger and fullness.
Talk to Dr. Skardasis about what’s appropriate when it comes to portion size and nutrition value.
4. You’re trading sleeping for exercise
When our patients want to lose weight, one of the first questions we ask them is, “How much sleep are you getting?” In some cases, we’d rather you skip the gym if going means getting fewer Zs than you should be.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night. And because women are multitaskers and use more of their brains every day, they may need closer to eight or nine hours.
Finally, be sure to see a health coach like Dr. Skardasis. Our team has years of experience helping folks just like you get over the frustration of weight loss and establish habits to keep the weight off long-term. We guide you through the best exercises to do, foods to eat, and lifestyle changes to make — all customized to fit your exact needs and weight loss goals.
Get started with our medically supervised weight loss program and find the support and motivation you’ve been looking for. Request an appointment online or over the phone today.