Weight loss can be a challenging journey. Even if you’re doing all the right things, sometimes there are other factors at play that you may not be aware of.
When it comes to weight loss, like in other areas of our lives, we tend to pay more attention to the big things. We watch the foods we eat, count calories, try to move more, and read product labels. But it can often be the little things that can trip us up and hinder our progress.
The following daily habits can often go unnoticed and seem insignificant. However, they can have a much bigger impact on your success than you think. Paying attention to them can help support your efforts and keep you on track.
Daily habits that could be sabotaging your weight loss goals
When trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep is crucial. However, too much sleep can actually have the opposite effect. When you sleep in, you’re more likely to indulge in unhealthy late-night snacking. This can lead to weight gain and make it harder to lose weight.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who slept for 9 hours or more each night were 21% more likely to be obese than those who slept for 7 hours or less. So, aim for a solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night and avoid hitting the snooze button in the morning. If you’re struggling to get enough sleep at night, try setting a bedtime routine that includes winding down for 30 minutes before going to bed. This will help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
Not eating enough
One of the reasons weight loss can be so difficult is because the body is designed to withstand famine. When food becomes scarce—like when we fast or try to eat too few calories—the body responds by slowing down the metabolism and increasing hunger levels. As a result, people who severely cut calories when trying to lose weight often find themselves battling against their own bodies. This is why it’s so important to make sure that you’re eating enough when trying to lose weight. (And one of the reasons we coach our members to eat a specific amount of food each day while on our program.)
Eating enough calories will help to keep your metabolism running smoothly, making it easier to shed unwanted pounds. It will also actually make it less likely that you’ll overeat, making it easier to stick to your diet plan. Eating the appropriate number of daily calories will help to keep your hunger levels in check while giving your body the energy it needs to burn fat.
Sitting all day
Sitting for too long is one of the worst daily habits we can have, with some serious consequences for your health. If you have a sedentary job or spend a lot of time sitting down, it can be tough to get enough movement in during the day. Regular movement should be a priority, however, as research shows that sitting all day can actually lead to weight gain and other chronic health issues.
A study published in the Journal of Obesity found that people who sat for more than 6 hours per day were at a higher risk of being obese than those who sat for 3 hours or less. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who sat for more than 6 hours each day were at a higher risk for weight gain, heart disease, and other health problems.
So, if you find yourself sitting for most of the day, be sure to get up and move around every hour or so. Set the timer on your phone or computer to remind you to take a quick break to stretch, take a walk, or do some light cardio to get your blood flowing.
Not chewing your food enough
You might not realize it, but this is one of the most often overlooked daily habits that can actually affect your weight. When you don’t chew your food properly, your body doesn’t register that you’re full as quickly, which can lead to overeating. In one study, participants who chewed each bite 40 times ate 12% fewer calories than those who only chewed each bite 15 times.
Chewing your food thoroughly allows your body to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the food. It helps break the food down so that it’s easier for your digestive system to process, helps you eat less, and lowers your risk for obesity.
The next time you sit down for a meal, make sure to slow down, take your time and chew each bite thoroughly. You’ll not only enjoy your meal more this way, but you’ll also support your weight loss efforts by helping your body burn more energy during and after eating.
Watching too much TV
When you’re trying to lose weight, cutting back on TV time can be a helpful strategy. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people who watched more than 2 hours of TV per day were more likely to be obese than those who watched less than 2 hours. This habit can also apply to all screens—phones, tablets, etc. It’s far too easy to spend more time than we planned staring at a screen. (“Hello Instagram and YouTube rabbit holes!”)
It’s important to limit your TV time and find other ways to stay entertained. Try forming a new habit where for every minute of TV time each day, you get in 2 minutes of active time. Instead of watching TV, read a book, go for a walk, cook up some healthy food in the kitchen, or do some stretching. Check out this free download with 40 more alternatives to staring at a screen!
While weight loss can be a challenge, it’s important to be aware of the daily habits that could be sabotaging your efforts. By being aware of, and working to avoid these 5 weight-loss traps, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals in no time!
PS – if you find yourself struggling to change these and other unhealthy daily habits, we can help. Click here to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our expert weight-loss coaches and discover how we can help you stay on track.