Weight Loss Plateaus
Do the scales seem to be stuck every time you step on them, regardless of all the exercise and healthy eating you do? This is common problem, and it’s to do with falling into some common traps.
Portion SizeThe first major trap for the unwary eater is portion distortion. This is simply dishing up too much food, then eating all of it. The body requires only a certain amount of food each day, and it’s easy to eat too much.
Re-educate your eye for a proper-sized portion. Take a smaller plate than you’d normally use and serve up a slightly smaller portion than you would now. Decide whether you feel satisfied once you’ve eaten it. Correct portion sizes are critical in losing weight. Other good tips, especially when dining out, are avoiding bread, staying away from buffets, and drinking water with your meal, which will help you feel full.
SnackingAbsent-minded eating is also a major cause of weight gain. Those mid-morning sweets, spoonfuls of sugar in your coffee and slices of birthday cake in the office all add to the calorie count, and it’s easy to forget you’ve had them.
Staggeringly, keeping a food diary doubles the average weight loss. If you record everything you consume, you can see exactly what you’ve eaten and hold yourself accountable for your calorie intake. Write down the time of day, which meal you’re having, the type and brands of food you’re eating, and the quantity of each. Noting your motivation for eating and the mood you’re in can also help you monitor your eating habits.
Under-eatingPerhaps surprisingly, not eating can also make you fat. Losing muscle mass, which you do on an extreme diet, burns calories so when you go back to a normal eating pattern, your metabolism will be slower and you’ll gain even more weight.
Eating a sensible, balanced diet means you’ll keep the weight off. Skipping meals and cutting out major food groups won’t help. Inadequate nutrition means your body won’t be able to maintain muscle mass, repair itself or protect you from infection. Understand your food and what it’s doing for you so you can make the right choices.
AlcoholDrinking alcohol is an aggravating factor in weight gain for lots of reasons. It’s high in calories, the ethanol is a poison that your body wants to get rid of as quickly as it can so you store fat more readily, your food choices are distorted by alcohol and it makes you eat more. Not only that, but alcohol is a depressant and slows your metabolism down.
Drinking red wine and any other type of alcohol may have some benefits, so you don’t need to cut it out completely, but keep your drinking to a minimum if you’re serious about losing weight and controlling your weight long term. A small glass of wine or can of beer is fine, particularly with a meal, but try to keep it just to that each time you indulge.
Exercise RoutineIf you use the same exercise routine for every workout, you won’t be gaining the full benefit because ou’re just too good at those exercises now. When you’ve been doing the same activity for a while, no matter how vigorous, your body gets really good at using the least amount of energy it can to get you to the end of the workout.
If you usually cycle for exercise, go for a run or swim instead. If you do cardio exercises at the gym, try the weight machines or take up a class. Anything that uses different muscles or the same muscles in a different way will have you sweating again and burning those recalcitrant calories.