Beach Body or Beached Whale: 6 Weight Loss Saboteurs
Beach season is here!
As the weather has finally gotten warmer, future beach-goers have started to reduce their calorie count to get into the swimsuit or body of their choice this summer. But lurking in the shadows are saboteurs, resolute in their attempts to keep the hopefuls from reaching their fitness goals. Thankfully, we at Hobbes Lives have identified some of these sleazy saboteurs so you can know how they approach and how to avoid them.
#1 Diet Soda
Don’t let the “diet” label fool you. Underneath its Sofia Vergara commercials and zero calorie goodness, diet soda keeps a dirty secret: it actually makes it more difficult to lose weight. Because of its chemical composition and the difficulty the body has breaking it down, your diet Coke actually slows your metabolism; an important fact, considering metabolism determines how quickly your body process nutrients. Though there’s no easy way to determine just how great this effect is, it’s a safe bet that ingesting multiple cans a day will be a detriment to your weight loss plan. If at all possible — and it is because it’s soda, not dialysis — wean yourself away from this kind of beverage or just stick to one a day.
#2 Social Gatherings
BBQ season is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great because you get to see friends, eat outside, and comment on the meat while it’s on the grill. The downside is the food available, and your friends are almost guaranteed not to help your fitness goal. Actually, no matter what the get-together, it’s hard to find a meal-based event with friends that involves healthy food. In all likelihood, it will feature food that is high in fat, full of sodium, or packed with sugar — all things that are terrible for anyone on a diet.
Friends are no better. Often in their own efforts to eat less or feel better about eating poorly, they’ll pull you into eating another piece of cake/meat/bag of potato chips/17 packets of sugar. Even if you tell them you’re trying to eat well, many of them will use phrasing like, “live a little,” “it won’t kill you,” “you’re so skinny,” etc. etc. etc. [ed. note: I like to call this the "Mom Effect."]
To survive these events, I recommend one of two options. The first is to go in with a plan and vow only to eat a certain amount. Calorie counting apps come in very handy at a time like this. If you don’t believe your willpower will prevail, eat sparingly leading up to event. That way, you won’t necessarily feel full, but you’ll feel satisfied more quickly, and you won’t exceed your calorie limit as much as you would have otherwise.
#3 The “Gym Only” Weight Loss Plan
As The Rock recently pointed out while revealing his Hercules workout regimen, reaching your fitness goals are about two things: diet and exercise. Unfortunately, many people believe that the second half of this is the only key to their weight loss. While exercise is great for building metabolism-boosting muscle and burning excess calories, it cannot compete with a staggeringly unhealthy diet.
Here’s an example: a good half hour run at a decent pace (let’s say 7-8 miles per hour) will burn about 300 calories. By itself, that’s great. Until you realize that one pastry for breakfast can dwarf it. Even a good-sized doughnut can surpass 350 calories, and now you’ve still got a full day of unhealthy eating to compensate for.
So once again, with feeling: diet AND exercise!
#4 The “Cardio Only” Gym Plan
So, you’ve made it to the gym. That’s awesome.
So what do you do at the gym? You run? That’s great!
If you could be the other side of this conversation, I give you this simple logic problem: weight lifting increases muscle>muscle increases metabolism>higher metabolism means burning more calories>burning more calories = more weight loss. Therefore, weight lighting leads to weight loss! Cardio is great for burning calories in the moment, but if you want to turn your body into a calorie-burning machine it’s time to pick up the free weights.
Drinks have calories. This likely is not a surprise to you. However, many of the habits that come with drinking end up working against your weight loss plan.
First, we have the “I’ll have another” problem. Whether it’s a social thing, habit, or just a persuasive bartender, the automatic order of another beer adds at least another 100 calories to your daily count. Once the drinks start the pile, so do the calories, and then we hit our second problem.
“Drunchies,” or the drunk munchies. After a certain point, you can seem to eat ungodly amounts of bad food, and it will taste delicious. Also, your defenses are down due to the alcohol intake, so you’re far less likely to reject the idea and remain strong. That’s why setting a 2 drink limit for get-togethers can benefit you in the long run.
#6 Eating Out
Not only is eating out expensive, but it’s almost as hard to find healthy food. Sure, some places list their calories, but that does nothing for you if the 500 calories lunch you planned also has half of your days fat content. And for the restaurants where there are no means of counting calories? Forget it.
When possible, I always recommend eating in. Your wallet and gut will thank you.
Have any other traps you know people fall into? Weight loss traps, not things like “bear traps” or “pitfalls.” If so, let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!