Ditch bad habits that stop you losing weight

We’re all guilty of adopting the occasional bad habit, however some of them can have more impact on our lifestyles than others. For example, despite your everyday routine seemingly having nothing to do with your metabolic activity, the ins and outs of your day could in fact be having an impact on your body weight. Don’t let your habits mess with your metabolism by checking out our handy tips and what to do look for…

1) Sitting still – You are probably plonked at your desk reading this now, but it is true that sitting down for long periods – whether at work or at home – can add inches to your waistline. Being stationary for three or more hours means that you end up losing metabolism boosting muscle mass, meaning your muscles won’t work as hard to burn fat. Combat this by ensuring you move a little after every half hour, even if it’s just to pop the kettle on or nip to the loo.

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2) Being sleep deprived – If you are a night owl seeing in the morning hours before you hit the sack, then you are in fact damaging your waistline. If you are tired, you have a decreased ability to manage your blood sugar levels, with the hormone leptin – which reduces appetite – also decreasing when you are fatigued. All this ups the chance of being obese as you crave heavy carbs. Avoid this by having dinner at least three hours before your go to bed and avoid caffeine.

3) Skipping meals – Many people assume that skipping meals can make you skinnier, when this is in fact incorrect. What actually happens is your body automatically slows down the metabolism process to conserve energy, meaning your body will store fat instead of burn it. Also, when you next eat, you are then in danger of overeating as your body wants to replenish its low resources. Advice recommends that it’s better to have small meals every few hours to help maintain a healthy weight and help you avoid junk food.

4) Staying stressed – Stress makes us crave junk food high in calories, which is not good if you are trying to watch what you eat. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels and enhances proper burning of proteins, carbs and fat. Your pancreas will then release extra insulin to lower the blood sugar level which causes the cravings. Fight this process by exercising. Not only is exercise proven to help reduce stress, but it also burns calories and maintains your muscle mass. Also try keeping the fruit bowl handy for snacks and you may want to give meditation a go.

5) Your diet is lacking – You need to ensure you are receiving all of the essential nutrients through your diet to boost your metabolic system. Calcium especially can slow you down if you are missing it, whilst protein is also vital for maintaining lean muscles. By adding dairy to your diet, this should help, opting for fat free or low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese if you are also trying to lose weight. Leafy green veg is also a winner, as is lean meat such as chicken.

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6) Eating fatty and processed foods – These types of food seriously slow down your digestive process. Fatty foods tend to be saved by your body for future use, whilst processed foods are high in both sugar and salt which aren’t good for the fat burning enzymes in your body. Try to avoid fast foods and sugar rich desserts – you can always munch on oven baked chips or low fat desserts, which will still hit your craving but won’t be as bad.

7) Not drinking enough water – Dehydration affects your entire body, especially if you are trying to lose weight, as your metabolic rate will slow right down and affect the number of calories that you can burn. Although it’s difficult to specify an exact amount of water to drink each day, a report by the University of Utah College of Medicine said that people who drank between eight and 12 glasses of water per day burned more calories than those who drank less. So ensure you keep a bottle to hand so you can keep hydrated.

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