by Carolyn Jones, Glamour
You are getting regular exercise, know all about portion control, and are even avoiding the high-calorie coffee drinks (well, most days). So why aren't you getting closer to achieving your weight-loss goal? We spoke to nutrition experts and found eight unhealthy habits you should stop doing now if you want to shed those pounds.
Weight-Loss Tip: Stop ignoring your overeating triggers.
Do you know what personal triggers have you reaching for the snacks (think road trips, celebrations, weekends, etc.)? Heather Bauer, R.D., co-author of Bread Is the Devil, calls these triggers our "diet devils" because they keep us from making smart decisions. For example, how many cookies do you absentmindedly eat in front of the TV after dinner? What about that binge-inducing boredom devil or, most dangerous of all, that vacation-eating demon? Start taking note of your diet-ruining trigger situations and you'll be able to stop them from ruining your diet.
Weight-Loss Tip: Stop ignoring the fiber hype.
If you're looking to lose weight, fiber really is your secret weapon. High-fiber foods like legumes, nuts, and whole-grain products help to keep you full after a meal. They also stabilize your blood sugar, protecting you from the temptation to crash-snack. Erika Kaufman, R.D, a registered dietitian at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, advises eating 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, aiming for 3 grams in each bread serving and at least 5 grams of fiber in your cereal.
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Weight-Loss Tip: Stop cooking meals without using measuring cups.
You conscientiously check food labels, but do you pay attention to serving sizes? (You don't have to answer that.) Rachel Beller, M.S., R.D., and nutritionist on NBC's The Biggest Loser, calls for a "reality check" when it comes to reading serving sizes on packaging. "Many cereals have a serving size of half a cup or two-thirds of a cup, but no one sticks to a measly half a cup of cereal." She suggests limiting yourself to single-cup servings that don't exceed 200 calories. Make measuring cups your new BFFs, and resist the temptation to let 'em overflow.
Weight-Loss Tip: Stop pretending liquid calories don't count.
You don't ignore the calories in a giant muffin, but that specialty coffee may not always get the same consideration. Solid foods aren't the only hiding place for weight-gain culprits--liquids are diet derailers too. "A 20-ounce nonfat latte contains 200 calories, but the same size coffee with a splash of nonfat milk or soy milk has 25," Beller says. If you're still skeptical that drinks are wreaking havoc on your daily calorie allowance, journal them and you might be surprised.
Weight-Loss Tip: Stop making snacking so easy.
We know we ought to snack on carrot sticks, but when the potato chips looks so good every time you open the cupboard, sometimes a girl's willpower just isn't enough. Do yourself a favor and hide the sweets, or at least make them so unreachable that they're a huge annoyance to retrieve. Debi Silber, M.S., a registered dietitian in Long Island, N.Y., suggests: "It's all about out of sight, out of mind. Try giving your tempting treats to guests when they leave or asking your friends to hide them."
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Weight-Loss Tip: Stop eating the same healthful foods all the time.
Is your fridge yawn-inducing? Meals are bound to get boring if we fall into the routine of eating the same fruits and vegetables. Amanda Carlson-Phillips, R.D., a Phoenix-based dietitian with Core Performance, recommends adding fruits and veggies of three different colors to every plate--you'll be chowing down on a mix of nutrient-dense, low-calorie, high-fiber foods to help keep you slim. Also, a heart-healthy salad will feel like much more like a satisfying indulgence when it's a visual feast and taste-bud party.
Weight-Loss Tip: Stop cleaning your plate.
If you have bad memories of being yelled at for not finishing everything on your plate, forget them. "Stopping before you're full is better for your health," says Ericka Stachura, R.D., a registered dietitian in Boston. That's because it takes 20 minutes for our stomachs to tell our brains that we're full; leaving food on the plate allows your brain to play catch-up. Also, when dining out, consider sharing an entree with a friend--portion sizes are often way larger than the recommended size for one person. You'll still feel satisfied. Promise.
Weight-Loss Tip: Stop making bad choices at restaurants. If eating at restaurants feels like engaging in an atomic battle with your willpower, understanding menu terms will make picking the healthiest dish worlds easier. Next time you're choosing a meal, avoid anything described as batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, sauteed, or breaded. Instead, skip straight to dishes that are baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, or steamed. Start being more conscious of what you're ordering when you eat out and enjoy the bikini body that follows.
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by Carolyn Jones, Glamour