7 Habits Which Defy Your Weight Loss Efforts

CoachMel Weight Loss Tips 4 Comments

Do you struggle with weight gain? What are the issues that hold you back?

If you find it difficult to lose weight, you may have underlying unhealthy habits that are acting as a stumbling block to you.

Lets take a look at a few possibilities…

#1 You eat when you’re stressed

Many people eat more when they’re stressed, bored, depressed, or lonely. It has been estimated that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions alone.

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Do you find yourself eating junk food when you’re really not hungry?

Research suggests that women are particularly prone to poor eating habits when they’re under pressure.

In a study by Dr Zellner, from Montclair State University, men and women were given sets of word jumbles in different difficulty levels (easy and hard), and also bowls of grapes, chips, peanuts and M&Ms nearby.

They found that:

  • Women working on the most difficult puzzles were more likely to eat the M&Ms, and reported feeling more stressed, than women with the easier puzzles, who mostly ate grapes.
  • Men showed opposite results, with those working on the easy jumbles eating the most M&Ms and chips.

The study demonstrates that for women the trigger may be psychological, rather than biological.

Zellner calls it ‘disinhibition.’

Another problem many face is unconsciously snacking on foods. But, what can you do to change these habits?

Try to determine what triggers unhealthy snacking.

For example, if you find yourself snacking while you read or watch TV, make a conscious choice to only eat raw veggies with a suitable healthy dip.

#2 You watch too much TV

Research suggests that those who watch two hours of TV per day are much more likely to be overweight, than those who watched only half an hour per day – not all that surprising considering we are virtually motionless during this time.

So, instead of vegging out in front of the TV each night, schedule some time for exercise, play with your kids, cook a nice meal, catch up with friends.

Basically do whatever it takes to get yourself moving more than you normally would.

#3 You don’t get enough sleep

It’s thought that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of obesity by boosting ghrelin (an appetite stimulating hormone), and lowering leptin (an appetite suppressor).

A study from the University of Bristol, in the UK, found that compared to a healthy eight hours sleep, each one hour decrease in sleep duration was linked to almost 3% more body fat.

Research by the University of California at Irvine suggests that people are more likely to binge eat at night, in darkened rooms or restaurants, and during the darker seasons of fall and winter.

So what can you do?

Try taking measures to prevent overeating, such as getting to bed earlier (aim for 8 hours sleep each night), and eating meals in brighter light.

#4 You focus on “dieting!”

Not only is yo-yo dieting extremely unhealthy, but it can really knock self esteem for six making you feel like you’ve “failed” yet again.

Instead, stop the tedious cycle by focusing on healthy eating and exercise, rather than the latest fad diet.

#5 You eat too fast

When we eat fast it allows us to consume more food than necessary.

This is because it takes our brain around 15-20 minutes to begin signaling that we’re feeling full.

So, try eating at the table, putting your knife and fork down between each mouthful, and enjoying each bite, rather than eating as if you’re in a food marathon!

#6 You’re too busy to exercise

The demands of a busy schedule, often mean that exercise is one of the last things on our minds.

However, this sedentary way of life is having a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, and it’s an important area to focus on if you want better health.

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, and remember household chores also count, so try putting extra effort into those tedious chores.

#7 You pay for food using a credit card

In a study conducted of 100,000 fast food restaurant transactions, they discovered that those who pay for food with a credit card, spend 30% more than those who pay with cash.

77% said they can buy exactly what they want, because they’re not limited by the amount of cash they have on hand.

So, it seems that paying with cards not only costs us more, but it also leads to a higher calorie intake.

What would you add to this list?

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Comments 4

  1. Tom

    These are all definitely reasons for being overweight. I also think that not having a plan when shopping for food is an issue. I’m not meaning a diet, but I think that it is important to plan out healthy meals before going to the store. Without a plan, it is easy to grab something unhealthy. I feel like thinking out what you want before hand makes it easier to avoid bad eating and in turn help prevent becoming overweight.

    Tom’s last blog post..Dietary Supplement Purchase Guide

  2. Melanie

    Hi Tom,

    Yes, I agree, menu planning is excellent for encouraging healthy eating, it gives you a plan of action for the week ahead, like you said, helps you avoid unhealthy eating.

    Hi Richard,

    I’ve written about menu planning before, and menu planning sites before, also check out the comments for readers suggestions. I think some of these sites allow you to print out a shopping list too.

    5 Tips for Successful Menu Planning
    5 Super Menu Planning Sites

  3. Stuart

    I pay for my food with my credit card because it enables us to collect points whereas we’d normally be wasting that money. I do agree that it can be too easy to send more than you’ve budgeted though.

    Stuart’s last blog post..ANZ Banking Account

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