Kill These Habits Now!
Have you tried everything to drop those last few pounds? Are you stuck in a weight loss rut? We consulted JJ Virgin, celebrity nutrition and fitness expert and co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters, to get to the bottom of the five habits that are thwarting your weight loss efforts.
Skimping on sleep
We know you’re busy and all, and sometimes sleep is a complete afterthought to your hectic life, but you might be paying for those sleepless nights. Virgin says that just one poor night of sleep can “make your body struggle with fat burning, zap your energy (forget the gym!) and have you searching out sugar.” The solution? Commit to getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep nightly.
drinking water with your meals
If you drink too much fluid with your meals, you can dilute stomach acid and impair digestion, Virgin explains. The solution? Drink 16 ounces of water when you wake up each morning and 30-60 minutes before lunch and dinner. “Add another 8 ounces before bed to stave off evening hunger pangs and another glass or two throughout the day,” she says. “Track this to start because what you measure, you can improve!”
Mom always told you to eat breakfast, and it turned out she was right! Breakfast sets your metabolic tone for the day, Virgin explains, and eating a well-balanced breakfast can set you up for “steady, sustained energy and better fat burning.” “Research shows that people who eat a protein rich, bigger breakfast (400-600 calories) lose more weight AND keep it off," she says. But if you reach for the sugary stuff in the morning (muffins, etc.) or skip your breakfast, you could be on your way to a blood sugar rollercoaster. To avoid this situation, Virgin suggests starting the day off with a smoothie with high quality protein and a fiber supplement.
Sure, those 100-calorie snack packs are tempting (they’re delicious and low-calorie, after all!), but these little snacks might be thwarting your weight loss efforts. Why? Virgin filled us in: “Every time you eat, you raise blood sugar which in turn raises insulin, the storage hormone. If you are eating throughout the day, especially in small carbohydrate doses (like those 100 calorie “snack packs”) you are keeping insulin up which shuts off fat burning.” Fix the problem by eating balanced meals of clean, lean protein, healthy anti-inflammatory fats, slow low high fiber carbs and loads of non-starchy veggies every four to six hours and you’ll get great sustained energy and better fat burning.
overdoing endurance training
Too much of a good thing is never healthy, and that includes exercise. Sixty minutes or more of moderately high intensity exercise (ie jogging, cycling, swimming) can actually lower testosterone and increase oxidative stress which accelerates aging and depresses your immune system, Virgin says. Fix the problem by doing high intensity interval training that raises growth hormone and improves fat burning. By doing only four minutes of cardio-burst training, you’ll get the benefits of 20 minutes of steady cardio!