1. Skipping breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By the time people rise in the morning, most haven’t eaten for 10 to 12 hours, and their blood sugar levels are low. As a result, skipping breakfast will most certainly cause you to snack throughout the day in an effort to boost your blood sugar, or energy, level. And chances are good that you will reach for high-calorie, high-fat foods such as doughnuts, muffins or cookies to give you that quick sugar fix your body feels it needs.
It’s tremendously important that you never skip breakfast. Research consistently shows that people who eat breakfast actually eat fewer calories per day and lose weight more successfully than those who do not. Always start your day with a substantial breakfast.
2. Not taking time to eat properly
It’s easy to slip into a harmful cycle of fattening convenience foods and short-term energy fixes, but you’ll pay for the convenience with a growing girth, flagging energy and poor health. And really, the amount of incremental time required to prepare your own healthy meals and snacks is quite modest. Fifteen minutes in the morning is all it takes to eat a healthy breakfast – often the length of time it takes to line up at Tim Hortons for a coffee.
The world’s best grazers are teenagers. They simply cannot avoid opening the fridge every time they pass it. Their rapid growth and (hopefully) high activity levels require a constantly high calorie intake. Unfortunately, grazing is a habit that many people continue into their adult lives with disastrous results for their waistlines and health. A few nuts here, a couple of cookies there, a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, and a few glasses of juice all look pretty harmless in themselves, but taken together they can easily total several hundred extra calories a day! And those can add up to over 20 pounds of additional weight in a year.
Page 1 of 3 – read about the other habits that will sabatoge your weight loss on page 2!
Excerpted from The G.I. Diet Clinic by Rick Gallop. Copyright 2007 by Rick Gallop. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 4. Unconscious eating
How often have we all begun to nibble on a bowl of chips or nuts or a box of cookies while watching TV, reading a book or talking on the phone and then suddenly realized that we’d eaten the whole lot? Too often, I would guess.
Eating should never be the peripheral activity – it should always be the focus. Eat your meals at the table and set aside distractions such as the TV, computer, video game or telephone while you have your snacks. This will help you to always eat consciously and be aware of exactly how much you are eating.
5. Eating too quickly
The famous Dr. Johnson of the 18th century is said to have asserted that food should be always be chewed 32 times before swallowing. Though this seems rather excessive, there is an important truth here. Many of us tend to eat far too quickly. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for the stomach to let the brain know it is full. If you eat too quickly, you’ll continue to eat past the point at which you’ve had enough. The solution, then, is to eat slowly to allow your brain to catch up with your stomach.
That’s probably another reason Mediterranean countries have lower rates of obesity: they take far longer to eat their meals. There, mealtimes are for family and friends, and for enjoying the pleasure of food – not simply a means to tackle hunger. To ensure you are not eating more than your appetite requires, slow down and really enjoy what you are eating. Put your fork down between mouthfuls. Savour the flavours and textures.
6. Not drinking enough
Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated? Your body’s need for water is second only to its need for oxygen. Up to 70 per cent of the body is water, and we should be drinking about eight glasses a day to replenish our supply.
Yet many of us don’t take the time to drink enough, and we go through our days in a mild state of dehydration. Being dehydrated makes us feel tired and hungry, which makes us reach for food when really we should be reaching for a glass of water. Our body isn’t hungry, it’s thirsty. So always carry a water bottle with you and make sure you are drinking the recommended amount. Being properly hydrated will go a long way toward helping you control your appetite and lose weight.
7. Rewarding for exercise
One of the great myths about weight loss is that it can be achieved through exercise. Though exercise is essential for long-term health and weight maintenance, it is actually a poor tool for losing weight. To give you an idea of how much exercise you would have to do to lose just one pound of fat, you would have to walk briskly for 42 miles if you weighed 160 pounds or 53 miles if you weighed 130 pounds. That is a huge amount of effort and way beyond the capability or time availability of most people. Walking around the block or washing the car consumes only a handful of calories. So if you are using exercise as permission to cut a little slack in your diet, remember that that cookie reward will add more calories than you expended on your activity.
By all means exercise to improve your health, but don’t think it will contribute a whole lot to your weight loss. I frequently tell people that losing weight is 90 percent diet and 10 percent exercise, particularly in the early stages.
Page 2 of 3 – read about what else will sabotage your weight loss on page 3!
Excerpted from The G.I. Diet Clinic by Rick Gallop. Copyright 2007 by Rick Gallop. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 8. Cleaning the plate
Many of us were taught from the time we were small to finish what’s on our plates before leaving the table. This becomes a deeply embedded habit that does not, unfortunately, help us in later life to lose or maintain weight. Not only do we finish our own, but we tend to also finish the leftovers on our children’s plates or that last lonely slice in the pie dish after dinner. I confess that I do this. But this habit causes us to eat more than we need to satisfy our hunger and is therefore dreadful for weight control. Get into the habit of letting your stomach and brain decide when you are full, not the quantity of food on your plate. Leftovers can always be stored in the fridge, rather than around your waist and hips.
9. Shopping on an empty stomach
Human nature can often be perverse, encouraging us to do the right thing but at the wrong time. When you are full and satisfied, food shopping is rarely top of mind. But when you are hungry, grocery shopping suddenly seems like a very good idea indeed. Unfortunately, it just isn’t: you’ll end up with a shopping cart that has been filled primarily by your stomach rather than your head.
10. Eating high-sugar, high-fat treats
As we are all well aware, food is a big part of holidays and celebrations – just think of Thanksgiving, a wedding, a bar mitzvah or Christmas and you’ll probably picture the special foods that go along with them. Where would the candy industry be without Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Easter? Food is inexorably linked with positive experiences, and that is one reason we often think of certain foods as “treats.” Unfortunately, these so-called treats tend to be high in calories, sugar and fat, and are certainly not your friends. They are a major contributor to the obesity crisis and to weight-related diseases such as diabetes and . We should really start to view these foods as penalties rather than rewards.
Instead choose treats that are lower in calories and fat. If candy is your thing, there is a plethora of low- and no-sugar brands available. Fresh fruit and low-fat, no-sugar-added yogurt and ice cream are even better treats. And there are many delicious dessert and snack recipes in all my G.I. Diet books. Treats are a wonderful part of our lives – just make sure they are the right sort of treats.
Page 3 of 3
Excerpted from The G.I. Diet Clinic by Rick Gallop. Copyright 2007 by Rick Gallop. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.