1. You Don't Drink Enough Water
Lots of our food cravings surface because our body is deprived of something, be it simple hydration or the lack of a particular mineral.
Making sure you drink up goes a long way towards keeping cravings and hunger pangs at bay.
More importantly, our body needs water to perform many of its basic functions well, and that includes flushing out toxins.
Plus, as you get fitter, you’ll find that muscles require and “hold” more water than fats do, so staying hydrated becomes more important than ever.
2. You Expect Fast Results
First of all, you need to know that your body is going to do its best to preserve its current state.
If you’re doing fine health-wise, your body will do everything it can to keep itself from changing, especially if it means losing weight or fat reserves. So if you’re trying to shed the pounds, the trick is consistency.
If you work out a couple of times and slack off, your body will happily return to its previous fat and muscle percentage in a fairly short timespan.
You’ve got to be disciplined and keep at it several times a week in order to overcome the initial weight loss inertia (which is the hardest thing about weight loss for me, personally).
Also remember that as you build muscle and lose fat, you may reach a point where your weight loss plateaus. Don’t lose heart though, because muscle is heavier than fat; and keep in mind that your body is a work in progress.
3. You Don't Eat Home Cooked Food
When you eat out, you almost never have control over what goes into your nosh.
You don’t quite know how much sugar, salt, oil, or ‘bad’ fat is going into your meal.
Considering we eat out to save on time and occasionally money, plenty of the more affordable takeaway options in Singapore (and most of our hawker food) tend to lie on the unhealthy end of the spectrum.
If you’re serious about losing weight or getting leaner, you need to pay attention to what you put in your body.
As fitness buffs are wont to say, your body’s a temple. Cutting down on carb and sugar intake will give your body more energy as long as you remember to eat your vegetables, fruits and proteins.
And make sure you’re choosing complex carbohydrates that will keep you full for longer and not burn up in a short-lived sugar rush.
You’ll probably want to cut down on your salt intake as well, but keep in mind that our bodies do need a certain amount of salt to function.
4. You Don't Plan Your Meals
Healthy eating is more likely to fly out the window in the face of sudden bouts of hunger or cravings throughout the day.
If it’s tea time at work and you’re feeling peckish, you’re more likely to cave in and eat something that has very little nutritional value.
Anticipate getting hungry throughout the day, especially if you only have time for a lunch break at work.
Keep healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruits or oat bars in your drawer at work for those odd-hour cravings.
Where lunch is concerned, it can be tough to make your own meal every day.
Consider meal prep, which involves pre-making and sometimes freezing different lunch options over the weekend, that you can pull out and reheat during the week.
If you prefer freshly-cooked meats or fish, then at least marinate or prepare your seasoning mixes over the weekend so the meats have plenty of time to absorb as much flavour as possible.
5. You Skip Meals
You may have heard that cutting your calorie intake is a good way to lose fat.
While in theory burning more calories than you consume is going to lead to weight loss, you also need to ensure you’re consuming sufficient calories to keep your body going throughout the day.
Also important to note: if you skip meals or eat too little, your body will go into starvation mode and slow its metabolism down to preserve the energy from the little bits of food that it does get.
Takeaway: It makes more sense to eat smaller portions but at regular intervals throughout the day.
6. You Let People Sabotage Your Progress
If you’re looking to effect change in your life, then you need to tell everyone around you who has any influence over you.
These can be colleagues who are part of your lunch decisions (or who might inadvertently tempt you with treats throughout the day), your family, and close friends.
If they care about you, they’ll be more than happy to support you in your health journey, even if it means having to keep you in line from time to time. Support makes the biggest difference, so don’t underestimate it.
7. You Constantly Reward Your Efforts At The Gym
So you clocked a whole hour at the gym lifting weights and burning calories.
It’s tempting to treat yourself to some dessert, a side order of fries, or bubble tea right after, whatever your favourite indulgence may be.
While we’re all about rewarding yourself, doing it too often is undoubtedly counterproductive and can negate the efforts you put in at the gym.
More often than not, a tiny indulgence will rack up more calories than an intense workout will burn.
So if you’re concerned about seeing results (as opposed to working out just to feel good), keep your treats to the weekend or find ways to make your favourite desserts and drinks healthier.
8. Denying Yourself Treats Entirely
On the flip side, cutting yourself off from your indulgences completely can be a disaster. It can be a terrible idea if you’re a foodie, because it sucks so much joy out of your life.
Not only is it going to make your entire weight loss experience a negative one, but it’s also going to feel unsustainable in the long run.
To make matters worse, not all of us have the level of willpower required to cut out indulgences, which means when we do eventually give in we’re more prone to all-out caving.
If binging just once means you’ve “failed” at your diet, you’re likely to give up entirely.
While you don’t have to give yourself entire cheat days for eating unhealthy foods, letting yourself enjoy something small once in awhile can give you some motivation as well.
9. You Eat Deceptively Healthy Foods
Don’t be fooled by foods and drinks that are advertised as low fat or no fat.
Most of the time, low-fat products may result in fewer calories but include more unhealthy components required to sweeten the food or lend it its pleasant flavour (like loads of sweeteners or salt).
Yoghurt is one of those things. Stick to greek or natural yoghurt and sweeten it with fresh fruits or a dollop of raw honey if necessary.
There’s also the psychological dissatisfaction that can come from eating low or no-fat foods, resulting in you eating more to fill the “emptiness”.
As a whole, real foods are often better for you than more processed options marketed for dieters. Good luck!
Text: Alyssa Dhaliwal/HerWorldPlus