Your healthy eating and weight loss plan was moving along just fine, then all of a sudden it just stops. You're no longer able to get any weight off. Your daily trip to the scales reveals the same weight that you were yesterday, or worse, you've gained weight. What in the world is going on here?
It is hard to understand why the weight was coming off and then suddenly your scale refuses to budge, no matter how diligent you have been. Try not to relapse, but if you do, it's okay to just get back on the program and carry on.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Try to imagine the NEW YOU.
Have a mental image of yourself the way you want to look. Visualize yourself in that favorite dress you want to wear, but haven't been able to get into for years. Take the dress out of the closet, dust the cobwebs off and hang it somewhere so you can see it easily. Imagine yourself back in that dress, every time you look at it.
Remember that the weight wasn't gained in a day or a month, so it's pretty unrealistic to expect it to disappear quickly. You're not the incredible shrinking woman. This is a lifetime commitment and you owe it to yourself and your health to continue with the program.
Keep healthy foods in the kitchen and within easy reach. Make it easier to reach for the yogurt than it is to reach for the potato chips.
2. Know your triggers.
Everyone's triggers are unique to them. You know what yours are, so pay attention to them. Don't let the food control you. If you're a TV snacker, then make sure you have healthy vegetables and fruits to snack on while watching TV. Whatever you do, don't bring the entire bag or box of anything into the living room with you. Separate out a normal portion and put it on a plate.
Understand your particular triggers and prepare for them. If you are "stress eater" then you want to eat to make yourself feel better. Make sure you prepare food in advance and keep the fattening foods out of your pantry.
3. Record Everything
We all have a tendency to underestimate what we eat. So keep a diary of everything you put in your mouth. If you don't, it's easy to forget about the string cheese you may have grabbed on your way out the door. All calories count!
Track what you eat as well as the time of day. This will help you figure out what frame of mind you were in when you decided to binge.
4. Always reward yourself for a job well done. If you met your goal this week get a manicure or a massage for all your effort.
If the weight still won't budge, then try dropping your daily calorie intake by 100 or 200 calories.
Eating some fiber or drinking some Citrucel or Metamucil for breakfast with help you to reduce the calories you consume at lunch time.
5.You can always find an alternative. If you have a sweet tooth, eat fruit instead of reaching for the bag of cookies.
I'm not a big advocate of diet drinks, because I feel the artificial sweeteners in them is just not healthy. But if you have been used to drinking a lot of soda, it's a hard habit to break. So try drinking the sugar free soda and then eventually wean yourself onto fruit juices instead. Yes, they do have sugar, so they will need to be added into you daily caloric intake, but they are a whole lot healthier than artificial sweeteners.
If you miss your ice cream, then try sorbet instead, it has much fewer calories.
If you must have something, then have it! Don't deprive yourself of eating something you're really craving. But have a small amount. If you love chocolate then eat a piece. Just don't go crazy. Too much deprivation can lead you to binge, so have what you're craving, just do it in moderation.
Switch to wholegrain bread. Not only is it healthier, but it doesn't contain the calories that white bread has.
6. Be Careful at Restaurants,
The smell of food at a restaurant is sometimes more than a hungry stomach can deny. So if you have the time, grab a small salad at home first and a big glass of water. This will help you not cave in to the huge portions they serve at your favorite food joint.
Order an appetizer, instead of a main meal. Some restaurants will allow adults to order kids portions. If you must order a main meal, then ask for a doggy bag with the meal and as soon as you get it, split it in half and keep one half for later. You don't have to eat everything on your plate. Stop when you feel full and eat slowly, so your stomach has time to tell your brain, it's full. That's usually about 20 minutes.
I have heard of some people even taking half of their portion and covering it with salt, so they're not tempted to eat it. While I think this is a bit extreme, if it works for you then go for it.
Protein There have been some recent studies that have shown that protein actually helps you feel full. Foods that are high in fat actually increase hunger.
If you can't get used to small portions, then eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. We should be getting 7-13 cups of produce everyday. So, feel free to pile it up on your plate and eat it first, before the protein and fat on your plate.
Get moving. Just 30-minutes a day of exercise can make the world of difference, if you've reached a plateau. I know it doesn't feel good to exercise if you have been sedentary for a while, or suffer from chronic pain, but after a while, your body will get used to it and it will get much easier. Always check with a doctor before starting any exercise plan.
Include strength training in your routine. This really helps counteract muscle loss due to aging and helps to strengthen bones. The more muscle you build the more fat you will burn, because it takes a lot more calories to maintain muscle than it does fat. Also remember that muscle weighs about three times more than fat, so be prepared to focus more on how your clothes fit, than what the scales say, when you're strength training.
Get a pedometer and use it!
Put the pedometer on first hing in the morning and remember that for each 2,000 steps you walk, you burn 100 calories, Aim for 10,000 steps a day. I know this sounds like a lot, but once you try it, you'll be amazed at how quickly you reach your goal.
I know I preach about yoga a lot, but yoga also helps control stress eating, by lowering levels of stress hormones and increasing insulin sensitivity. This actually signals your body to burn the fat instead of storing it and we all love that!
I hope some of these tips will help some of you get out of the slump you may be experiencing with your weight loss goals.
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