Weight loss isn’t always driven by healthy exercise and diet habits. Sweating it out in the gym or a good diet may not be enough to reach your fitness goals. Here’s how to ensure your healthy habits don’t backfire on you.
Sometimes, it is difficult to reach your weight loss goals by just following what everybody else is doing. Being disciplined may not always be the right way to go about losing weight. Perhaps, you need to do much more than exercising hard in the gym every day, sweating it out every day with those weights and running hard on the treadmill to reach the weight loss goals you set for yourself on January 1 this year.
Perhaps it is time you stepped back, and ask yourself if you are going horribly wrong somewhere. Your habits? Not the unhealthy ones, but the ones no one could ever have any issues with. Because sometimes, too much of a good thing is bad.
There are times when daily food and exercise habits you practice can backfire without you knowing it. Here’s a list of healthy things you follow every day without realising they could be hurting your weight loss goals.
Dramatically reducing your food portions
“During your weight loss regime, it is likely that you change the way you eat and opt for healthier food choices as a result. It is good if you know how to master the art of portion control so that you need not necessarily starve yourself and still eliminate unnecessary and excess calories from your diet,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director at Atmantan Wellness Centre.
It is important to know that only sticking to proper portions will help you in losing weight. If you don’t eat at all, or cut down drastically, your hunger hormone – lenomorelin or ghrelin — will spike, leaving you hungrier as this hormone eventually increases your appetite and body-weight. It is therefore recommended not to starve yourself. Instead, eat a healthy, good portion during every meal.
Taking sugar substitutes in place of dessert
Sugar substitutes like artificial sweeteners may seem a healthy choice at the moment as they promise low-calorie feed to your body.
However, Kutteri says that many clinical studies now talk about these non-nutritive substances leading to weight gain. It is because they create cardio metabolic effects on your body. In other words, its consumption can lead to metabolic dysfunction, which can lead to adverse health condition such as diabetes and obesity. It is still better to moderate your sugar intake in a day.
Opting low-fat foods
While relying on low-fat foods is a good idea, what we need is a balanced ratio of protein, carbs and healthy fats, to keep ourselves satisfied for the time in between our daily meals.
“Fats aren’t bad for your health as you may presume it to be so. What you need to know is about the three types of fats, which are, unsaturated or good fats, saturated and trans-fats. You need to include a feed of unsaturated fats in your diet, which is through nuts, fish, seeds, olive oil and more. These fats remove bad cholesterol from the body and also help you burn fat. Unsaturated fats also fuel up your energy, thus improving your workout performance and endurance and helping you burn fat,” advises Kutteri.
Having energy bars and sports drinks
Energy bars and sports drinks won’t work for you if you don’t work out enough.
“To have those calorie-rich energy bars, you need to exercise at least for 90 minutes or more. So, if you fall in the workout bracket of 60 minutes or less, then lay your hand off these easy-to-have energy bars. Loading up with energy bars means taking more calories than actually burning them during the exercising. Which means, it has the potential to halt your weight loss,” says Ramesh Gajaria, Founder, TrainMe App.
Instead, opt for healthy protein smoothies and shakes prepared using whey protein and milk or yoghurt as the base.
Too much cardio
Doing cardio everyday might not be necessarily enough. You need to build or maintain your muscles if you wish to lose weight.
Therefore, strength training is important as it helps in losing muscle mass, which in turn, helps you in losing fat. Working-out muscle means that you are activating a healthy muscle metabolism and putting your muscle tissue to burn more calories, losing muscle mass and fat.
Gluten-free packaged foods
“A gluten-free diet may be necessary for people who have gluten intolerance but not really for people who wish to lose weight. It is needed to add flavour and make the food light and airy. Food manufacturers need to use fat, sugar and starch to make the gluten-free food tastier. So, gluten-free products are lower in nutritional value and less fibre, thus, making it only a calorie-dense food. So, there is no point in skipping the gluten,” advises Gajaria.
People who do it for weight loss usually cut down a complete portion of bread and cereals, which leads to weight loss but not necessarily because of cutting down on gluten. They consume fewer calories only.