There are times when we’re dieting for weight loss and our progress comes to a screeching halt. It’s frustrating when days or weeks go by without seeing any change on the scale. We’ve tracked down the patterns we all make from time to time that cause this weight loss stoppage.
#1. Eating more than you think
The first place to look is your diet because it is so crucial during weight loss. The reason why programs like, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, are successful weight loss tools for many people is because they regularly remind members the size of and an actual “serving”.
Many people looking to lose weight often underestimate the volume of food they eat, which leads to drastically underestimating the number of calories they’re consuming.
By constantly reminding ourselves what an appropriate serving size of food looks like, we can better estimate the amount of food we eat at each meal; which then allows us to evaluate and adjust for different weight loss goals. When weight loss is your goal, always keep in mind that you need to take in fewer calories than your body burns each day.
A serving of meat – 3 oz. – is the size of a deck of playing cards.
A serving of carbohydrates -1 cup – is the size of a tennis ball.
And a helpful reminder to fill up on non-starchy vegetables, since they are packed full of nutrients, have very little impact on blood sugar and usually contain fewer calories than other options.
#2. Not eating often enough.
Ever since we were young, we’ve been taught to eat three meals per day. However, for weight loss, you will want to aim for more frequent, smaller meals. Plan on consuming a minimum of 5-6 small meals each day so your body gets the signal that food is readily available, and it doesn’t need to conserve energy for later.
Another benefit to more meals throughout the day is that it maximizes your metabolism. Since your body has to constantly digest food, it stays busy burning calories all day long. Also, by reducing the time between meals, you stabilize blood sugar levels since they are never given the chance to drop. Stable blood sugar helps to minimize hunger which will reduce the temptation to overeat at your next meal.
#3. Drinking your calories.
A becoming a common problem for those of us looking to lose weight to indulge ourselves in “diet” smoothies, protein-packed beverages and weight loss shakes. The first problem is that many of the “diet” shakes on the market have tons of sugar in them. This causes an immediate spike in energy soon to be followed by a huge crash due to the release of insulin to control the rise in blood sugar. This dramatic shift in levels – particularly insulin levels – is something you should try and avoid for your health and weight loss.
Also, most weight loss shakes lack fiber, which is one of your most precious allies when you are aiming to lose weight because it helps you feel full and and your insulin in check. Although fruit smoothies do contain some fiber, a better alternative would be to eat the actual fruits in the smoothie.
Lastly, the amount of calories in a shake or smoothie is concentrated compared to same volume of real food. For example, a modest 16 oz. fruit smoothie can contain as much as 600 calories, but might leave you starving in soon after! On the other hand, eating 600 calories of whole fruits is much more than the typical person can manage to eat in a single sitting. Do you know anyone who can eat more than 2 pounds of bananas?
If you think about it, when making major changes to your diet, you want to get the most out of your calories. Why drink away your calories and be hungry soon after, when the food it’s made of will fill you up?