Staying healthy but not seeing results? Some habits you might have picked up in your extra time at home might be detrimental to your progress and causing the kgs to creep on.
Here are seven common not-so-healthy ‘healthy’ habits you’ll want to steer clear of if you’re looking to lose weight.
Downing Diet Coke
You may think you’ve done yourself a favour by swapping from regular soft drink to diet, but you may be doing more harm than good. Diet coke may be calorie-free, but the aspartame (the artificial sweetener in diet soft drinks) content actually increases your likelihood of gaining weight. Aspartame disrupts your metabolic rate and can leave you feeling hungrier than before, and more likely to snack mindlessly – particularly an issue when the kitchen is a few steps away!
Trading Sleep for Exercise
While a workout first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day on a high note, if you’re foregoing sleep for it, you’re not doing yourself any favours. Those who sleep five hours or less put on 2.5 times more stomach fat than those who get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep, according to a study by Wake Forest University School of Medicine. If you’re planning to get a sweat sesh in before working from home, make sure you go to bed at a decent hour to get your recommended 6-8 hours of sleep.
Catching too Many Zzzs
On the flip side, too much sleep can also be an issue. Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that those who sleep longer than eight hours are more likely to pack on belly fat. So, get those 6-8 hours but don’t stay in bed all day!
The extra time to work out right now can be a bonus for weight loss and muscle gain – but if you’re not giving your body enough time to recover and repair, you’re at risk of injury that could hinder your progress. Also, over-training puts stress on your body, which increases your levels of the hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol levels can lead to an increase of ghrelin – the hunger hormone – making it difficult for you to control your appetite and resist unhealthy foods. To give your body enough time to recover, take two days off a week.
Snacking on Fruit
Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, making it a great snack – in moderation. Many people get carried away with fresh fruit, fruit juices, and fruit smoothies, forgetting fruits are also high in calories and sugar. While fruit is healthy, calories from fruit do count and can make you gain weight when you consume more than the two recommended serves a day (one serve of fruit = a medium piece of fruit, two small pieces of fruit, or around a cup of diced fruit/berries).
Eating Low Fat
Low-fat diets are so 80s. It’s smart to ditch trans fats, however, healthy fats from avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon still have their place in a healthy diet. Healthy fats increase satiety, helping you stay fuller for longer. Reduced-fat products (think low or no-fat yoghurts, milk, and cheeses) often replace fats with quickly digestible carbs, causing a sugar rush and subsequent hunger.
Saving Your Calories for Later
If you often cut calories throughout the day to ‘save up’ for a boozy night or all-out dinner in iso, you’re likely doing more harm than good. It’s difficult to maintain portion control or go with a healthy choices when you’re about to eat your arm off, and alcohol and an empty stomach do not mix well.
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