I told myself I was going to be “good”, when I got to the restaurant, that I was not going to have bread or dessert. But I arrived starving and the bread basket was right there. Before I knew it, it’s like my body was on auto pilot and I ended up eating the bread basket, my full entree and ordering dessert!
What is wrong with me? Argh! I was just so hungry and now I’m mad at myself because I feel sick and am too full and ruined my diet.
I hear this scenario often. Women say they are not going to do the very thing they end up doing.
Weight loss is something you want, so why do you get in your own way?
The downfall that I see often when people are trying to lose weight is not having a plan. As I say all the time, “fail to plan, plan to fail”. However, we can have a great plan in place and life still get’s in the way with “Fat Traps” that keep the scale from budging and keep us from feeling and looking our best.
Unfortunately, the average woman spends 31 years of her life dieting, leaving a huge gap in your ability to trust your choices and your body, which causes “fat traps” to exist everywhere.
Many times, it can feel like a giant feat to not succumb to chocolate cake or chips at a party or buy that pint of Haagen-Dazs on sale.
Here are 10 simple steps you can make to not only avoid fat traps but lose weight in the process!
- Fat Trap – Skipping Breakfast: Think of your body like a car, it can’t start burning gas until you turn on the engine. If you are getting up, working out and then waiting until 10am or 11am to eat breakfast you are doing your body a disservice and shutting down your metabolism, causing your body to eat lean muscle and store fat. You have just fasted for 8 hours, your body needs water and protein within 30 minutes to an hour upon waking for it to function at its optimal level.
The Fix: Aim for 20 grams of protein at breakfast to keep you fuller longer, stave off cravings, build lean muscle and burn calories. 20 grams of protein looks like 1 egg and 3 egg whites, 1 plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of cottage cheese or 1 scoop of protein powder. Make sure to add one of these protein options to your morning breakfast to avoid fat traps and benefit from weight loss.
- Fat Trap – Office Weight Gain: Between office parties with cookies, cakes and candy jars, sitting all day and the procrastination hour of 4pm, that leads to coffee trips with pastries and over-indulging. The workplace is #1 for weight gain. Many people also skip lunch or eat seated at their desk, and then realize how hungry they are or they are frustrated with their workload and want to escape and food is instant gratification and a social release.
The Fix: Stash your desk and office with healthy treats such as herbal teas like mint, green and cinnamon teas to curb cravings, fresh fruit like apples and berries, raw nuts, kind bars, hummus and crudite for dipping, apples and nut butter, string cheese, brown rice cakes, greek yogurt, avocado and jicama and make sure to have a 1 liter bottle of water to refill so you can assess your hunger. These are great go-to snacks that will leave you satisfied. Also, if you are eating from stress, the crunch is what you are after. Instead of having junk food, get your fix from these tasty snacks. Stay hydrated and move your body. Get a standing desk and order ankle weights or a balance disc to stand on to engage your core and burn more calories while at work.
- Fat Trap – Coffee: Coffee drinks are laden with calories and sugar, leaving you jittery and craving carbs. People usually drink coffee first thing before waking, which puts acid on top of acid in your belly. Leaving you not only highly stimulated but will also have you craving carbs shortly after… hence cops in a donut shop. The calories in one coffee drink are the equivalent to a full snack or meal anywhere from 250-680 calories or more. They are filled with sugar which not only causes cravings but gets stored as fat if not burned as energy.
The Fix: upon waking have warm water with lemon. This will flush the body of toxins, cleanse your liver, cause a morning elimination and help to stave off cravings while enhancing your mood. If you are a coffee feign, then wait until midday to get the most bang for your buck in terms of energy. Also, see how much you love coffee by trying it black. If you don’t like it black, chances are you like the sugar and cream from your fixings not the coffee itself. Pick local coffee drinks, skip the caramel, whipped cream, syrups and flavored coffees that have added sugar in them.
- Fat Trap – Eating Out: Many times when we go out to eat we have no idea how things are being prepared, dishes are super sized and we are receiving 2 portions instead of one and meals are laden with heavy creams, butter and sauces all of which are loaded with sugar.
The Fix: Be a “High Maintenance Orderer”, this is something I teach my clients. Don’t feel bad asking for dishes to be prepared the way you want them or asking for substitutions. Always order sauces on the side, dressings on the side and make sure to ask for your protein to be either grilled, dry sautéed, baked, broiled, roasted or poached. I also like to ask for half portions and tell them to box the other half and bring it out with the check. That way I have my lunch for tomorrow and I’m not left to be in the “clean plates” club.
- Fat Trap – Fats: Too much fat, is too much, even if it’s good fat. Yes, some fats are very good for you, and yes you should have them in your diet, but it’s confusing to know how much to have and which ones. Fat is still fat and not a calorie-free food. When eating out, there are usually anywhere from 3-4 sources of fat in each dish, causing for a highly caloric meal. This is also extremely prevalent in salads, vegetarian options, as well as over consumption of dips and spreads such as all nut butters, dipping bread in olive oil, hummus and guacamole.
The Fix: Know your portions. General rule of thumb is using your thumb to measure your fats. Use your hand to measure portions. Your full thumb is the proper portion of fat to have at each meal. Often times with hummus and guacamole we categorize them as healthy and keep dipping without knowing our full portions. Dish out your amount which should be 2 tablespoons.
- Fat Trap – Egg Omelet: You might think you are ordering a healthy option, an egg omelet with veggies and a little cheese. But the truth is an egg omelet, when you order an omelet out, are made with 2-3 eggs, heavy whipping cream and butter. The vegetables are usually sautéed in bacon fat as well.
The Fix: Order an egg white veggie omelet topped with avocado or an egg on one side of an english muffin.
- Fat Trap – Gluten Free does not mean “Guilt Free”: Gluten free does not mean it’s healthier. This is a common misconception when in fact most gluten free meals and snacks are higher in calories and fat. Gluten Free Desserts for example are often made with added extra sugar or fat to offset the lack of taste or texture. They also often contain nut flours rather than grain flours, which are much higher in calories – e.g. almond flour has 50 calories more per 1/4 cup than wheat flour.
The Fix: If you don’t have a gluten allergy, then why are you gluten free? If it’s for weight loss, the reason people lose weight when gluten free is because they cut junk food, sugar and grains which make up for much of their caloric intake. It’s the reduction of calories not the gluten that has shifted for them. Instead of going gluten free aim for whole goods, that are unprocessed. This will not only help you cut calories but keep your cravings at bay and keep you more satisfied in the process. This is a concept called “Clean Eating”.
- Fat Trap – Smoothie Shops: I love smoothies and I love juices, but I make my own and when I don’t, I customize what I want to ensure the right nutrients are present. Smoothies are great meal replacements, snacks are great for pre, post workouts to get a dose of fruit and veggies, but they can also hide an unhealthy amount of sugar — sometimes, upwards of 70 or more grams. That much sugar, even when it comes from fruit, is a huge load on your body and ends up being stored as fat. Usually, they use fruit-juice in recipes along with 3-4 types of fruit or sometimes frozen yogurt and sherbets are added. Some smoothie shops have a “light” menu with lower-sugar options — but make sure it’s not loaded with artificial sweeteners, which again can cause weight gain and cravings.
The Fix: Always look at the nutrition facts before ordering, and stick to smoothies that use whole fruits and vegetables, aim for 1-2 sources of fruit and fat per smoothie. Protein smoothies often have a good dose of healthy fat from nut butters and a bit less sugar than other options, but again watch your fats. These smoothies are also super sized, so pay attention, and don’t forget the kids’ menu, the smaller size can help satisfy your smoothie craving without breaking your calorie limit.
- Fat Trap – Weekend Free For All: The structure of the week and routine, makes it much easier to eat right for many people. So when the weekend rolls around, it can feel like a food free-for-all. Saturday night drinks, dinners out, late night snacks, Sunday brunch—it’s so easy to pretend calories don’t count or justify your treats after a healthy and stress-filled week. You can easily cancel out all your hard work with an indulgent couple of days and feel bloated and blue come Monday.
The Fix: Think of the weekend as part of your healthy week instead of separate. Create a weekend plan and schedule your workouts but also give yourself a break from being so regimented so you don’t go cra-cra. Treat yourself to one decadent meal or dessert, but then aim for your normal menu the rest of the weekend. Looking forward to something special will not only make it taste even better, but will motivate you to eat well so you can indulge without the guilt. More than likely, when you are really in tune with your body it doesn’t feel good when you overeat or have decadent meals.
- Fat Trap – The Reward: “I deserve this”…this is the common “fat trap” mentality that I refer to as self-sabotage. Where food is your reward for a long, hard and stressful day or week. I mean you worked out this morning so of course you can eat whatever you want and you’ve been “good” all week, you deserve this. Even though you know the calories you burned, they definitely do not equal that massive piece of cake in front of you.
The fix: This is not about you needing food, this is about you needing to have another release outside of food to help you avoid this fat trap. This has become a patterned behavior and food is your release and instant gratification. The key here is recognizing when this happens for you and why. Ask yourself, am I really hungry right now? Is food going to solve the problem? What can I do instead? By doing this you can stop yourself before the damage is done and start to create a new pattern, one that is healthy, even if you are still eating, choose healthier options. Some things that work well for my clients are moving their body, journaling, choosing a healthier option, connecting with other people, getting out of the situation all together. When we need a reward we really need comfort, a release, a way to de-stress and need some fun. Go get a massage, go shopping, but it’s key to choose something healthy and balanced.
Action Step: This week, put into action 1-3 of the tips from above. See how empowering it feels to know you’re in control of your weight, your food choices and enjoy eating out and having fun in the process!
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My desire is to educate you on things you may not know that are sabotaging your hard work so you can stay motivated and get results.
I’m here on a mission to get women off dieting, to love themselves deeply, lose the weight for good and have a kick-ass life they love to match!