If you have been exercising regularly and resting 6-8 hours a night you are off to a great start. Weight loss can be frustrating when you feel like you are doing all the things necessary to see the changes you envisioned. You freak out when the changes you’ve seen on the scale begin to slow down, and then seemingly stop altogether. Don't be discouraged if this is your story or if you are currently experiencing this.
Your weight loss can stall for a variety of different reasons. Less health conscious habits, diet is slipping by the wayside, or exercise schedule has dipped for the worse. It can be hard to identify the reasons for a weight loss plateau when you stick to the healthy lifestyle changes that have already helped you lose weight.
One of the things I want to point out is the importance of tracking your nutritional intake. It’s clear that excess calories can slow your weight loss progress. However, it can be difficult to estimate how many calories you consume and expend in a day. Research suggests that most people, including trained healthcare professionals, tend to overestimate calories burned through exercise and underestimate calories consumed in food. Even if you carefully keep track with a food journal or phone app, or wear an activity tracker, these methods can only provide a general estimate and are often much less accurate than you might expect.
Mixed nuts are a very popular snack for someone on the go. Let's just say you decided to consume mixed nuts every day for your mid day snack. You may think you are consuming one serving of mixed nuts that you had which is about 30 grams or 1/4 cup which would equal around 200 calories for most brands. If you've never weighed or measured the serving size you may actually consume 2 servings for that particular snack every single day. Over the course of the week, you would have consumed 1400 calories that you didn't account for. Yes, nuts are a healthy choice but a calorie is still a calorie when it comes to being in a deficit and losing weight.
I'm not saying that you have to track your calories daily to be successful at losing weight. But those tools can help you be a little more accurate day to day. Measuring food on a scale and tracking your intake may be stressful, or overwhelming to you. For that person, I would say it probably isn't something you are mentally ready for. A more practical approach is to look closely at your everyday habits and consider what potential impact they might have on your goals. For example, little “extras” such as sugar and cream in your morning coffee, or absent-minded snacking while you’re cooking a meal can really add up over the course of a day. A closer look at these habits might be what you need to get the scale moving again.
The key is to not ignore the details. That little candy bar you ate because your boss gave it to you, the small piece of candy you ate on the way home because you were starving, and the few scoops of ice cream that you had before bed can add up quick. 95% of your day may have been spent sticking to your nutritional plan 5% of the day that you were mindlessly consuming extra calories could be screwing up your weight loss goals. Sometimes it's all in the details.