You have been stuck at the same weight for a week or more now and you finally admit to yourself that you’ve hit a plateau. With frustration you scratch your head and wonder why. You have been really good on your diet and you’re exercising after all. So why isn’t it doing any good?
Usually a plateau hits because you’re eating just enough calories to keep your weight where it is. This is called a maintenance weight. Another reason you may be plateauing is because your metabolism is slower. When you’re losing weight your metabolism naturally slows down because of the body’s survival mechanism to hold on to calories when there is a calorie deficit.
There may be some things you are doing which is causing the plateau. Here are five seemingly innocent ways to derail your weight loss success.
1. Adding salt to your food
Nothing adds flavor to food like salt. However, sodium is notorious for causing water retention. Most products you buy at the grocery store already have sodium in them to serve as a preservative. Paying attention to the sodium content on the nutrition label will help you keep track of how much you’re consuming. The recommended amount of sodium for a day is 1,000 mg.
Instead of reaching for the salt shaker try adding flavor to your food with herbs and vegetables. If you’re still craving that salty taste a good substitute is No Salt. It uses potassium instead of sodium and tastes just like regular salt.
2. Using too much salad dressing
When we go on a diet we expect to be eating more salads. This is a great way to cut calories and drop the pounds. The problem is that most people drown their salad with salad dressing ending up with salad soup. A good rule of thumb is to use a tablespoon to put your salad dressing on. This will control how much dressing you put on your salad and make sure you have just enough for taste.
Places like Sam’s Club and Costco are famous for offering samples to entice customers to buy certain products. Other grocery stores have also been known to participate in the same practice. If you’re thinking to yourself just a bit won’t hurt think again. Sampling in the grocery store is similar to what I call the potato chip syndrome. There is no such thing as having just one potato chip. When you sample one thing you might have seconds and end up buying the sampled item for dinner. As you stroll through the grocery store isle and see several sampling opportunities just remember by the time you are finished having “just a bite” of everything there is to sample you could very easily have just consumed 100 calories you didn’t plan on eating. To avoid this pit fall don’t go to the grocery store hungry. You will be less likely to sample, and buy other items you didn’t intend.
4. 100 calorie snacks
100 calorie snacks have become very popular. They offer a false sense of being able to have a sinful little taste treat without the guilt. It’s only 100 calories and can be worked off in the gym right? What the distributors of the 100 calorie snacks don’t tell you is that you may be eating more than 100 calories. Food companies have been known to not to put completely accurate information on nutrition labels. Also, having a 100 calorie snack pack of Oreo cookies can contributes to cravings which in turn may increase your appetite causing you to eat other foods off the diet. The best advice is to just steer clear of 100 calorie snacks. Why tempt fate?
5. Dieting too hard
Believe it or not there is such a thing as dieting too hard. When you diet nonstop, or have just fruit and salads all the time, you can burn out on dieting. Just like burn out with exercise you will not see any results if you burn out on dieting. Physically when your body burns out on dieting it enters a starvation mode and hordes every calorie you give it because it doesn’t know when it will be fed again.
To prevent dieting burnout it is a good idea to take a meal off once a week. On the weekend is usually the best time to take a break because of increased social functions. The break will give your body the rest it needs, and also gives you a break mentally. Another fact is taking a break from dieting once a week actually speeds up your metabolism giving it the calorie burning power it needs for another successful week of weight loss.