Losing weight can feel like an uphill battle, especially when we’re making changes but not seeing any results. When you’re making food choices, grocery shopping or having dinner with family, the small things are just as important as the main course. Here are four common food choices – that everyone makes – which could be the cause of weight gain or stubborn weight loss.
Oil is one of the most calorie-dense foods we like to put on our salads and sautéed vegetables. Calorie density is measured by number of calories by weight. So 100 calories worth of oil is much smaller than 100 calories worth of broccoli. This delicious condiment is just one of several popular add-ons that pack a heavy calorie punch and lead to weight gain if we’re not paying attention. Common culprits include ranch, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, butter, buffalo sauce, and Teriyaki sauce.
2. Drinking Calories
Sugary drinks are one of the hardest habits to kick. The most popular, of course, are soda, coffee drinks, and cocktails, but many are still fooled into choosing “sugar-free” or “diet” options thinking it won’t affect their weight.* Furthermore, fruit juice and dairy are also adding to your waistline if you’re not accounting for the calories later on. Yes, fruit juice is healthier than soda, but consider the calories if you’re trying to lose weight. A glass of 1% milk or orange juice isn’t going to fill you up but it will add 200-300 calories to your daily intake.
*Artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks are both carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and lead to imbalances in hormones and blood sugar, which can cause cravings and unhealthy food choices.
One of America’s favorite pastimes…snacking. There is a lot of debate surrounding how often and how much we should eat. While some argue that eating small meals every 2-3 hours is good for the metabolism, others tout 16 hours of fasting each day is best. Still, other research has shown that eating too often is damaging for the digestive system and a healthy meal 3x daily produces the same results as fasting without the potential for muscle-loss. Whatever style of eating you choose, the focus should be whole organic foods with a focus on plants (ie. veggies, beans/legumes, and fruits).
The risks with eating more often are calorie count and portion control. Adding three snacks to your three big meals can quickly add hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake. Another concern with snacking is the reason. Many of us who work sedentary jobs eat because we’re bored. Another common cause of snacking is dehydration. If you aim for 3-4 liters of water per day, you’ll notice the desire to snack between meals decline.
4. Going Out
Going out to eat could be the number one unexpected culprit for weight gain. We go to the restaurant and order the grilled chicken salad thinking we’re doing well with our diet, but that gorgeous and delicious tossed salad is covered in a calorie-heavy salad dressing with calorie-heavy toppings like avocado, almonds, and bacon bits. Many restaurant salads can contain up to 2,000 calories. This doesn’t include the 500 calorie appetizer and 300 calories worth of wine or sweet tea. Crazy, right?! Choosing water and controlling your portion sizes (split meals or save half for later), while asking for sauce on the side will help minimize the calorie damage when going out to eat. Another healthy tip for reducing calorie intake at restaurants is ordering a la carte.
The Mathematics of Weight Loss
The goal for weight loss is to use more energy (calories) than you consume. If your basal metabolic rate (calories used at rest) is 1,400 calories/day and you’re consuming 2,400/day, you need to burn more than 1,000 to create a calorie deficit and lose weight. Since one pound of fat is approximately 4,000 calories (give-or-take); to burn an extra 4k calories a week (1lb/week), you need a daily calorie deficit of at least 571 calories. How can you eliminate an extra 571 calories a day? Stop adding oil to your salads, choose water instead of soda, snack less, and cook more meals at home.
If you’ve recently lost weight and are struggling with skin laxity, or you’ve lost weight but can’t shed the last layer of fat, schedule a FREE consultation at Imagen to discuss your body sculpting options. Call or text 402-509-8473 or email [email protected] to get started!