Do you feel as if you’ve reached a weight plateau? Perhaps you’ve been dieting and exercising for months now and lately, you aren’t seeing any real changes. It can be frustrating to feel that you’re doing everything right, but it’s just not working.
Don’t give up! First, understand that hitting a weight plateau is totally normal. Weight loss is not always a steady progress. You may even gain a few pounds back from time to time, but don’t panic. Your weight can fluctuate depending on several factors, even during the course of a single day.
That said, it may be necessary to make some changes to your diet if you find yourself stuck at a weight plateau. Sometimes, hidden ingredients or certain foods can cause your body to hold on to weight and keep you from getting all the way to your goal. Take a look at these 10 common culprits that may be holding you back.
1. Dried fruit
Most dieters have a preconceived idea that fruit in any form is good for weight loss. Trail mix is the stuff of health nuts, right? Wrong. Dried fruits often contain added sugars, which can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. So, stick to fresh fruit, preferably those that are low on the glycemic index. Apples, pears, and berries are all good!
Conventional dairy products often contribute to a weight plateau because they contain lactose, an insulin-spiking sugar. Lactose ushers in weight gain before you have a chance to realize it. What’s more, conventional dairy is acidic in nature, which causes gut inflammation, which in turn disrupts processes throughout the body that help manage weight. If you love milky products, try dairy alternatives like hazelnut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, and coconut milk.
You might assume that artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Equal, and Sweet N’ Low are fine for weight loss because they contain little or no calories. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case because artificial sweeteners hinder your body’s natural ability to metabolize sugars. They’ve also been found to cause various health issues the more you eat them. So, stay away from all fake sweeteners and stick to the real stuff instead — raw honey, stevia, and maple syrup are great options.
Who would have thought too much coffee could sabotage weight loss? It’s perfectly fine to drink your morning cuppa joe in moderation. But more than four or five cups a day is another story. Too much coffee often causes increased insulin resistance, which makes it harder for you to metabolize fat. So, enjoy a cup or two in the morning, and pay attention to the half and half, sugars, or sweetened syrups. Use them in moderation, too.
5. No-fat or low-fat foods
Eliminate processed “fat-free” and “low-fat” foods from your diet. Packaged foods are highly processed, which means they’re stripped of their nutrients. Typically, when fat is removed from a food, sugars and other additives are used to make up for the loss in flavor that occurs. Make an effort to consume more whole foods that come from Mother Earth herself, rather than from an assembly line. Fresh, whole foods are free of added sugars, sodium, and other preservatives. They’re the only ones to eat if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
6. Too many grains
If you’re really trying to lose weight, you’ll want to eliminate most grains from your diet. If you feel your body needs them to stay healthy, consider limiting your portions — cutting back to just one serving of grains per day. Many grains contain gluten, which causes digestive inflammation and impedes weight loss. If you’re going to eat grains, opt for the gluten-free variety. Quinoa, for example, is an excellent option that’s a good source of protein and several important minerals.
7. Refined oils
If you cook with hydrogenated oils like canola oil and soybean oil, please stop! These oils are no good for your tummy, and they’ll sabotage your weight-loss efforts like no other oil can. Speaking of other oils, coconut oil is one of the best ones to use instead. Its medium-chain fatty acids help you lose weight, as they’re easily burned as fuel for energy. And more energy is a good thing when you’re on the weight-loss track!
8. Table salt
Table salt makes you bloated. Sea salt, on the other hand, does not. It’s actually good for weight loss, with its many trace minerals. So, add a big pinch of high-quality sea salt to your meals and throw out the table salt immediately!
9. Frappuccinos and the like
You may be eating all the right foods, but if you’re drinking the wrong ones, you may find yourself at a weight plateau. Drinks like pumpkin-spiced lattes and mocha java frappuccinos contain loads of calories in the form of sugar and even preservatives. Stick to simpler drinks like black coffee and herbal teas when you’re out and about.
10. Unhealthy fats
Not all fats are created equal. Some actually help you lose weight, while others have the opposite effect. Learning which fats are good for you and which aren’t will take you far on your weight-loss journey. You’ll want to stay away from processed trans fats. These come in the form of cookies, crackers, margarine, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and fast foods.
Good fats, on the other hand, include grass-fed butter, grass-fed meats, coconut oil, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, omega-3 fatty acids from fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and MCT oil. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. They’re a type of saturated fat that helps rev up and kickstart metabolism.
Summing things up
As you can see, weight loss can be a tricky thing. You really need the right tools in your toolbox to get the best results. Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t always easy, and it becomes more difficult as we age. So it’s important not to beat yourself up. If you take a few steps back, don’t worry. With the proper diet, exercise, and outlook, you’ll move quickly forward.
Living a healthy lifestyle that fits your particular body and personality is an intricate journey. It’s not a one-size-fits all process. It may mean trying different approaches until you find what’s best for you. Your journey will be different from that of your spouse or best friend. You’re unique, and your health reflects that fact.
So, pay attention to your body and mind. Feel into what’s right for you. Trust your feelings and do what feels comfortable. We all need good, clean food and water. Keep that in the forefront of your mind as you move in the direction of a healthier lifestyle.
At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss program is designed to work with your body and health needs, and address the underlying factors that often make weight loss difficult. Contact us today for your free consultation!