Weight loss is tough. Add in certain factors sabotaging your valiant efforts and it becomes even tougher. Consciously or subconsciously weight loss efforts can be influenced by your actions, feelings, and your environmental surroundings. Here’s a look at what might be limiting actual pounds lost:
- Restricting calories to eat junk food
You’re ‘good’ all day in order to eat that chocolaty rich dessert that night. Every so often this might be ok but if it becomes a frequent habit, it could backfire on you. The junk food habit needs to be broken to where it is very infrequent. Otherwise frequent consumption of high-calorie sweets and snacks will never satisfy you. Each meal and snack needs sufficient protein (about 25-30 grams at each meal; 10-20 grams at a snack) and fiber to keep you feeling full without filling you out.
- Frequent eating out
According to a 2016 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition it doesn’t matter whether you eat out a lot at a fast food or full-service restaurants – eat at either one and you’ll consume about 200 calories more than eating at home. The message here is to stay home and cook and save a ton of calories.
- Prescription medications
It’s been known for a while that certain medications can cause weight gain. Prescription medications to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia are all drugs that can have the possible side effect of pounds gained. It’s important to treat the medical condition but if you notice this happening, discuss with your doctor about an alternative medication without this side effect.
- Watching cooking shows
The innocent act of viewing cooking shows may have a side effect of causing weight gain. Women who watch cooking shows where high-calorie, indulgent recipes are made and who also cook from scratch, weigh about 12 pounds heavier than women who cook from scratch but hardly ever watch a cooking show. It may be time to scratch cooking shows from your viewing list.
- Lacking sleep
The lack of sufficient shuteye can be sabotaging your dieting. People with a shorter sleep duration have a higher body mass index along with feelings of increased hunger and appetite. When you’re tired it can turn into a vicious cycle of grabbing a sugary, calorie-laden treat midday, skipping the gym and going through a drive-thru instead of cooking at home. Get to bed earlier and aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Family and friends
You gotta love them but sometimes if you’re the one trying to watch your weight and they’re not guess who has the upper hand. It’s hard when mom insists on that second helping of lasagna or your friends like to get together on weekends eating out and drinking. Your best bet is to be firm when food is pushed on you or change the subject–quickly. Pace yourself when out with friends choosing lighter fare food and low to no-calorie beverages.
- Overestimating calories burned
You go out for a 30 minute jog and figure you’ve burned quite a few calories so you reward yourself by eating a few cookies. This is the perfect weight loss killer. The average person weighing 150 pounds would burn about 370 calories but having just a few cookies cancels it out. Calculating the number of calories burned each day varies greatly from person to person depending on several factors. Your best bet when you’ve had a good workout is to avoid rewarding yourself with food.
Overall, give yourself a pat on the back for giving good effort in attempting weight loss. None of us are perfect and losing weight is no exception. Stay focused, have consistency in regular exercise, choose healthy foods 90% of the time and weight loss becomes much easier.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook.