Break Through Stubborn Diet & Nutrition Plateaus

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Sometimes you stick to your diet, nutrition and exercise programs but the scale stops moving down. If you want to kick-start your weight loss again, these are some changes you can make in the way you eat and other lifestyle choices.

Review Your Nutrition and Food Choices

1. Spot hidden calories. It’s easy to lose track of how many calories you’re really consuming. Try keeping a journal so you know how often you take second helpings, snack straight out of the refrigerator, or if you’re a weight-loss surgery patient – resort to “sliders” that don’t stay with you long enough to help your body realize you’re full.

2. Measure your portions. You can enjoy the foods you love as long as you keep the portions under control. Learn easy ways to identify a sensible serving. Four ounces of meat is about the size of your fist. It takes about twenty five almonds to make an ounce.

3. Slow down. Leisurely dining will help you consume fewer calories and enjoy them more. Sit down for meals. Put your fork on the table while you chew each mouthful. Give your brain a chance to tell you when you’re full. If your food starts to get cold because you’re taking your time, consider getting a heated plate or bowl to help keep your food at your preferred eating temperature.

4. Avoid trouble-making foods. Many people have food sensitivities that can cause bloating and weight gain. Try taking a week off from wheat or dairy products to see if it makes a difference.

5. Start with a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A bean burrito or yogurt and cereal may help you eat less later on. If breakfast usually means something liquid (like a protein shake or smoothie) bump up the protein content to help keep your more satisfied.

6. Eat more produce. Fill up on low calorie vegetables and fruits. They have important nutrients your body needs and the fiber fights hunger pangs. Aim for at least seven servings daily.

7. Drink more water. Your body may be retaining water if you fail to drink enough. Get a refillable steel bottle you can carry around everywhere.

8. Monitor your protein intake. Compared to carbohydrates and fat, your body works harder to digest protein. That means you burn more calories. Put a little soy or meat in each meal and snack.

Review Other Lifestyle Choices

1. Exercise more. Thirty minutes of daily exercise can help you maintain any body weight. If you want to shed more pounds, gradually add on a few minutes at a time, add resistance training (or additional resistance to current training) to burn more calories.

2. Vary your workout. Our bodies adapt quickly to any repetitive activity, so that daily treadmill run winds up requiring less energy over time. Use interval training and a variety of workouts to introduce new challenges, and consider joining a team sport to help you stay motivated.

3. Build up your muscle mass. Increasing your ratio of muscle to fat speeds up your metabolism. Train for strength with weights or a try body-weight training like a Pilates class.

4. Manage stress. Unpleasant life events can trigger emotional eating and higher levels of stress hormones. Find a remedy that works for you, like meditation, warm baths or listening to instrumental music.

5. Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can make you heavier. A full eight hours a night improves digestion and helps keep you trim. Brief naps are great for increasing your total sleep time.

6. Cut back on alcohol. Remember to count the calories in cocktails. Start happy hour with one drink and then switch to water. Trade in your usual Margarita for a slimmer Bloody Mary.

7. Cultivate a healthy body image. If you’re constantly struggling to reach a certain weight, it could mean that you’ve set your sights too low. You may be healthier accepting a larger dress size rather than pursuing an artificial ideal.

If your weight loss has stalled, give your eating, exercise, and daily habits the once over to figure out how to get back on track. If you need more help, talk with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical condition and create a plan you can stick with for life.