Your weight will vary day to day—as much as several pounds—due to normal fluctuations in body water. So looking at your weight from one day to the next, or even one week to the next, does not accurately reflect weight loss. Dietary influences are just some of what can impact the number on the scale, whether a true weight change or just normal day-to-day fluctuations. Medications, hormones, exercise, and body composition changes additionally influence weight. Before further investigation, it’s important to evaluate whether what you’re experiencing is a true plateau or is the day to day fluctuations constantly fluctuating around a lower number, meaning you are losing weight, just possibly slower than you’d like.
The scale is not necessarily your friend. You may want to lose fat – but the scale measures muscles, bone and internal organs as well. Gaining muscle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are imperfect ways to measure your progress. This is especially true if you’re just coming off a long period of semi-starvation (calorie counting), as your body may want to restore lost muscles etc. Starting weight training and gaining muscle can also hide your fat loss.
Because men are larger than women on average and have more muscle to support, men can usually eat more calories while still losing weight, compared to women. Portion control may be especially important for women. In one study, women who ate smaller portions of food (and less food overall) had lower BMIs than women who limited or avoided a certain type of food.2 This approach seems to work better for women than men.3
Eat polyunsaturated fats. While saturated fat leads to the body's retention of visceral fat, causing abdominal girth and excessive weight gain, studies have shown that a diet high in polyunsaturated fat helps promote the production of muscle mass instead of body fat. Polyunsaturated fats can also help reduce cholesterol levels in the body, lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include:
Processed foods are one of the biggest sources of salt in Americans’ diets—and the scary part is you probably don’t even realize it. Because of the way these addictive foods are formulated, salt is hidden in everything from soups to pasta sauces to even sweet things like boxed cakes. Swap out processed foods in favor of fresh fare and your tummy will thank you. Not only will you lose the salt-bloat but you’ll also lose the extra empty calories and lose weight. Learn about these 50 more ways you can lose weight without a lick of exercise.
However, if you’re already on medication and think it could be hampering weight loss efforts, speak with your doctor about your options. It may be possible to transition to a more natural option, like a natural form of birth control, coming up with a plan to transition off medication or simply trying an alternative that’s not known to cause weight gain.
“I have one heck of a sweet tooth, and so I have to refuse to bring candy, cake, or sweets into the house, period,” say Lin Williams, who’s lost 105 pounds. Instead, if she wants a treat she has to want it bad enough to get up, get in the car, leave her home, and go to the store—a process that rarely feels worth it. And on the rare occasion she does indulge? “I get exactly what I want and enjoy every bite of it!” she says.
I’ve been doing carb free for the last two weeks with one cheat meal per week. I did this same “diet” in high school and lost 48 pounds in 2 months (all while attending keg parties on the weekend, those were the days!) I’m not suceeding (thus far) as much as I had back then, despite being more regimented. Could this be because it’s a decade and a child later? I’ve heard your metabolism can change after childbirth. After reading through your postings I think some of my issue might be the amount of fruit I’m eating.. i:e Bananas in the morning and an afternoon snack of apples and peanut butter. Maybe I’m snacking too much on cheese? Oh I’m just so frustrated. I’m hoping after this week, now that I’m over being sick and can integrate cardio that the fat burn will pick up, but for now I’m super discouraged.
Thank you for your response. I do agree the Mediterranean diet & Dash are healthy & sound, but I also think it’s important for people to change their habits, vs. “going on a diet” — whether you eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, with a small amount of healthy fat, plenty of protein and good, whole grains, OR you eat McDonald’s value meals four times a day, they are both considered someone’s “diet.”
Another explanation for slow weight loss… I had already been doing Paleo for two years when I switched to Ketogenic. The weight is coming off slowly because I already dropped the easy weight (over 20 pounds) from eating simply gluten-free previously. I’ve lost 10 more pounds, another 15-20 to go. And I’m fine with slow so long as I’m making progress.
Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.
About: Kristina is a plus-size model with a mission: help women learn to love their bodies while working to exercise, eat right and live healthfully. But most importantly, Kristina’s blog is about exploring body confidence and “healthy curves.” Her blog is the perfect balance of encouraging healthy living and loving yourself at the same time. Plus, Kristina’s great about taking it outside herself. Every month, she features the “Curvy Girl of the Month” where she profiles other successful women.
Thanks for sharing Brittany! I love your honesty and could not have used this post more today. I have been struggling with weight gain the last couple of years and keep falling into this loop hole of not eating clean. I work out 5 days a week, however my diet has not changed and so I have struggled. I will be definitely looking into this book as well to give me a new outlook and starting point. Kudos to you to maintaining a busy life of family, running a business and healthy lifestyle. I am inspired that if someone like you can make the change anyone can! Hugs
About: Sanji started her blog in 2009 as a personal journey to discover what adventures life would bring her, including religion, dating, traveling and more. Fast forward 7 years later, and Sanji is married and has a child. Recently, she morphed her blog into a place to share about her weight loss journey and efforts to live healthy. Add in her long-time writing experience and willingness to get vulnerable, and you’re sure to find it’s a journey you can relate to and find inspiration.
Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium to your diet could be the key to getting that flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
About: Kelsey’s blog is packed with easy-to-follow healthy recipes and fitness routines (and they’re not just your run-of-the-mill workouts, either). They’re formulated or endorsed from Kelsey herself — a 50 pound weight loss success story. Kelsey had been pretty fit and thin her whole life, but shortly after leaving college, countless nights of eating out and drinking led to her packing on an extra 50 pounds. Unhappy, Kelsey decided to make a change. What’s especially inspirational about her story is that she did so slowly. She made small changes, slowly started eating cleaner and eventually lost all the weight. Now, five years later, she’s still fit and sharing her story on her blog and in her books, fitness routines and recipes with readers. She even hosts weight loss challenges (with cash prizes) to really cheer people on and give them incentive to keep going.
Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
Another healthy change that will help you look better is to cut back on salt. Sodium causes your body to hold onto excess water, so eating a high-salt diet means you’re likely storing more water weight than necessary. Check to see if you have any of the seven clear signs you’re eating too much salt. If you’re in a rush to lose weight fast, cut out added salt as much as possible. That means keep ditching the salt shaker and avoiding processed and packaged foods, where added salt is pretty much inevitable.
It's no surprise that Dr. Dean Ornish's program is such a powerful tool for weight loss, considering its easy adaptability as a lasting lifestyle. The diet is mostly plant-based, keeps sodium intake in moderation, and limits coffee to a cup a day (two cups decaf) — so if you're looking to lose weight while keeping your java flow, you may want to consider another plan.
Great article! I didn’t realize I was doing KETO, but on June 22nd this year I reduced my carbs to about 15g per day. To date I have lost 29 pounds, and feel fantastic! I eat 1/4 cup of steel cut oats for breakfast with 1/2 cup lactose and fat free milk, and one table spoon of chopped walnuts. Lunch is 2 eggs fried in a teaspoon of coconut oil with a handful of spinach thrown on. I have 2 snacks a day. One is an ounce of hard cheddar, the other one tablespoon of natural peanut butter. My evening meal is about 4 ounces of whatever meat and heaps of green veggies, sometimes sweet potato, but only once a week. I like to do miracle noodles with shrimp in a lobster bouillon with red pepper flakes for heat, and I have started batch cooking meatballs all weighed out for quick meals etc Loving it, and loving life!
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Alexis Eggleton is the creator of one of our most inspirational blogs, Trading Cardio for Cosmos, where she shares positive and inspirational messages, lessons in emotional wellness, healthy recipes and also features weight loss success stories, including her own! She has lost more than 100 pounds with Weight Watchers and exercise, all without losing her sunny disposition! Alexis’ weight loss journey reminds us that you can be healthy without having to sacrifice your favorite foods, and you can do it all with a smile!