We're all familiar with the beginning stages of a diet or eating plan. We work hard at it, we focus, and we lose weight. But it seems there always comes that time when our efforts stall, and we aren't sure why.
This month's issue of Shape magazine focuses on six reasons that you might be stuck, and a strategy to improve each one:
1. Too many whole grains -- like breads and snack foods that, while whole grain, are giving you too much fat or sugar with the package. Their strategy: Get back to real grains, like brown and wild rice.
2. Those "cheat" days -- Are you a Monday-through-Friday dieter who coasts on the weekends? That in itself will trip you up over those last few pounds. Their strategy: Try to eat a similar number of calories each day, and give yourself a 150- to 200-calorie treat a few times a week.
3. Traps while you cook: Those extra nibbles, that dab of butter, that bite of leftovers all add up. Their strategy: Get your measuring cups and spoons back out and refresh your knowledge of portions and measurements.
4. Sleep vs. the gym: It's great that you're dedicated to your exercise routine, but if you're exhausted, it may work against you. You are better off skipping the workout and getting an extra hour of sleep. A quote: "When you're sleep-deprived, your hormone levels change, stimulating cravings for starches and sweets."
5. You lose track of calories when you eat with family or friends: A study found that people eat 40 to 70 percent more calories when they eat with friends or family. Strategy: Make your food decisions ahead of time, before you're in that fun social situation that makes you want to back off the diet controls.
6. Your partner's not as into it as you are. Their strategy: Lots of communication between diet and exercise buddies helps to keep motivation strong; and if one partner loses their commitment, it's ok to back out of the agreement. One down attitude shouldn't bring down both of you.
Here's their article about smarter ways to lose weight:
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