5 reasons you weight is plateauing
By Casey O’Dell, Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)
- You’re eating too much ‘good’ fat – Some of the latest health fads and trends have us eating more fat from foods such as smashed avocado, coconut oil and fatty meats. While some of these are labelled as ‘good’ fats (meaning they are potentially beneficial to your blood cholesterol), fat, regardless of the type, contributes twice as many calories as carbohydrate or protein per gram and needs to be minimised if you’re trying to lose stubborn weight! Half an avocado has 24g fat which is the equivalent of a Big Mac from McDonalds.
- You’re snacking too much – Snacks are not essential. Think about the extras you have in your day outside of meals. The mid-morning flat white, a couple of biscuits with your tea in the office, a nibble of some cheese and crackers before dinner or that yoghurt after dinner – consider if this type of snacking is based around stomach hunger or habit. Research no longer supports the theory that smaller, more frequent meals increase your metabolism, so perhaps consider whether the size of your meal is sufficient to carry you through to the next without a snack.
- You’re not eating enough protein and fibre – Eating more of the foods that fill us up will inevitably lead to eating less food. Try to build your meal around a lean source of protein such as chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs or legumes (lentils, chickpeas, tofu). Fibre is also essential to filling up your stomach space with minimal calories so aim for plenty of fruit and vegetables, dark grain-based breads and crackers, as well as legumes and pulses.
- You are drinking your calories – How many coffees are you having per day? Do you have smoothies or juices on a semi-regular basis? Not to mention soft drinks, cordials, flavoured waters, iced tea and the list goes on. Even the sugar-free or calorie-free varieties have been linked to obesity so make a pact with yourself to drink more water and cut the rest of the liquid calories – which provide minimal nutrition and don’t fill us up.
- You’re building muscle – If you’ve taken up a new gym routine and are doing more than just walking (HIIT, F45 or lifting weights) you can expect to be improving your body composition. Gaining muscle will lead to increased weight on the scales (or plateaus if you are losing fat!). This is due to your muscles holding more fluid. Gaining muscle is a great thing for your metabolism and health, and will inevitably help you lose weight in the long run. But our expectations are fixated on the number on the scale dropping. Rather than judge your progress from the scales, measure your waist and be guided by your clothes or better still, have a DEXA scan (body composition scan) for a far more accurate measure of progress.