weight loss traps

Weight Loss Traps

Are you trying to lose weight to ease pressure on your joints and get healthier overall? Are you having trouble making progress?

It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that can undermine your weight loss. “Sometimes you feel like you’re doing all of the right things and not seeing results,” says registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, 2012). “The more aware you are of the unexpected things that can sabotage your diet, the more successful you’ll be.”

Watch out for these diet traps.

Watching Cooking Shows

People who make meals they see on cooking shows weigh an average of 10 pounds more than those who don’t, revealed a 2015 study in the journal Appetite. The reason: Many of the dishes are high-calorie. “Make a pact with yourself that for every hour you spend watching food TV you’re going to spend [time] cooking something healthy,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Karen Ansel, co-author of The Calendar Diet: A Month-by-Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life (Wagging Tail Press, 2012).

Eating Out

Diners consume about 200 more calories at restaurants than when eating at home, a 2015 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found. People dining out tend to order extras, like appetizers and desserts, and more indulgent dishes, says study author Ruopeng An, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It’s healthier to prepare your own foods,” he says.

Distracted Eating

Avoid multitasking at meals; distracted eating has been linked to higher calorie consumption. “If you grab food and wolf it down, you might be full, but you won’t feel satisfied, and that’ll send you looking for something else to eat,” says Palinski-Wade. Turn off the TV, put down your smartphone and eat mindfully and more slowly in a distraction-free environment so you’ll be aware of how full you feel, she advises.

Parent Traps

Even women who were a healthy weight before pregnancy had trouble shedding extra pounds afterward; 38% were overweight or obese a year later, partly due to lifestyle factors, found a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. New dads gained an average of 4.4 pounds, research shows. “We start to put ourselves second, so we skip that trip to the gym or start eating kiddie foods like mac and cheese instead of healthier foods we might have chosen pre-parenting,” Ansel explains. Instead, stock your kitchen with healthy foods for the family and don’t get started with “kid-friendly” foods.

Dining with Friends

Research shows you’re more likely to order the same amount and type of food as your friends – great if everyone orders salad but not if everyone wants chocolate lava cake. Instead, order one dessert to share. “You still get to indulge, but you’ll eat a smaller amount,” Palinski-Wade says.


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