Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Bad Habits to Give Up...

Many of you out there start an exercise/diet plan for a number of reasons, but most do it to lose some unwanted body fat. This is especially popular at this time of year since we have finished up the holidays, January is behind us, and we are now looking at just a few weeks left until we start to get some nicer weather. Many people are the same in the fact that they wish to shed some pounds to look good for the summer so this is a great time to start...great!

One problem, many of you will continue to make some of your same bad habits and mistakes that you have in the past that will hinder your results. Sure, exercise is great for your lungs, heart, muscles, and mind, but it can only take you so far with weight loss. You need to clean up your diet as well as exercise in order to become as healthy as you possibly can be. I could honestly write a book (as many have before me) on ways to make your diet perfect, but for this blog's sake, I will just list a few bad habits below and how you can try and change them.

Skipping Meals or Snacks - Yes, that is correct, I am telling you that if you wish to lose body fat, you need to eat more. There are a few reasons for this. One, your brain runs on sugar. You must eat enough carbohydrates (healthy carbs) throughout the day in order to fulfill your energy needs. Skipping a meal (like breakfast) only causes your brain to change its mindset and then convince you that it is then ok to gorge yourself at lunch or an afternoon 'treat'. When your brain begins to run low on glucose, that is when it begins to crave things like chocolate and sweet things. Keep your blood sugars level constant throughout the day by eating and snacking on things such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain carbs. Two, when you go for a length of time without eating, your body goes into "starvation mode". Our genes are programmed the same way our early ancestors had them, long before we had a Tim Horton's on every street. This means that our ancestors may have gone days without food. Your body protects itself by taking in whatever calories you ingest, and storing them as body fat just in case this starvation lasts even longer. By eating consistently and regularly (and healthy), you are sending a message to your body that times are good and that it doesn't need to store in excess!

Speed Eating - We are all part of this society that seems to be always running out of time. Many of us tend to speed eat because we have to get back to work or catch the latest episode of Jersey Shore. Take your time eating and savour the food that you are eating. If you are married or have kids, enjoy dinner discussion with them, as the time you spend talking is less time filling your face. Then, as your body begins to send those "feel-full" hormones to your brain, (takes about 15-30 mins) you will have eaten a lot less!

Cheat Days - This is common amongst many people. "I have been good this week, I am going to pig-out all weekend long!" You may not say it in those words exactly, but you might as well! Yes, we all should indulge here and there, but that does not mean for an entire weekend, try a cheat meal or snack here or there. That also reminds me though, cheat meals should not be a daily occurrence. "Oh, I've been good today, I am going have a bag of chips before bed..." WRONG. Cheat meals or snacks should be every once in a while as in once a week or once every couple of weeks.

Alcohol - Similar to those cheat days I listed above, people feel like they can indulge a bit with a drink, fine! But be honest with yourself and write down how much you drink in a week, month, year, etc. A reasonable 2 drinks a night can add up to over 2,000 extra calories a week which is close to an entire extra days' worth of eating! Besides being high in calories, alcohol tends to cause us to also crave salty and greasy foods, and our willpower to stop those cravings fly right out the window.

Before Bed - I am guilty of this too. Eating before bed, especially snacks high in fat and sugar can destroy a person's diet and exercise plan. Try not to eat at least 2 hours before bed, but if you must eat something, try some carrots or celery or aim for something high in protein like a protein shake!

Yes, some of these habits may be hard to break, but think of how hard you are working out. Do you really want some or all of your success to be jeopardized by poor lifestyle choices? You decide...

-Tyler Robbins