We’re in the middle of the strangest of summers, we’re spending time, where possible, outdoors enjoying a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh air. And even though less time is spent in the kitchen beside temptation the scales isn’t going down. This is a weight loss plateau.
Here at Motivation we receive queries about plateaus all the time. There are several reasons for weight loss plateaus but the one we’ll talk about here relates to calorie awareness or as some say, calorie amnesia!
Firstly, we should mention that it is important not to get too comfortable with a particular eating plan lest you think you can handle it in your sleep! If you’ve reached a plateau, it is good to take a close look at the way you’ve been eating lately. Perhaps, unconsciously, you have strayed from your allowances more than you think.
Consider the following questions:
1. Do You Use A Food Diary Every Day?
An essential part of weight loss is awareness of exactly what you are consuming. If you don’t already do it, use a food diary every day. Be honest in your daily food diary and record absolutely everything that you eat and drink. Watch out for sabotaging thoughts such as “it’s only small, so it doesn’t count, I don’t need to write it down”. Every study conducted into weight loss identifies that those who consistently keep a food diary lose more weight than those who do not. People who don’t use one have been shown to underestimate their food consumption by up to 50%. By using a daily food diary you will quickly see where you are taking in those extra calories which all add up and this alone will steer you in the right direction. Whether it’s cutting out unhealthy snacks, easing up on portion sizes or replacing a pint of beer with a pint of water, you will see the difference these simple changes will make.
2. Are You Consuming Too Many Calories?
If you are eating and drinking more calories than is recommended for your healthy weight loss, you will naturally either plateau or gain weight. Looking back on your food diary will help you to identify where you are taking in more calories than you should be. Something as simple as drinking two lattes a day can add around 400 calories to your daily intake. Make it two large lattes and you are consuming approximately 700 calories which is already half of your recommended daily calorie allowance. Planning what you are going to eat and drink in advance should help you manage this better.
3. Are You Aware Of Your Salt Intake?
High sodium levels can cause you to retain fluids and feel bloated. As well as making you feel uncomfortable, fluid retention can also show up on the scales. Use your food diary to identify foods high in salt that you eat regularly and avoid adding extra salt to your food. And to get rid of fluid retention, drink lots of water.
4. Do You Measure And Weigh Your Food?
It is easy to fall into the habit of measuring portions by eye. You do it for weeks with a scale or measuring cup so it feels like it should be second nature. However, this is a real trap as you don’t realise those measurements getting bigger and bigger. Start measuring and weighing your foods accurately again. It’s easy to underestimate how much you’re really consuming.
Have a think about the above. Maybe you just need to get back to basics!