Mistakes That Keep You Fat

Mistakes That Keep You Fat 

The less body fat you carry, the better your abs will show. And it makes sense to start your summer beach-body program long before shirtless weather arrives. Your goal is to strip your winter flab so your core work can show through.

Start by performing triage on your eating habits. “Target one or two behaviors that you can make the most difference by changing”. Take a moment to think about your typical day, and pick your worst habit (weekend pig-outs? salty snacks and beer?). Then work for a week on eliminating that habit. The following week, move to your next-weakest link.

We have only so much willpower, a recent study in Psychology and Health shows. That’s why trying to break several bad habits at once can be overwhelming: You drain your capacity for willpower—what researchers call “self-regulation”. This is one time when being too ambitious can backfire.

Skipping Meals or Snacks

Not eating can mess with your body’s ability to control your appetite. But it also destroys willpower, which is just as damaging. “Regulating yourself is a brain activity, and your brain runs on glucose”. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn’t have the energy to say no to the inevitable chowfest.

So skipping a feed helps turn us into gluttons at night. Your starving brain “just doesn’t have the fuel it needs to keep you on track, monitoring your diet.”

Break it: Change your mindset. Think I’m going to start a new routine, not I’m going to restrict myself. Restriction leads to overeating.

Speed-Eating

Use the nondiet approach: You’re not denying yourself food, you’re just eating it more slowly. Savoring it. Allowing your body some time so you don’t keep eating when you’re full.

In an experiment published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 17 healthy men ate 11/4 cups of ice cream. They either scarfed it in 5 minutes or took half an hour to savor it. According to study author, levels of fullness-causing hormones (called PYY and GLP-1), which signal the brain to stop eating, were higher among the 30-minute men. In real life, the scarfers wouldn’t feel as full and could be moving on to another course.

Break it:
Your body is trying to tell you something, so give it a chance. Slow down and enjoy your food. Put away the newspaper and turn off the TV. Try this breathing trick from The Yoga Body Diet: Inhale while counting slowly to five; exhale and count slowly to five; repeat three to five times before eating. A study in a 2009 issue of Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that yoga increases mindful eating and results in less weight gain over time.

Pigging Out on Weekends

Weekend feasts can cause trouble beyond Sunday. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers used rats to examine the effects of palmitic acid on leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Palmitic acid is found in saturated fat, an ingredient often featured in your favorite weekend grub.

“We found that within 3 days, the saturated fat blunts or blocks the ability of leptin to regulate food intake and body weight”. So a Friday to Sunday of burgers, fries, and wings may prime your brain to overeat on Monday.

Break it: You don’t have to go cold turkey (though turkey on whole wheat is always smart). Your reward for a healthy week should be one cheat meal, not an entire weekend of them. After all, having an all-you-can-eat weekend is like eating poorly for nearly 30 percent of your week. That means you’d be eating well just 70 percent of the time. We call that a C minus. Do you really want below-average results?

Drinking

Alcohol, that is. Here’s an exercise to start tonight: Write down how much beer, wine, and other drinks you consume in a week. (Use that cocktail napkin.) You may surprise yourself. Calculate the calories and expect another surprise. A reasonable-sounding two beers a night can mean more than 2,000 calories a week—almost an extra day’s worth. It can take more than 2 hours of running to burn that off . You call that a weight-loss plan? Besides the empty calories, booze undermines your willpower, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Which leads to impulse orders of, say, Buffalo wings.

Break it: Try quitting—for just a week. Check your weight and how your pants fit. See if you can live on less. When you do drink, switch to lower-carb dry red wine (about 4 grams of carbohydrates compared with almost 13 in a regular beer) or low-carb beer.

Eating in Front of the TV, Then Dozing Off

It’s a double whammy with a twist. You ingest calories while burning none, and sabotage your secret weight-loss weapon: sleep. Research confirms that people who eat in front of the tube consume more calories (nearly 300, in one study) than those who don’t, and that the more TV they watch, the less active they are. And University of Chicago researchers found that people who lost 3 hours of sleep ate about 200 more calories the next day in snacks than those who slept 81/2 hours.

Break it: “If you want to watch TV, be active at the same time or go work out and come back—then you can treat yourself with some TV.” And make your DVR earn its keep so you can go to bed on a regular schedule. Sleep is a fine habit when done correctly.

Adapted from Men’s Health

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: