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It is becoming more and more apparent that people are looking for a ‘quick-fix’ solution to weight loss and are not willing to make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes that will ensure a healthy weight. However, sometimes people simply do not know which of their behaviours are hampering their weight loss efforts and often they are blinded by the empty promises of ‘fat burning’ supplements and celebrity-endorsed-diet-plans.

Below are 5 habits that are stopping your weight loss:

1. Crash dieting . Losing weight and keeping the weight off requires a complete lifestyle change. A short-term diet may result in quick weight loss (who doesn’t like the sound of that!) but once the diet is over weight gain tends to happen fast because there is no long-term plan. A healthy weight loss plan is slow and steady and typically shouldn’t make you lose more than 1-3kg a week. Fast weight loss usually means you are losing water and muscle and can leave you feeling ill.

2. Using food for comfort. Emotional eating is a big obstacle in the battle against weight gain. We often turn to food in times of mental or emotional stress. Learning to recognize when we eat for emotional reasons is key to putting an end to this behavior. You can then start using different methods to de-stress, like having a hot bath with a cup of your favourite tea, taking a walk around the block, doing some deep breathing or even treating yourself to a 30 minutes of a funny TV show.

3. Eating mindlessly. Learning to eat with awareness may help you to lose weight by changing your relationship to food. Pay attention to the food that you are eating by chewing slowly and enjoying the taste and texture of the food. Try to avoid doing other activities while you are eating and really be present with your meal. Slowing the experience down is also likely to make you feel fuller in a shorter amount of time, thus cutting your portion size down.

4. Skipping meals. Skipping meals is a habit that causes low blood sugar levels and puts the body into starvation mode, ultimately slowing the metabolism. Keeping your blood sugar balanced will ensure that you don’t get overcome by hunger and eat half the grocery cupboard at once. High quality protein (such a fish, chicken and grass-fed beef) will slow the release of carbohydrates and allow you to stay fuller for longer.

5. Consuming soft drinks. Soft drinks are the ultimate weight-gain inducer, even the ‘diet’ variety. Regular soft drinks can contribute up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per can and ‘diet’ soft drinks still contain sweetener which triggers the sweet receptors of the brain to release insulin. Insulin is often referred to as the ‘fat storing’ hormone and over excretion of this hormone can lead to low-blood sugar and increased appetite and cravings. Instead, try to drink pure water and herbal teas throughout the day to stay hydrated.