3. Drinking milk
Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others. — Epictetus
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation given in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.
I’ve been a proponent of healthy living since I was 14 years old, and I cringe at all the dumb stuff I used to do thinking I was being healthy when I was only making losing and keeping weight off much harder than it needed to be.
The funny thing is that most people think that losing weight is rather simple: calories in and calories out.
And there is a proponent of that which is very much true.
However, there are a plethora of things that individuals don’t take into account when they are attempting to keep their weight under control that greatly hurt their chances of being able to do so.
Many of us have read so many articles or heard so many pieces of advice about what we need to do to lose or maintain our weight that it honestly can be rather confusing at times.
One day eggs are good for you, and the next day eggs are bad. Creatine is safe in one magazine while, in the next article, the jury is still out.
There are a number of deep scientific things that I won’t get into in this article, but here are five of the most common mistakes that I see people make on their weight loss journey.
Eliminate these five things, and you’ll be amazed at how the pounds will start coming off much quicker.
1. Eating a variety of different meals all the time
This one is interesting because we have all heard that variety is the spice of life.
Also, this is one of the things that makes eating out and traveling the world interesting: eating a variety of different things.
While this is true and something that I would still encourage as you travel, when you are in your everyday setting and doing your normal everyday things, having a mindset of consistent variability will make it VERY challenging to maintain a consistent fitness level.
The reason behind this is that the calorie amount of foods can be so misleading to what we might think they are.
We might think those sweet potato fries might not be that big of a deal or that alfredo sauce shouldn’t add too many extra calories to the meal, but the reality is that you’ll be surprised how a “little” extra can go a long way.
Many times, when we are not aware of all the caloric and nutritional value of different types of food we may be consuming, the chances of us eating something with a ton of calories that we weren’t aware is highly likely.
You only need to go look at a Starbucks menu to realize you can get a single drink that has up to 600 calories!
Therefore, to prevent this, having a base diet that one sticks to, regardless of how boring it is, is the safest way to ensure that you don’t make the mistake.
Leave the variability to your cheat meal on the weekends or when you vacay and are going to let your diet go a little bit, but not in the everyday course of your daily/weekly decisions.
2. Turning a cheat meal into a cheat weekend
This happens to a lot of people who just don’t quite get the concept of what a cheat meal is supposed to be.
It’s a momentary reprieve that allows you to eat pretty much whatever you desire for that ONE meal.
It can’t be a cheat weekend in which you just go completely off the reservation and feel that since you had such a solid week of eating healthy that you can eat whatever you desire.
The problem with this is that by doing so, you are completely negating all the positivity that you’ve gained over that week and will weigh more at the beginning of the next week than you did the week before.
You have to fight this urge.
Yes. Sometimes, it can be tough to have a solid week of eating healthy and you feel that you are ready to bite someone’s head off if they question why you are having ANOTHER salad for lunch.
However, you have to stay the course and stay committed to the long-term goals you set for yourself. By not adhering to this and deciding to eat everything you want for the weekend, you are, in a sense, wasting all that good effort you put into eating healthy for the week.
And when you think about the sacrifice you had to make to turn down that free pizza at the office on Wednesday, I have to think you don’t want that all to go to waste.
3. Drinking milk
This one might be a bit controversial, but milk is generally just not helpful to your gut or weight loss goals.
The extra calories in milk are enormous as opposed to just drinking water or one of the many water substitutes on the market these days.
Coming in at 96 calories per glass as opposed to zero for many of the water substitutes, this addition to our daily consumption may not seem that bad when one is thinking about just drinking one glass every now and then.
However, if this became a regular habit and one consumed one glass per meal (or roughly three times per day), this additional calorie intake would eventually add up to the tune of an extra 2,000 plus calories per week.
When one is doing everything in their power to cut out all the “little” things that seem to pile up over time, this can be an easy one to stay away from.
Couple this with the fact that consumption of milk has been linked to increased obesity rates, elevated cholesterol, and an increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer, and one has to wonder why does ANYONE drink milk still?
4. Drinking alcohol
We’ve discussed the numerous negative impact of drinking alcohol in a previous article, and there is more than enough data out there to prove to most that this does not help with weight loss goals.
If one isn’t fully sure of all the science of how this holds us back, one only has to use the anecdotal evidence of how extremely unlikely it is to wake up to go for a morning workout after a night of drinking on the town.
Most people will also admit that after they have consumed a few too many alcoholic beverages, the commitment to their restrictive diet seems to disappear completely from their memory banks.
Add that to the scientific slowing of your metabolism, decrease in sleep quality, and aperitif effect, and there is no doubt that alcohol does not help in this endeavor for most people.
5. Not getting enough sleep
Lastly, this is the one most people just don’t get in regards to the importance of keeping their waistline intact.
Living in a world in which we applaud individuals who work 16 hour days to create the next start-up that will change the world, the concept of getting the 7–9 hours of recommended sleep seems to be what should be done for only the weak among us.
The reality is that other than a very select few who were born with some amazing ability that has made it otherwise, the majority of individuals need that 7–9 hours to perform optimally and keep their weight under control.
Mainly due to how it affects our body’s production of the hunger and satiety hormones, ghrelin and leptin, respectively, not getting enough sleep will make staying disciplined within your diet an uphill battle.
Also, as it relates to gaining the muscle that many desire, not giving your body enough time to sleep and recover will not allow your body to produce the volume of hormones needed for it to grow, regardless of how much you work out during the 18–20 hours that you are awake.
And while I can’t promise that by stopping these five things, you’ll turn yourself into Arnold Swartzeneggar, you’ll definitely greatly increase the odds in your favor that you at least won’t be unknowingly making it more difficult for you to do so.