By Amy Hendel
Scale not moving? Avoid these common roadblocks to weight loss
Reason #1: You Don't Realize That Sugar Lurks Everywhere
Many foods that we don't think of as sweet, like pasta, soups, cereal, salad dressings and sauces, contain sugar and often it goes by another name like agave nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate(s), glucose, dextrose, sucrose, honey, malt syrup or molasses -- just to name a few!. If your diet is high in sugar you may be missing out on important nutrients and overeating more often than you realize since sugar stimulates taste. A high-sugar diet can also cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar, which can zap your energy and make you feel hungry again.
Solution: Read nutrition labels and steer clear of cereals and sauces that have more than 8 grams of sugar per serving. If you need a sweet fix, choose fresh fruit as often as possible. Skip sodas in favor of water (plain or flavored with a bit of lemon, lime or juice essence) and unsweetened teas.
Reason #2: You Choose "Healthy" Processed Food
Foods labeled "low sugar," "low sodium," "multi grain," "organic," "natural," "vitamin-enriched," "high fiber," or "sweetened with honey or agave" may be high in calories or hidden sweeteners or unhealthy additives. And if you assume it's healthy, you may eat more of it.
Solution: Switch to whole foods like fresh produce, fish and meat and beans and legumes and limit consumption of processed foods.
Reason #3: You Snack On Nutrition Bars
How often do you eat a nutrition bar as a snack rather than to fuel a workout? If it's often, you could be downing 400 or more calories without realizing it. Although touted as healthy, many nutrition bars are no better than a candy bar. If you use them for fuel, choose carb-loaded bars for aerobic exercise and protein bars for weight training. If you eat them in the normal course of your day, choose 100-calorie bars for a snack and 350-calorie bars for a meal (and don't combine with them other high-calorie foods) and avoid bars with trans fats.
Solution: Eat whole- food snacks, like sliced apple and peanut butter, and reserve bars for emergencies.
Reason #4: You Exercise Too Leisurely
If you rely on the calorie counts on machines or the numbers of calories you'll burn promised to you by instructors you could be exerting too little effort to jumpstart weight loss. To burn 100 calories an hour, you need to maintain a high level of aerobic activity the entire hour.
Solution: Determine your target heart rate for optimal exercise then check your pulse several times during workouts (or wear a heart-rate monitor) to make sure you're consistently in that calorie-burning zone. Try interval training (a mix of fast and slow pace), fun classes (Zumba anyone?) or outdoor exercise to keep you engaged and burning calories at maximal capacity. Choose exercises that offer a challenge or cross train on different equipment to push your body out of weight-loss plateaus.
Reason #5: You Ignore Fiber
Fiber-rich foods are good for weight-loss in two ways: They require more calorie-burning effort during digestion and they are filling and satisfying, which helps curb cravings.
Solution: Aim for 30 grams of fiber a day. Good sources include fruits, vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, beans and legumes and unprocessed nuts.
Click here to read the other ten hidden reasons you're not losing weight!
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By Amy Hendel