Weight loss is a long process. There is a reason it’s called a weight loss journey. As with any journey things will not always go as planned and different difficulties will come into play. These obstacles can be physical, mental, and emotional. Today we’ll address a few of the most common physical difficulties.
Weight loss is hard. Having a healthy diet plan for weight loss is important. What healthy foods you eat and how much can be overwhelming. So now add in looking at your calories on a day to day basis. It’s incredibly daunting. Taking snapshots of each day's meal and trying to add it up to the total sum of your weekly deficit can be a challenge. Knowing when to adjust your calories up, down or keep them the same can confuse just about anyone. Hopefully these tips below help:
Use an app that does the work for you (personal recommendation is carbon diet coach, or chronometer if you don't mind adjusting your calories on your own). Carbon diet coach is our favorite because it does the calorie adjustments and math for you. All you need to do is accurately log and trust the process.
When planning your weekly menu choose 3-4 veggie sources, lean proteins of your choice, grains/fruit, and fat sources
Batch cook or cook meals in bulk to cut down on time and save mental energy.
Have quick to grab meals that you can store in your bag that allow for easy access when temptations arise or you're unfortunately unprepared. Sometimes you may even be completely prepared but the day throws a curveball your way. Think protein bars or shakes. Grab a banana or a yogurt on your way out for the day.
Let’s start by defining what exactly hunger cues are. True hunger cues are physical symptoms that the body is using to tell you it’s time to eat. Some of these cues include: stomach growling, low energy, shakiness, headaches and problems focusing. It’s extremely important to note that if you keep your weekly deficit moderate these cues will also be moderate. The second most important thing to note is that if you are in a caloric deficit these feelings are normal and unavoidable. To be completely honest with you, to some extent you just have to accept these moderate discomforts and acknowledge that it is ok to feel a little hungry if your goal is weight loss. As your body gets leaner and leaner, as fat stores are being given up, your body sends these hunger cues. So how do we manage hunger cues? Tons of people, even the most veteran dieters struggle with hunger cues. Hopefully some of these tips below help:
Volume, volume, volume! Eat lower calorie higher volume based foods.
Instead of rice, switch to air popped popcorn (I personally use Redenbacher kernels). Popcorn also makes a great crunchy snack!! While there are numerous brands of “diet” popcorn on the market today you will get more food volume for less calories by popping your own. I often pop a few days worth at one time and store in airtight containers.
Another great way to add volume if you want to keep the rice is to mix half rice and half cauliflower rice. When mixed in with your favorite rice and seasoning I assure you that you won’t even notice the cauliflower.
Instead of eating high calorie breads 80-120 calories per slice switch to lower calorie breads 40-50 calories per slice. There’s also an abundance of low calorie wraps/flatbreads and tortillas that are awesome alternatives.
Instead of eating high calorie sweets, switch to fruit. If you’re like me and you want your sweets, limit and plan for them. Allow 100 calories in each day for a pb cup or cookie.
Include your favorite veggies in each meal.
Drink a minimum of one gallon of water per day. This will take time to work up to but has a multitude of benefits.
Understand when you are personally hungriest. This is, afterall, your meal plan and it needs to suit you and your lifestyle.
Strategically place higher calorie meals when you are hungriest. Before any of you ask…at some point as your journey progresses nutrient timing and its benefits MAY come into play for you. You aren’t there yet. Right now your focus is on eating your calories when you need them.
If you know that you are not a morning person don't waste a massive percent of your calories on a big breakfast. If you know you can’t sleep if you’ve just eaten you may want to get the calories in earlier. Don’t be afraid to space out the calories differently to accommodate yourself.
Let’s say you know you always feel most hungry in the middle of the day and you are currently on a 5 meal a day meal plan. Your day could look something like this.
10% calories in morning
10% calories snack
40% calories lunch
20% calories post workout
20% calories dinner
I myself am hungriest in the evening and so my day looks very different. The bulk of my calories are used at dinner and my last 2 snacks.
Fluctuations in body weight
No matter how much we’d like it to be, weight loss is not a linear process. If you could see a chart of my progress you would see that there are MANY ups and downs but the overall trend over years is down. Just a few hours ago I was discussing this with a client. As I explained fluctuations I saw her gain a better understanding of the process. She used the perfect words to describe it. “We take the process day by day but need to look to the big picture to see our progress.” That’s exactly right. Your progress is the sum of all the tiny habits you do in the day to day that eventually make that big picture. People often lose weight quickly in the beginning. This eventually slows. The longer you diet the less weight you're going to see drop on a week to week basis as you lose fat and your body adapts. Many people become discouraged during this time and self sabotage their own progress during these minor bumps in the road.
Some useful tips that have helped me over the years:
Track your weight every morning to better help you understand your weekly average. If you only weigh once a week you may not see the true results you are getting. Just like we measure our calories in a weekly average we do the same for our scale weight. If your average weight is 2lbs less than last week's average weight but today's weight is the same as last Wednesday's weight…..You did lose this week.
Look over your daily salt.
Did you drink too little water?
Did you eat later than normal?
Are you weighing yourself at the same time each day?
How did you sleep the night before?
We hope you take these tips and use them to overcome these common hurdles. If you feel like you’re doing all of the above and still not seeing the progress you want you may benefit from speaking with a coach who can see it objectively and guide you through these things so you achieve lasting results. Drop a comment below, private message, email or a book a free initial call with either of us to get help breaking through your barriers.
-Stephanie and Ryan