3 Mistakes Messing Up Your Weight Loss Journey
There are times on your weight loss journey where you may hit a plateau. Weeks can go by without the scale slightly moving. After working with hundreds of clients, I’ve noticed similar patterns in each person whom their weight loss stopped. Here are 3 of them:
Eating Bigger Portion Than You Think You Actually Do
We tend to underestimate the amount of food we fuel our bodies with (at the same time, the calories we’re ingesting and especially the macros ratios)
By understanding what a serving of each kind of food looks like, you can make a better evaluation of what you eat within each meal.
Good rules of thumb when it comes to portions for men and women:
A portion of meat is 2 palm size for men and 1 palm size for women
A portion of veggies for 2 fists size for men and 1 fist size for women
A portion of carbs (whole grain, fruits) is 2 cupped-hand size for men and 1 cupped-hand size for women
A portion of fat (fat-dense food like oil, avocado, nuts and nut butter) is 2 thumb size for men and 1 thumb size for women
Make sure you stay flexible and listen how your body responses to different portion sizes. If you try to lose weight you may reduce portion of carbs of fat, or change the nature of them.
Remember to have lots of non-starchy veggies as they are packed with nutrients, won’t impact your blood sugar negatively will fill you up due to high content in fibre.
If you don’t cook or feel it becomes too complicated, healthy delivery services can really be beneficial in learning portion sizes, adding variety, or simply making it easy for a while, although there’s nothing like cooking for yourself.
Here’s a list of few delivery services in Canada:
Nutrition Fit Plus (Montreal, QC)
Vancouver Muscle Meals (Vancouver, BC)
Fitness Foods (Vancouver, BC)
Fuel Foods (Toronto, ON)
Healthy Diet Delivery (Toronto, ON)
Following strict diets or eating patterns
There are hundreds of different diets out there. But the truth is, only your body knows what’s good for you. Some people have tremendous results with frequent feeding (5-6 meals a day), some with intermittent fasting (go 12-16 hours without eating, then eat the right stuff to fuel your body). Some will go on juices or cucumber or cabbage detox or what not. While you want long lasting results, don’t let everyone else tell you their own story and follow for a while before craving to death and switch to some other diet.
Don’t change everything in your diet for day 1. Instead, just start by analyzing your intake with tools like My Fitness Pal.
First, look at the macros (what the hell are macros!!!). Macros are proteins, carbs and fats. Starting with the proteins: You want about 1g per pound that you weight when maintaining or losing weight and are moderately active. Proteins are the building blocks of your life. They are not responsible for your muscle mass for many other things like brain functions. A good percentage of protein is between 30-40%, then what’s left is spread between good carbs (whole grains, fruits) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, nut butter, olive oil, coconut oil).
Healthy fats are necessary to build hormones, absorb vitamins like A D E K, regulate inflammatory responses, providing energy (amongst many other functions). You want between 20-30% of healthy fats in your diet.
Carbs are responsible for providing energy. Usually around 40% of carbs is good, more if you do long cardio activities, but if you want to lose weight, I’d stick with 40%. Make sure you go with nutrient-rich carbs, packed with fibres not a morning pastry with jelly on it.
Once you looked at your macros, instead of changing all your eating habits and timing, try to bring that balance back to what it should be.
Secondly, look at how you feel after eating meals (usually right after, then 30mins and an hour). It’s usually a good tell-tell sign if the content and proportions of what you’re eating is good for you. Signs to look at:
Energized or Lethargic/Sleepy (would indicate your blood sugar level when too high then crashed, ie. you had way to much sugar in that meal)
Bloated, having gas, cramping, diarrhea (something in what you just ate is creating inflammation, find it by eliminating one thing at the time for 7 days and reintroduce it see if this is it)
Achy (could be irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, reaction to gluten or nightshades)
For the last one, you may want to ask your doctor at your next visit to check why you’d feel like that after eating.
Identifying what messes up your weight loss is a good way to changes your eating habits slowly not only to lose weight but to prevent things like diabetes and heart disease. Our digestive system is truly our second brain and we have to take care of it if we want to age well.
Mistake hunger for thirst
When your body doesn’t get enough water, it sends a signal that you may perceive as hunger. Keep track of what you eat and drink will help you stop overeating. A good way to know if you’re dehydrated is by looking at your urine (yuck! I know!). Your urine should be clear, a pale yellow is still acceptable but it's already signed or light dehydration. Anything more yellow and toward orange/amber you’re seriously dehydrated.
So drink water, have fruits and veggies with high water content such as cucumber, berries, radishes, celery, tomatoes, watermelon, citrus.
In conclusion, before starting to go strict diets, just go with easy changes, make sure you move plenty, feel good about what you’re going through, team up with a friend to start cooking healthy food and do meal prep together. if that doesn’t help or you want to deepen your knowledge, go with professional help, a nutrition coach or dietician.