If you feel like you're making healthy choices but still not seeing results, this could be the reason.
Let's rewind three months and a half to January. You've gotten up this morning, still feeling the effects of last night's party, and decided that this year will be different. The goal Reduce your weight Let's jump to the present day You've decided to make healthy choices for a change, so you've given up fast food, altered your diet, and started working out regularly. But the scale's readings haven't changed at all What gives
I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but I’ve been there. As a young adult, I spent most of my life with a weight that was slightly below the norm for my age and height. Despite not making any changes to my diet or exercise routine, the scale jumped 45 pounds after I started taking an anxiety medication at the age of 25. It's true that I've been harsh on myself in the eight months since the weight gain, but I also took the initiative to renew my gym membership, join ClassPass to add variety to my workouts, and make healthier food choices.
My weight loss slowed to a trickle after the first few months, but it has picked up again in the last four. Though I felt like I had been making sacrifices in the form of my favorite foods and free time in order to log hours at the gym, it was disheartening to see that number not steadily decrease. To the point where I started to lose interest and consider giving up the chase. Putting in long shifts several times a week if I wasn't going to see any results was pointless.
Every time I put in a lot of effort but see no progress, I feel discouraged and frustrated, and I know I'm not alone in this. To find out what causes people to lose weight too slowly, I spoke with Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, founder of BetterThanDieting.com and author of "Read it Before You Eat It — Taking You from Label to Table." An eye-opening realization — and a welcome sigh of relief — is on the horizon.
One of the most common reasons people fail to lose weight is because they cut back on their food intake.
You've been there, done that, and now you're thinking it would be a good idea to cut back on calories because you know that's what caused your weight gain. While "very low calorie diets" may result in rapid weight loss at first, "these unrealistic plans can become too hard to stick to when hunger, boredom, or life circumstances get in the way," says Taub-Dix. "This could lead to the all-too-familiar diet/binge eating cycle, making the individual feel bad about themselves for failing instead of being their own cheerleader to help them achieve their desire to look and feel their best." Remember that tune? To be honest, I've had a lot of trouble with this ever since I noticed my weight start to rise. I used to keep a food diary and keep track of my macros, and once I hit a certain threshold, I would force myself to stop eating, no matter how hungry I was. Time and time again, I would come home late and end up binging, ordering multiple meals' worth of my favorite Italian dishes from the local pizzeria and devouring them almost entirely by myself.
Based on this knowledge, Taub-Dix explains that severe calorie restriction tricks the body into thinking it's in danger, sending it into starvation mode, and thereby slowing down many of the processes essential for calorie expenditure, such as the thyroid, the metabolism, and blood pressure. Further, it can cause hormonal disruption and weight gain by contributing to irregular menstrual cycles in women. In the end, it's a tough fight to overcome binge eating.
Second Fat-Loss Sin: Relying Too Heavily on "No-Go" Lists
In order to simplify our lives and eliminate unnecessary stress, many of us use "avoid" lists to determine which foods we should and should not consume. While a long "avoid" list might seem like clear guidance when starting a diet, Taub-Dix says it can actually lead to resentment and misinformation. Countless of these lists have been followed by me in the mistaken belief that eliminating carbohydrates or fried foods will be manageable. But now I'm having a harder time than ever before. It makes me feel better about my eating habits overall, but only because I'm not eating the one food I'd set as "off limits." After realizing I was out of whack, I sought counsel from Taub-Dix.
She explains that while cutting back on certain foods can help, this is not the same as eliminating them altogether when dieting. This includes making a list of all the foods you love and declaring them to be "off limits." Taub-Dix recommends that people "instead of cutting out foods you enjoy, try watching your portion sizes or save richer foods for special occasions." Enjoying delicious food is one of life's pleasures, so you shouldn't punish yourself by cutting it out just to lose weight. ”
Taub-Dix suggests keeping track of what you eat and how often in order to strike a healthy balance. She explains that by being aware of unnecessary eating — like when you’re not truly hungry, but grab a handful of candy at a meeting because it’s sitting in front of you — you’ll be able to be more thoughtful about what you eat and take the time to really enjoy those treats According to Taub-Dix, "If you want chocolate, don't grab some random piece from your coworker's desk." Go ahead and get your favorite kind, but don't wolf it down in one sitting. If you take your time, the flavor will sink in and the craving won't be as strong the next time. ”
Third Fat-Loss Sin: Eliminating Entire Food Groups
In her opinion, you should avoid following any diet that calls for the complete absence of carbohydrates, protein, or fat. All of the above, plus the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber found in those foods, are essential to maintaining good health. ”
Unfortunately, I can't count how many times I've fallen for the myth that I need to drastically reduce my carb intake. While I did find success in severely reducing them, I discovered after passing out from lack of fluids and food that total abstinence was not an option for me. You shouldn't go carbo-loading just yet While Taub-Dix acknowledges that there is considerable room for personal preference when determining macronutrient allocation, she recommends a base of 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat. To get these macronutrients, which are essential for burning fat, Taub-Dix recommends eating whole grains, lean meats and seafood, and avocado and nuts. Try to find foods that haven't been overly processed; the closer they are to their original state, the better.
Mistake No. 5 in Trying to Lose Weight: Your Food Routine Is Boring
If you've been seeing positive results from your routine so far, you might be tempted to keep doing the same meal prep over and over again. There's a chance the structure will help you lose weight at first, but boredom can cause you to stop trying. As Taub-Dix puts it, "sometimes plateaus occur when you eat the same foods in the same amounts every day." She explains that this is because your body experiences something of a shock when you first begin a diet that is so drastically different from what it is used to. So, as your body adjusts to your new diet, you may notice a decrease in your weight loss results. However, she stresses that "a plateau (especially after already losing weight) is not necessarily a bad thing — being stable (as opposed to yo-yo dieting) should be applauded." ”
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