1. Attitude. Henry Ford once said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Believing you can change is essential. Break your goals up into small steps. For example, add a vegetable to lunch and walk for ten minutes in the evening. For more on making change easier, look at the book “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath.
2. Late night noshing. At least half of your calories should be eaten before 5 p.m. If not, you might not be eating enough during the day to prevent being extra hungry in the evening. It is about calorie balance when it comes to losing weight (eat fewer calories than you burn). However, the longer you go without enough food, the more hormones your body releases telling you to EAT!
3. Tasting while cooking your meal or mindlessly eating. All of these little bites here and there add up over time. We often don’t count these in our calorie counts for the day because it is just one bite!
4. Using exercise as an excuse to eat more. A recent article in Time Magazine focused on how people tend to eat more on days they exercise and then are frustrated when they don’t lose weight. Let’s say you spend 60 minutes working out at the gym and burn 400 calories. If you then eat more because you are hungry or “reward” your hard work, that 400 calories is neutralized in eating one muffin. Instead, work with your registered dietitian to come up with some low calorie, satisfying foods that still fit into your meal plan.
5. Grabbing a piece of candy here and there. (i.e., coworkers’ candy dish, the candy at the bank, free samples). Write down everything you eat. Research shows that people who keep food diaries tend to lose weight and keep it off. One reason is they become mindful about what they are eating. Remember that bites here and there add up!
6. Blowing it on the weekends. Picture this: you have been tracking all of your food and exercise, and sweating it out at the gym for the past 5 days. You deserve a break, right? Unfortunately, taking it easy on the weekends can cancel all of your hard work. It doesn’t seem fair that you can undo five days of hard work with just two days, but it happens. If you are not losing weight, take a look at what you are doing on the weekends. Just one high fat menu item at a restaurant can cost you about 1,000 calories if you’re not careful.
7. Excuses. (i.e., I deserve it, had a bad day, friend can’t make it to exercise so I won’t go). Yes, you do deserve it! However, making these excuses will not get you where you want to be. Before you give in to a craving, HALT and ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. These are common reasons cravings seem to increase. Remind yourself of your goal.
8. Not letting people know you need help. Every major change in your life takes a lot of work. Letting others know will let them be able to help you or at least not hinder your efforts. For example, if you had a baby, did you let others know? Were they excited for you and offered to help out and bought clothes for the baby and other things, and give you advise? View changing your eating habits like this and ask others for help to be successful. Without letting others know, they might bring you cookies or make your favorite dessert.
9. “What could one day hurt,” or “one more day…” “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” I love this quote because it is so true. Time goes very quickly. When we think of weight loss, a year seems far away, but as you make healthy choices day by day, a year from now you will be so glad you started today!
10. Not recognizing how far you’ve come. Look back at how far you’ve come. Are you eating better today than you were a year ago? Have you lost five pounds? Is your family eating more vegetables now than ever? Celebrate your accomplishments! Sure, you may have 30 more pounds to lose, but be proud of those 5 you did lose. It is more encouraging to see the progress we have already made than to see what we still need to do.