You are snacking too much
This one is a bit controversial as there are two very opposing schools of thought when it comes to how often we should eat.
On the one hand there are the advocates for eating six to eight small meals a day – or three normal meals and a snack in the mid-morning and the mid-afternoon. They believe this keeps your blood sugar levels steady and prevents you from overeating.
The other side believes that you need to give your body time between meals to dip into your fat reserves and burn fat. This is the basis of intermittent fasting diets and ketosis-based weight loss.
The majority of studies boil down to one thing though – weight loss is determined by the calories you consume – when or how often doesn’t matter.
And people who snack between meals tend to eat more calories than those who don’t. The trick is to listen to your body: if you’re one of those people who get light-headed and hangry three or four hours after a meal, then by all means, snack. But don’t do it just out of habit.
You are drinking sugar free (but artificially sweetened) drinks
So you’ve swapped out fizzy drinks for their zero calorie alternatives but you’re not really noticing a change on the scales? Well, according to Authority Nutrition you are not alone.
In fact, they reckon observational studies show links between diet soda and belly fat, high triglycerides and low good cholesterol. These are all bad things when it comes to your health.
The Harvard Medical School published this article, which seems to suggest that drinking no or low cal artificially sweetened drinks makes your body crave more sugar and makes you choose sweet food over nutritious food. In fact, drinking artificially sweetened drinks can actually make you gain weight. Rather opt for water flavoured with fresh fruit, fragrant herbs or a bit of rooibos tea.
Tracking your exercise is making you fat
We’ve discussed how easy it is to misjudge calories expended versus calories consumed before.
It basically boils down to the fact that people tend to overestimate how much exercise is worth and overcompensate by eating way more to “make up” for the imagined expended calories. While a bunch of alarmist articles came out recently about your fitness tracker making you fat, it would seem that it’s not the device’s fault though.
In many cases it all depends on whether the tracker is actually being used correctly and whether the user’s data input is accurate and honest. Some could easily choose not to mention that they had that second helping of pasta for dinner, and as such your calorie count and intake would be off.
You “save” calories for drinking by skipping meals
Most dieters know how detrimental alcoholic drinks can be to one’s progress. Not only is booze packed with empty calories, but we also make bad food decisions when we’re drunk.
Come on, no sober person would eat a marsala steak Gatsby and chips at 2am on the hood of a car.
So in order to make up for anticipated bad decisions later, a lot of young women are now fasting before drinking in order to save calories for later. Because calories are calories right – whether you get it from balanced meals or 2 sugary cocktails and a bottle of wine, right?
Your body will absorb the alcohol faster on an empty stomach and the previously mentioned bad decisions will be much easier to make. Also, you will find that your hangover the next day will be much worse and you’ll crave all sorts of greasy, high carb food.
Rather eat a healthy meal (see video below for healthy portion sizes) before you go out and drink moderately.