Nurses, having trouble shedding those last few pounds? Even when we’re making healthier choices, it’s not always easy to recognize our own weak spots. If you’re struggling to make a dent in your weight loss plateau, see if one of these tactics can get you on that downward slope again.
Kick the artificial sweeteners
You may think of a diet soda as a calorie-free treat without weight consequences. But the opposite may be true. In a lit review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, data showed that artificial sweeteners were actually associated with weight gain. Two theories explain why this may occur. Some researchers suggest that the intake of artificial sweeteners encourages the food-reward pathway, thus promoting appetite. Others posit that artificial sweeteners promote sugar craving and dependence. If you use artificial sweeteners, it could be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts.
This study shows that participants who were more mindful, or conscious, eaters ate smaller portions. How does one go about practicing that?
Jan Chozen Bays, M.D., pediatrician and author of Mindful Eating, imparted some tips:
- Drink the first 4 sips of your tea or coffee while fully focusing on it
- For those who like to read and eat, try putting your book down to take a few bites, then picking it up again to read a page
- Try eating one meal a week alone without distraction
Food journaling is associated with weight loss success. You may think you know what your daily intake looks like, but seeing it in print can be a real eye opener. There are a variety of free tracking system apps that have made keeping track of your eating habits easier than ever. One to try: MyFitnessPal, which boasts an extensive food list and a function to calculate the nutritional information of meals you prepare at home. You can even scan barcodes of food packages for easy recording and recognition.
This can be a major challenge for some nurses. A challenging job may leave little time to take a break, or you’ve just never been great about letting a task go until later. But if you don’t eat midday, you’ll be famished by dinner. And making good food choices when you’re hungry is extremely challenging. Read more here about how to get a lunch break at work. Then take one!
Up your exercise
It can be tough to squeeze in physical activity on top of an already physically demanding job. But the good news is, small amounts of exercise do add up. Try these toning exercises that can help you build muscle on the job.