8 Weight Loss Self Sabotage Habits And What To Do Instead
Look, losing weight is hard. It’s difficult, it’s tedious, it’s fun one day and sucks the next. We get it. We help clients every single day lose weight. However, there are ways to make losing weight more enjoyable. After all, why make a tough process tougher on yourself if you don’t have to? We call this weight loss self-sabotage. We want to help show you how you might be making losing weight harder than it should be and what to do instead. Shall we!?
Weight Loss Self Sabotage
If you’re trying to lose weight you might as well start working with your body and not against it. Believe it or not, when you’re stressed out over what the scale says, your body knows it! And guess what else? It isn’t going to want to let go of the weight out of pure fear. You have to get the brain to trust the body, and the body to trust the brain so that you can make weight loss easier and not harder. The following things in this article may be behaviors and habits that you have and do on a daily or weekly basis. Our advice? Learn from them to free yourself of weight-loss sabotage once and for all.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #1: Cardio Bunnies
Wondering how to get over a plateau when losing weight? More cardio isn’t going to be the answer. Doing too much cardio can set you up for a muscle-burning situation, rather than a fat-burning one. Your body runs out of energy and starts catabolizing your muscle, meaning that the tone, defined look you're going for is going to be even harder with wasted muscle from too much cardio. Bonus: too much cardio also can slow your metabolism because the fat-burning mechanism in your body begins to slow down.
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THE BETTER OPTION:
Only focusing on cardio as a means of weight loss isn’t the most effective approach and can lead to frustration. What to do instead? Pick up some weights and do strength training instead or in addition to your cardio. Building muscle boosts the body’s metabolism so that you can burn more calories at rest long after your workout has ended. It’ll also help you build muscle, which in turn, creates that toned definition most people desire.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #2: Not Sleeping
Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand. When you’re tired, your body desires quick calories as an energy source which creates cravings. It can also be harder to get moving and have energy for the day, which most often means that dinner is going to be taken out because cooking demands too much from you. You can think of it this way - sleep is like food for the brain.
Why? Well, when you don’t sleep, your cortisol (stress hormone) fires off like an alarm, which can keep you awake during the wee hours of the night. Since the AM is the time when your cortisol levels are the highest, if you just spent most of the night up late stressing out, your sleep deprivation is going to make your metabolism groggy, too. Yikes!
Why though? Well, another hormone, insulin, is affected by a lack of sleep. When the body is tired, the ability to process insulin (needed to change sugar/starch, etc. into energy) goes out the window. If your body can’t process insulin, you’re going to store the excess as body fat.
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THE BETTER OPTION:
Create a sleep routine and stick to it. Our bodies are creatures of habit and with a little diligence, you can create sleep hygiene that supports your health, instead of working against it. A lack of sleep causes steep rises in cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as insulin, which helps your body break down simple sugars into energy. If you’re getting enough sleep, your hormones will thank you by releasing stored body fat as energy throughout the day, leading to an eventual weight reduction.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #3: No Sunshine
No sunshine means big problems for the human body, especially one that is overweight or trying to lose weight. The sun influences our mood, bone health, and overall health, believe it or not. When we’re exposed to the sun, our body not only uses vitamin D to synthesize healthy bone production, or our mood, but it also can start to change cholesterol in the body. There’s a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in obese and overweight people. As stored body fat goes up, our stored levels of vitamin D go down, creating a poor environment for overall health, mood, and weight gain.
THE BETTER OPTION:
Instead of spending so much time inside, just go outside and catch some rays. The sun is free and accessible just about anywhere. If you can’t get outside or it’s during the winter months when the sun rays aren’t strong enough to penetrate the human skin, then we suggest supplementing your nutrition with a high-quality vitamin D soft gel. Why a soft gel? Better absorption.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #4: Poor Protein Intake
When you don’t eat much protein chances are you’re eating more fats and simple carbohydrates which can turn your body into a fat-storing machine. Naturally, if your protein is low, your muscles have no nutrients to use to build and rebuild themselves. If too few of your daily calories come from protein, your body will want fast energy in the form of food, and most likely the food that you’ll gravitate towards is high calorie, low nutrition density, which leads to weight gain and muscle wasting.
THE BETTER OPTION:
Protein intake should make up anywhere from 20-35% of your daily caloric intake. If weight loss is your main goal, we don’t just recommend increasing protein intake but improving the quality of the carbohydrates and fats that you eat. Not sure how much protein you should eat or how to hit your daily goal? You’re not alone - often protein is the hardest macronutrient for people to hit, and this is where a nutrition coach can really help you find out ‘how much’ and ‘of what you need to eat for your body.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #5: Thriving Off Stress
Added stress can affect sleep patterns, eating habits, and cause your hormone levels to go out of control, which contributes directly to added weight gain and body fat. While cortisol is a necessary part of life, it’s important to keep your cortisol levels under control. While we already touched on the importance of sleep and balancing your stress hormones, if you thrive off stress, you’re not doing yourself any good, either.
THE BETTER OPTION:
Wrangling stress is no easy task, but if you’re looking to live your healthiest life, this is a great thing to learn how to manage and keep at bay. Sure, some stress is good, like the type of oxidative stress that exercises cause. However, stress and anxiety can lead up to big problems so we recommend things like eating foods that fight inflammation, taking a break, not overcommitting, making ‘me’ time, get an adequate amount of sleep, and exercise on a consistent basis. Not getting results? Consider stress-relieving supplements in addition to your stress-relieving techniques.
Tongkat Ali is an herb that helps to reduce fatigue and balance hormones. Combined with other ingredients like zinc, magnesium, and vitamin b6, these ingredients work together to help ease you into sleep and keep you in a restful sleep all night long.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #6: Not Planning Meals
No plan for your food means no plan for your weight loss. You don’t need to all of a sudden turn into this Pinterest-worthy meal prepper that has everything in perfect portions and pieces. However, you know how hard it is to choose a nutritious meal when you’re way too hungry after a very stressful day. Right? Right.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #7: Overruling Hunger Signals
Still gaining weight while telling your stomach “shh, you’re not hungry”? Your body signaling when your hungry and when you’re full is so normal, and often because of our busy schedules, our lifestyles, and our responsibilities, we don’t always have easy access to food, let alone food that is going to make us feel good. This is another reason why planning your meals and having quality snacks on hand can keep you on track with your health, fitness, and weight loss goals.
THE BETTER OPTION:
Instead of restricting and gaining even more body fat, give your body a break. Food is meant to give us the energy and nutrients to keep us vibrant and excited to take on and enjoy the other things in life. Food shouldn’t be a source of stress or anxiety, so if you look at it as a tool, and don’t overrule your hunger signals all the time, then you can get your body to trust that your mind is leading it to a good place (healthy weight loss) rather than the opposite (unhealthy weight loss from restriction).
Weight Loss Self Sabotage #8: Not Eating Enough
One of the biggest reasons why people gain weight and/or can’t lose weight is because they’ve spent too much time restricting their caloric intake and their metabolism has adapted to the low intake of food. If you’re not giving your body enough energy to fuel your daily activities, let alone your exercise, then it will need to source the energy from somewhere else - like your muscles.
THE BETTER OPTION:
Gradually increase quality protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Drink plenty of water and don’t worry if your hunger signals aren’t exactly on board at first. If you’ve been overruling your hunger signals, as we talked about in weight loss sabotage point #7, they’re going to take a little time to adjust and catch up to the influx of food.
After a few weeks to a few months of making it happen, gradually increasing quality ingredients and nutritionally dense foods, you’ll begin to actually feel ‘hungry’ again and maybe enjoy eating, all while losing weight at the same time. Not exactly faithful in this process on your own? Counsel a nutrition coach - they can lead you on the reverse dieting path with ease and grace.
Weight Loss Self Sabotage - Takeaway
Weight loss is hard enough all by itself without us making it harder on ourselves by not eating, not sleeping, and stressing out too much. If you're looking to break through your weight loss plateau and be kinder to yourself, then we recommend starting by taking a good look at your behavior and seeing if you do any of these habits. If you do? Don't stress even more! Just work on being more mindful and uprooting those habits each time you find yourself doing them so you can break free once and for all.
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