Sometimes a weight loss plateau can be traced right back to what you do around noon! I’ve seen the following common lunchtime rituals lead to increased calories, cravings for unhealthy foods, decreased willpower, and even bad choices at dinnertime. Fix these bad lunch habits (I’ll help) and my guess is you’ll start shedding pounds instantly!
1. Not Drinking Water
Drinking enough water each day is essential to weight loss. But by lunchtime, many of us are under-hydrated. Since dehydration can make you feel hungry and tired, this makes you more likely to overeat at lunch and reach for a caffeinated beverage afterwards (see #5). Make a ritual of drinking a glass of water about 20 minutes before lunch every day; it will help you hydrate, accurately assess your hunger level, and lower your afternoon calorie intake.
2. Skimping on Protein
In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity lower protein intake was observed among the late lunch eaters. This may have contributed to their difficulty in losing weight. Including a good source of protein with lunch will help you feel fuller from fewer calories than a carb-rich meal. It will also help you get a good energy balance to avoid the spikes and crashes. Try to eat protein with every meal and keep some protein-rich snacks (like IdealBars!) handy.
3. Eating Lunch After 3pm
The study from above also confirmed that the timing of food intake does impact weight loss success. Among overweight participants, those who ate lunch later in the day (after 3pm) and for whom lunch was the biggest meal of the day, lost significantly less weight than early lunch eaters (before 3pm) during a 20-week period. Eating an earlier lunch — or better yet, two smaller meals around 11am and 2pm — will help you keep your willpower strong.
4. Visiting the Vending Machines
When our energy starts to drop in the afternoon, it’s common to go hunting for something sweet. But a daily trip to the vending machines (or your coworker’s candy stash) can really set you back in your weight loss goals. If your sweet tooth strikes after lunch, indulge in dark chocolate instead. It’s low in sugar, delivers health benefits, and because it’s rich you only need a small piece to feel satisfied.
5. Drinking Your Calories
For that midday pick-me-up, it’s tempting to reach for a caffeinated soda or energy drink. But these calorie-laden beverages aren’t harmless: a 20-oz cola packs 240 calories, 65g sugar and 22% of your RDI of carbs. Even the “healthier” iced tea option might surprise you: a 16-oz bottle of Snapple peach tea has 160 calories, 39g sugar and 40g carbs! Better to choose unsweetened tea and sweeten it yourself with a small drizzle of honey. Green tea is known to support fat loss, and IdealBoost combines green tea and caffeine for the best weight loss benefits.
Questions? Let me know!
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