Habits can’t be broken, they need to be replaced. Indulging in a chocolate cake once in a while or having a day on the couch with your chips or pakodas is not going to make you unfit, however doing it every single day, will! Here are some weight gain habits to look out for:
Lack of sleep may be making you fat. According to studies, partial sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism by 5-20% and alters your level of hunger hormones, making you hungrier all day and seriously bingeing the next.
Eating in the car. If you buy “easy to eat” meals like a burger or samosas on your way, you may end up eating your daily calorie quota in one hit. If you do travel long distances, plan ahead and carry a healthy meal and a bottle of water with you.
Eating in front of the TV. You should savour every bite, relishing the flavours and textures, not to mention be grateful for them. Eating in front of the TV makes you eat fast. The brain takes time to communicate that you are indeed satiated, so allow that to happen.
Food rut – eating the same thing day in and day out. Even if you think that you are eating healthy, you could be stuffing yourself with too much of the same thing on a daily basis, making it mundane and boring for one, which will tempt you to have frequent “pig-out” sessions with the foods you love.
Finishing everything on your plate and peer pressure. Some will probably slay me for saying this, but wasted food is wasted food, putting it all in your belly is not going to save a starving child. Serve yourself as much as you want to eat. Don’t go for seconds. Growing up as an obese kid, my mum never forced me to finish my food, as most mums do, in fact she hoped that I would leave some over. She too told me not to treat my stomach like a garbage bin.
“Coffee shopping” or for some of us it is the “meet up for a drink”. Many of us make it a habit to meet up with friends for coffee where the preferred flavour is hazelnut cream with a slice of a brownie. Need I say more? The equal fat habit is a few beers every night.
Some Lean Habits you could instill to replace some of the fat ones.
Smell your food. Smell peppermint and smell each spoonful before you eat. It tricks your mind into believing you have eaten a little more than you have. When I wanted to shed 10 kilos in 3 months, I smelled chocolate whenever I had a craving.
Walk for an hour everyday, instead of watching TV. If you have a treadmill or you can go to a gym, then you can multitask. If not, take your ipod and listen to music or audio-books while you walk those kilos away.
Practice one form of resistance training everyday. I love Pilates, but if you prefer Yoga or weight training, go for it. The more lean muscle you build, the faster you will shed weight and gain definition. Meet up with friends you used to go for drinks or coffee with for a run or a yoga class instead.
Drink lots of water and herbal teas. This is a good way to replace mindless munching, you can even replace the nightly drink or juice with iced herbal tea served chilled with a slice of lime in a nice glass. Make everything look enticingly tempting.
Stock up on what I like to call “free-foods” and drinks like cucumbers, celery, lettuce and herbal teas. You can eat as much of those as you want. They probably burn up more calories munching them than they actually carry themselves.
You need to have a reality check. I was once talking to a client who told me how healthy he was eating. After careful investigation, we discovered 8 slices of bread, be it they were brown, but who needs 8 slices a day, unless you are running a marathon. Where do you think it is going to store? So, for 2 days, list every single thing that you did and every morsel and drop that went into your mouth, the amount of liquids you consumed, if you are a smoker, the number of cigarettes. Even if they are things you consider healthy, like juice.
Write down also all the activities you did, the number of hours you slept or watched TV, if you went to the bathroom, if you went for a walk or jog or played a sport or got a massage. At the end of the 48 hours, get some help from a coach or a nutritionist. Identify the “fat-habits” and replace them with lean habits. Think of what a fit and healthy person would be doing daily and let that guide you as your list new habits.