If you’ve been on a diet for a while, at some point you would stop losing weight. No matter how little you eat or how much you work out, the scale will eventually get stuck on the same number for weeks or even months. This can be very frustrating as well as demotivating, but it’s not impossible to overcome. I got inspired to write on this topic after reading Hollie’s Weight Loss Blog and how many other people with the same problem were commenting on it.
Such scenario usually occurs when your body gets used to your new routine. When you decide to change your lifestyle, eat healthy and work out, it works really well in the beginning. This is because you put your body in a shock. You’re giving it all that low calorie food that it’s not used to and putting it to work at the gym. It struggles to keep up with your new lifestyle until it finally gets it. By suddenly depriving your body from what it’s craving, you’re sending it a signal that “hard times” are coming. In other words, it thinks that you no longer have access to certain foods and soon might even stop eating at all. Once your body catches on to your new routine, it starts saving everything it can, preparing itself for worse days to come. It slows down your metabolism so it could preserve energy instead of wasting it. It doesn’t want you to let go of your fat for your own good. Some people get frustrated and start eating even less. You should do quite the opposite. As I always say, you should never go on a diet, but if you decided that that’s what you really want to do, then at least don’t stick to the same menu for too long. You have to send your body a message that everything is ok. That you are not trying to starve yourself and that there is no need to start saving energy. You should change up your routine. Include more types of food. Make sure you are getting enough protein, carbs and even some fat. Don’t be too strict on yourself and your body will finally let go of the unwanted fat.
People, who are doing something while they eat, tend to consume more food. If you’re watching an interesting show on TV, reading a book or are playing video games, you are not focusing on what you are eating and don’t notice when you get full. This leads to overeating and unnecessary snacking. If you feel hungry, take a break from your activity to eat and resume after you’re done.
Don’t be fooled by products that have labels on the saying they have “low fat” “gluten free” “low sodium” “low carbs”. Low or free of anything for that matter. These are just marketing schemes meant to make a consumer think he’s eating healthier or just to have an excuse to eat something he shouldn’t be eating. I do agree that it’s good when the product has less sugar, but the writing on the box doesn’t mean it’s any better than similar treat brands. You have to ask yourself what does it mean by “less”? Less than what? Less than the leading brand? What if you buy a brand that is not that popular? Does that mean it might have 4 times less sugar even thought it doesn’t have a flashy label on it? This is all a bunch of BS. Do not ever buy anything based on a label saying it has “less” or “lower” of something.
The most confusing label of all is the “fat free” label. Most people don’t even realize that fat itself doesn’t make you fat, but carbohydrates do. Carbs are the main energy source for a human body. They take long to digest and if you are not an athlete or don’t spend long hours at the gym, that means you don’t really need much of them. If you don’t use the energy that the carbs give you, they eventually turn into fat and settle on your body. You should consume a minimal amount if you don’t lead an active lifestyle and if you spend most of your time working at a desk.
I like to refer to candy as just sugar. Sugar is like a drug in many ways. The more you eat it, the more you want. Your body does need a little bit of sugar to keep a well-maintained balance, but sugar has no vitamins or nutrients. If you feel cravings for it a lot, that means you have an addiction. But don’t worry, it is not that hard to get rid of it. The good news is that if you don’t consume candy for about 5-8 days, then you won’t want it anymore. The best way to start is on a day when you don’t feel a strong craving for sweets, otherwise you won’t get passed the first day and it will make you want to give this whole thing up. The first three days of not eating sugar will be the hardest. You will feel like there is nothing in the world that you want more than just one piece of chocolate or a tasty donut. You will feel tense and a bit wired, but if you manage to live through this phase and not eat any of it, after 3 days it will be a lot easier not to think about it. After about a week you will feel free from this addiction. At some point later on the cravings will come back, but it will be a lot easier to resist them. When you feel that you have obtained control over your cravings, treat yourself to a little piece of cake or have a donut, maybe even two. As long as you don’t feel like you need to eat the entire box, you’re good. Otherwise, start all over again with a sugar free week.
I found this great article “Hack Your Brain to Use Cravings To Your Advantage” on how to understand and control cravings. It proves what I just said in more detailed and scientific terms.