A time comes on your weight loss journey when it seems your progress has come to a halt. Days or even weeks can elapse without appreciable improvement on the weight scale. This can be unfortunately frustrating. Experienced weight loss practitioners have identified certain patterns that can actually halt your hard-earned progress. Here are three of those patterns.
1) Eating more than you think you are eating.
Weight Watchers, dietitians, and other diet practitioners have one undeniable benefit to them – they define for the average person how large an actual “serving” of food is. Most of us underestimate the volume of food we eat resulting in poor dietary discipline.
By fixing in your head what a proper ‘serving’ or “portion” of food looks like, we can better estimate (and consequently, evaluate and calibrate) the amount of food we eat at each meal. Note that when it comes to weight loss, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn each day.
Two good rules of thumb:
- A portion of meat (3 oz.) is the size of a deck of cards.
- A portion of carbohydrates (1 cup) is the size of a tennis ball.
Always remember to fill up on non-starchy vegetables. These are full of nutrients, have very little impact on blood sugar, and contain very few calories.
2) Not eating frequently enough.
It is an accepted norm to eat “three square meals” a day. This may be useful with respect to following the normal social conventions. However, for weight loss, you will want to aim for more frequent feedings. It is recommended that you consume a minimum of 5-6 small meals each day. Doing this gives your body a signal that food is abundant, and there is no need to conserve energy.
In addition, frequent feedings help maximize your metabolism, as your body is constantly working to burn calories while digesting your meals. The shorter duration between meals helps you stabilize blood sugar levels since they never really get to drop. By keeping your blood sugar stable, your hunger levels are minimized, reducing the chances of temptation to overeat at your next meal.
3) Choosing to drink your calories instead of eating them.
This is very common among those trying to lose weight, due to the abundance of “healthy” diet smoothies, protein shakes, and weight loss concoctions. There are 2 factors to note when relying on these liquid meal replacements.
Firstly, many liquid diet shakes on the market and all fruit smoothies have lots of sugar in them. This causes a surge in calorie intake followed by a sudden drop due to the release of insulin to control the rise in blood sugar. This fluctuation in blood hormone levels (particularly insulin levels) is something you want to avoid, both for health reasons and for weight reduction.
Secondly, most weight loss shakes do not have fibre. Fibre is one a great ally to have on your side when dieting. It helps you feel satisfied and reduces the effect of the rise in insulin levels when all that sugar hits your bloodstream. While fruit smoothies do contain some of the fibre from the pulp of the fruit, it is better to eat the actual fruits contained in the smoothie.
Lastly, the amount of calories that can be concentrated into a shake or smoothie is far greater than the equivalent volume of actual solid food. A 16-ounce fruit smoothie may contain as many as 600 calories, and will not fill you up that much! Conversely, 600 calories of fruit will prove to be much more than a normal person can eat in one sitting (at least, I know no one personally who can eat more than 2 pounds of bananas at a single sitting!).
Glad to have given you some ‘food’ for thought when making major dietary changes. Sure sounds great filling up with wholesome foods/fruits at shorter intervals than eat/drink something which can make you hungry so soon for another binge meal!
Now go get the most out of your calories.