Here are five more common reasons you aren’t seeing results. If you missed the first five potential mistakes, read this.
6. Eating “Healthy Foods” That Are Not Healthy Foods
There are many foods we guess are health foods. There are so many foods I can put in this category. Granola; granola/fiber/breakfast/cereal bars (none of them); foods in a box labeled “low-fat” or “high-fiber”; 90% of cereal; crackers; flavored yogurt; 90% of protein bars; veggie chips; trail mix filled with dried and sweetened fruit and/or chocolate; and frozen yogurt.
Everything mentioned above has a lot of added sugar or has very little nutritional value. These things aren’t going to help you get results. We often think we need to just avoid obvious things like baked treats and fried foods.
Tips: To really get results, make sure 90% of what you’re eating is a fruit, vegetable, unsweetened dairy, nuts/seeds/oils, whole grains (like pearl barley, wild rice, and quinoa), and good quality protein. The purer, the better.
What I Do: About 90% of the week, I eat only from the food groups listed under “Tips.” The only dried fruit I buy is unsweetened. I only buy Quest or Think Thin protein bars. Neither have artificial ingredients or added sugar.I don’t use the excuse of “I didn’t have anything.” Plan and prepare for traveling and busy days. I have roasted sunflower seeds in my glove compartment.
7. Not Resting and Sleeping Enough
Get adequate, good quality sleep. It helps you to make better decisions and concentrate well, and it also prevents you from eating food to stay awake during the day. In addition, sleeping well keeps your appetite regulating hormones at homeostasis. Insufficient sleep leads to too much of the appetite-increasing hormone, and not enough of the appetite-suppressing hormone.
Tip: Schedule sleep. This is a tactic that works for many people who stay up at night and get pretty much nothing accomplished. If you schedule sleep at 11pm, then you’re not watching tv or perusing Internet articles at 11:45pm. Set an alarm for 30 minutes before bedtime to remind yourself that you have a new bedtime. Just like no one ever regrets a good workout, you won’t regret a good night’s sleep.
What I do: I prioritize sleep more than pretty much anything else in my life. When I get enough good sleep, I make one good decision after another, which includes food choice.
8. Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein helps you to feel full, eat less, and stay satiated longer. There’s strong research that shows people who eat a high-protein breakfast eat less during the day than people who eat a high-carbohydrate, low-protein breakfast.
Tip: Aim for 15-20 grams of protein at breakfast. One egg has 7 grams. Six ounces of greek yogurt has 18 grams. One cup of regular low-fat yogurt has 12 grams. A half-cup of oatmeal only has 4 grams. Add some protein powder and flaxseed meal to a smoothie if you like them. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed has 3 grams.
What I do: I have three go-to breakfasts: 1) a cup of greek yogurt with berries, 2) a spinach omelet with one jalapeno chicken sausage link, and 3) a cup of unsweetened almond milk mixed with a large scoop of chocolate protein powder (unsweetened and no artificial ingredients).
9. Trying a Fad Diet
There are an unlimited amount of diets out there. Juice detoxes are included. Slimming down and staying that way requires permanently changing your behaviors. Enough said.
Tip: Change one or two eating habits at a time. Learn to cook a handful of meals. Cook until you get better. Cook and store some of your homemade food in the freezer. Learn strategies for on-the-go days, travel days, and regular ol’ busy days. Create a new routine.
10. Skipping Meals
Skipping meals, or going more than 5 hours in between meals, pretty much guarantees you’ll overdo it at your next meal. Or at 11:30pm. Or you’ll be so hungry at your next feeding time that you don’t make the best food decision. Even people who watch what they eat later in the day actually eat more than they perceive they do. Research shows that if you eat a slightly bigger breakfast and lunch, you’ll take in less calories later in the day.
Tip: Don’t wait longer than 4 hours to eat something unless you’re truly not hungry at that point. On a hunger scale of 1-10 (1=really cranky and 10=post-Thanksgiving dinner), ALWAYS stay between 3 and 8. If, at anytime during the day, you rank yourself at a 2, you should’ve had a small snack about a half hour beforehand.
What I do: I stay hydrated and I eat a small to moderate meal/snack about every 3-4 hours. If I accidentally skip a meal or go a long time in between meals, I drink a couple glasses of water before that next meal. I’m also conscientious about how much I eat at that next meal, given that I may tend to overeat because I’m famished.