Weight loss can certainly have its ups and downs. We start the week with good intentions; pulling out the fresh vegetables and cutting them up for lunch. We try new breakfast items like almond butter and toast. Snacks have been cut way back, and dinner is simple and quick, with just a little meat and vegetables.
Experts will tell you that this is a good start, too. Then just what is going on and why are we not losing the weight we wish to lose? Their answer to this dilemma has been an age old problem and will make most dieters feel there is no point in trying.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a member of the Team Weight Loss Challenge at Elite Sports Clubs. He has been trying very hard to lose just ten pounds and has done it many times before. But, this time around little progress is being made. We sat down one morning to “investigate” just what could be the problem. This is what we came up with:
- This individual really liked his dairy products. In fact, he drank six 8oz. glasses of milk per day; two at breakfast, two at lunch, and two at dinner, for a total of 540 calories per day. But, what is the problem with this fundamental food? Once you get beyond what a “normal” serving is each day, the calories are considered just extra calories and no more. The suggestion I made was to cut the milk to one glass per meal and to drink water for extra fluids. That seemed to work!
- An additional food that seemed to come up often was cheese and crackers before dinner as an appetizer. Now no one can refute that cheese is good for you. However, most people will agree that when you are hungry you can easily overeat on the cheese and cracker appetizer. So much so, that it represents half the calories of your dinner. Have an idea in mind for the amount that you are going to eat before dinner and therefore do not end up eating too much. Do you always need to abstain from these offerings? No, in fact, it is best that you have some and enjoy along with people you are with. By cutting the portions a little, as my client did, your day still remains lower in calories, and you have not missed out on anything.
- Special meals out on a weekend can be a family and friend time you simply can’t give up. This client had a habit of going to a special pizza place with his family as they were making their way to a vacation spot in Northern Wisconsin. He was worried about this evening because of the potential extra calories with the pizza, and maybe even a few beers. We agreed that the pizza night had to stay, and we discussed cutting the pizza consumption down by two pieces, leaving him plenty of calories for the few beers.
- All in all, these few suggestions have given him a chance to realize the ten pounds weight loss, plus some. He is pleased with the subtle changes and is also finding other ways of easily “correcting” the calorie intake. One idea he liked was doing a quick check of his portion sizes that would work for him for every meal. Once these portions are set and do not increase after the weight is lost, he will not be gaining back any of the weight he lost during the challenge. Truly this was a great success story from one of our hard-working members. And best of all, they were all choices he made from within his own eating pattern and food preferences.
You may want to try some of these ideas also, as you go forward into the spring time. Never try to use a diet menu from a publication. What you like and what your schedule is today will be the best place to start a new routine.Schedule a Nutrition Consultation
By Rita Larsen, RD, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor