Author: Christopher Roberts
July 6th, 2018 • 9 min read
Last Updated: August 12th, 2018
Inspiration of the article:
You were probably having huge success with your weight loss efforts and you were at it for awhile. However, you skipped two days in a row and you find it very hard to get back on track--losing your momentum you wish you had back. It's not your fault, it happens to all of us.
You had 6 more pounds to go? Use these critical tips to help you shed those pounds:
Remember that awesome feeling in the beginning of your dieting and exercising, where you feel breathless and sore? Its a feeling that makes you motivated to succeed even further. Unfortunately you don't feel that sore anymore. That's because your body gets used to things quickly overtime, says Goldman. “A weight-loss plateau is a sign that we have to change something,” she says. “Your body is used to where it is now—it’s comfortable. You have to shake up the body a bit and challenge it.” Instead of walking at the same pace for your daily walk, change the speed every few minutes or bump up the incline if you’re on a treadmill, Goldman recommends.
Eating slower works because the slower you eat, the slower your brain takes to realize that you're full (The average time to take the brain to realize this is 20 minutes). Eating slowly can give your brain more time to realize when you're truly full--so that you don't end up overeating. A good way to slow down is to put down your fork between bites. “If you’re holding your utensil the whole time, it’s easy to shovel food in your mouth,” Goldman says. “But if you consciously put it down while you chew and don’t pick it up until you’ve swallowed, it automatically slows down your eating.”
Another common mistake that people do is to save their stomach for a humangous meal (hello Thanksgiving holidays). But "that strategy can backfire", says Pashko. If you're sitting down to eat and you're already full, you probably might end up eating those foods you skipped earlier. “If you’re not that hungry, it will save you if you’re inclined to normally eat an appetizer or bread basket,” she says. “What you invest in a snack is way less than an appetizer would be.” Pick a food packed with protein to fight off hunger two hours before settling on dinner.
Start writing down everything you eat (yes, even the remaining 1/4 bag of hot cheetos your niece sally couldn't finish or that last cup of mountain dew you had for brunch). “Look at what foods you’ve been choosing that are holding you up and what are the quantities,” says Amari Thomsen, MS, RD, LDN, dietitian and founder of Eat Chic Chicago. When you look back at what you wrote after realizing you gained 2 pounds the past week, you will be able to benefit from being able to pinpoint what just went wrong with your sudden drop in your weight loss goal.
“We’re used to filling up our plates and eating what’s on our plate,” says Goldman. Swap out your large dinner dish for a salad bowl or dish, she recommends. You’ll probably end up going for seconds less frequently—and eating less without even realizing it.
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Planning can mean the difference between grabbing the first thing you see when your stomach starts rumbling and packing a healthy lunch. But remember this: "If you always go for the same standbys, you could get sick of your healthy choices", says Rachel Goldman, senior bariatric psychologist at the Bellevue Center for Obesity & Weight Management and clinical assistant professor, department of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. “Make it interesting so you’re not getting bored,” she says. For example, salads are quick, convenient, and simple. However, switching protein up between chicken, hardboiled eggs, and tuna could keep your mind and taste buds excited as well as consistent, she says.
Related: 5 Ways Sleep Can Help Slim Your Body
A common mistake that people make is eating their healthy foods without restrictions just because they bought them at a healthy food store. “They’re associated as being healthy because of where they’re purchased and they have healthy ingredients,” says Danielle Pashko, author of Breaking Your Fat Girl Habits: Weight Loss Mistakes Even Healthy Chicks Make!. But “health” foods like dried fruit, veggie, granola, and chips—while fine in moderation--will not be able to keep you full for long, she says. If you eat the entire bag before your hunger signals start to stray away, you could be consuming way too many calories. She recommends to pick up an individual fruit where you have easy control over portion-controlling like nectarines or apples instead.
If your diet is too restrictive and you’re trying to limit yourself to two meals a day, your efforts could be working against you, says Goldman. “When we starve ourselves and go long hours or are too restrictive, that can backfire,” she says. “It’s hard to control cravings when you’re hungry, and you’ll end up overeating.” She recommends to eat a light, healthy breakfast about an hour an a half after waking up to start--then taking in food again about every four hours for the remainder of the day to keep you from overeating and preventing yourself from ruining your weight loss efforts with a weight loss plateau in the future.
Calories add up everywhere, even in healthy foods. What you see as a handful of nuts might actually be four times bigger than an actual serving size, says Thomsen. “One of the foods people love are healthy fats, which are great,” she says. “Just make sure you’re keeping track of how much of those foods you’re eating, and you’re eating proper portion sizes.”
Maybe you might be able to satisfy your food cravings with a medium banana--until you see your favorite chocolate fudge brownies sitting on the kitchen table. “A lot of people find they have trigger foods not because it’s their intention to eat it, but because they bought it for someone else,” says Thomsen. “It’s beneficial to get the whole family on board with your goals and getting you to succeed.”
Tip: Find healthier snacks that your family (or spouse and kids) enjoy eating to diminish those unhealthy temptations in the house.
You can replace your favorite orange sherbert ice cream with a sugar-free icy treat or frozen yogurt, however its not uncommon that people get carried away and end up going back for seconds (or thirds), which can get out of hand. “It’s better to have a few bites of the real thing and be satisfied than overeat on a huge serving of diet dessert,” Pashko says. “It’s really not ‘diet’ food, because you eat a lot more, thinking it’s OK.”
You will likely end up being hungry for a second meal before leaving for the office if you eat breakfast before going for a run, says Pashko. Have a small snack before your workout, and save the big meal for after your post-workout to refuel on food.
“Alcohol and soda are more deceiving because they’re in liquid form, and people have them in addition to what they’re eating on a regular basis,” says Thomsen. Instead, you can make a habit of switching to water by swapping out sugary drinks. At social events, you can try replacing every other drink with sparkling water--as a little hack, so you can still be able to enjoy a “real” drink without going overboard to stay on track and avoid a potential loss in your weight loss efforts when it comes to being consistent and not hitting a plateau.
If it’s been a stressful day, you don't be tempted to look for ice cream (easier said than done, I know!) Eating emotionally can quickly wreak chaos for your health on a day of good intentions. “You need to think about the cause and why you’re craving that food, then participate in a nonfood alternative behavior at that time,” says Goldman. If your local gym has a punch bag, use it to your advantage and beat the living cotton out of it for your own good. Or simply, get cozy in your bed and read a book.
“People tend to give up easily,” says Goldman. “They think if they lost five pounds in the first week, that’s realistic for every week.” If you're not seeing results it can be really tempting to fall back into your old routine. Just be patient. If you’re being consistent, you’ll probably start seeing changes in your body in another week or two, Goldman says. Having a hard time staying motivated? Try these 8 motivational weight loss steps to weight loss.
You might probably think that a nonfat cup of Greek yogurt is your number one choice for avoiding a weight loss plateau, but, actually, choosing one with some fat will actually help you eat less calories in the long run instead. “That 4 grams of fat is negligible and keeps you fuller longer,” Pashko says. Once you begin your next meal, you won't be ferociously loading your dish with additional food.
When stocking up on groceries, plan to cook and snack on with simple ingredients like meats, vegetables, nuts, and fruits that you’ll find in the outside aisles. “It makes it easier to wade through the junk food,” says Thomsen. “There’s no need to go down the aisles where those foods that might derail your weight-loss efforts are located.” That way you won’t be tempted to pick up bags of hot cheeto puffs when you’re looking for salted almonds.
With smoothies becoming a growing trend for weight loss, a section for smoothies was well deserved.
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