Plateaus and underestimating calories

I don't understand what has happened to my weight loss?" How many times have we, or someone who we care about, asked that very question?

When weight loss has slowed down or stopped, you may have hit a plateau. Such times can be discouraging, so it's important to stay positive so you can break through the plateau.

Sometimes you may hit a plateau because your body is adjusting to a lower weight or different activity level. A little calorie adjustment or change in physical activity may help. Or, you may have slipped a little here and there, and thought nothing of it - when in reality, several little slips amounted to a lot!

When you're stuck in a plateau, take a closer look at your eating behaviors. Have you started estimating your portion sizes? If you have, measure your portions after you've estimated them. You may find that your estimations are slightly bigger than they should be. Have you been preparing food with oil or margarine? Do you measure the portions and stick to your allowed number of daily servings?

Also, think about "occasional extras" that should not have been consumed at all. For example, are you consuming extra snacks? Are you having an alcoholic beverage occasionally?

Studies have shown that people tend to underestimate the amount of calories they consume when completing dietary questionnaires.

A study on estimating calorie intake was done at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md. Researchers asked 98 men and women to recall what they consumed over a 24-hour period. Researchers found that six out of 10 men underestimated their intake by 581 calories on average. They discovered that six out of seven women under-reported their intake by 621 calories on average.

The study also showed that for every pound that a person was over his/her ideal body weight, the under-reporting error increased by 7 calories.

The fact that people can underestimate their calorie intake by hundreds of calories a day, suggests a reason why some people cannot lose weight despite "being on a diet." If you find yourself at a point, when the weight loss slows down and you think you're following the program well, try to evaluate how accurately you've been measuring your portions and sticking to your meal plan. You may be consuming more calories than you think.

You should also look at your activity level. Are you less active than when you were losing weight well? Have you been traveling and eating out more? When you've hit a plateau, it's important to fight off feelings of discouragement. Just consider it a time to look closer at your behavior. Remember, a plateau should only be temporary, not the end of your weight loss.

If you are unhappy with your weight, please call me today at (928) 753-5066 or stop by the Diet Center at 1848 Hope Ave., Suite 1, in Kingman. The Diet Center will help you reach your weight loss goals.