It’s the start of a new season. You’re committed to your new diet but you still haven’t lost any weight. Or you’ve only lost a few pounds, less than expected.
You’re frustrated. Annoyed. You’re thinking about giving up and going back to your old ways.
I get it. Plenty of my clients have felt this way. But before you revert to your previous diet—something you already decided needed to change—just read this.
Even if you take away just one of the items on this list, it will be worth it. I promise.
#1 Habit and Mindset Tune-Up
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you eating three full meals per day?
- How much are you snacking?
- Are you eating enough protein and fat?
- Are you adding too much fruit, and/or too many potatoes?
- Are you eating first thing in the morning?
- Are you preparing your food, or eating every meal out?
- Are you having too many cheats?
- Are you drinking alcohol multiple times per week?
- Do you have anyone keeping you accountable?
#2 Watch Your Carbs
Carbs are a key consideration, especially when you’ve got weight to lose.
However, you should try reducing your carb intake to 70-100 grams per day to reduce insulin production and fire up your fat metabolism, taking care to avoid all processed foods—they contain hidden sugars.
You might also try skipping fruit. Be sure you’re not eating starchy natural carbs—like sweet potatoes—more than three nights per week.
Make sure that you’re eating enough protein for your weight—I suggest using .7 grams per pound of body weight formula, with a max limit of 200g—eating the right vegetables and snacking on high-fat foods to keep you feeling satisfied.
#3 Eat Enough of the Good Stuff
Whatever you do, do not scale back from eating three big healthy meals per day.
The goal here is to heal your relationship with food and repair your metabolism. This is not the time to reduce portion sizes, count calories, revert back to the low-fat paradigm, and start micro-managing your choices.
Remember, the goal is to master your diet, not lose weight as quickly as possible. This is not just another diet, it is a new way of life, and it’s a worthwhile investment.
Do not—I repeat, do not—count calories. Instead, focus on changing the types of food on your plate—less sugar, fewer starches, more veggies, more protein, more fat. At a baseline, you should be eating three healthy meals per day, every day. Period.
#4 Cut Back on Snacks
If you’re eating three full meals and two snacks a day and not losing weight, it’s time to cut back to one snack.
I recommend cutting between breakfast and lunch, as the midday snack between lunch and dinner can be a nice pick-me-up.
Low-carb isn’t magic. It reins in wild hunger and tames insulin, but calories do still matter, especially once you approach your ideal weight. In fact, those last few pounds often don’t respond to the same stuff that worked so well to get you to this point. As Mark Scisson says: Eating nut butter by the spoonful and hunks of cheese without regard for caloric content may have gotten you this far, but you’ve got to tighten things up if things aren’t working anymore.
You’ve now trained yourself into an informed and empowered place to do this rather than eating too little from the beginning and burning yourself out.
And that’s the real test, isn’t it? There is a metabolic advantage to eating according to our evolutionary principles, but if the weight isn’t coming off, something’s up—and calories may need to come down.
#5 Walk More
Are you moving frequently for three to five hours every week? Walking is what we’re designed to do.
Not only are walks lifesavers during times of cravings, but they are essential to a healthy lifestyle. We are designed to walk. Our bodies crave it.
Walking daily should be the bedrock of your fitness regimen whether you’re a seasoned cross-fitter or just starting out.
It’s easy to do and doesn’t dip into your glycogen reserves, making it a pure fat burner, not a sugar burner. If you’re on the low end of the spectrum, crank it up toward five weekly hours and beyond. That’s 45-min per day. Divided between two to three walks, that’s not asking a lot.
#6 Be Patient
Some people get instant results from dropping carbs, grains, sugar, and vegetable oils while others have to take a month to get acclimated and only then does the weight begin to slide off.
Either way, this is a lifestyle. You’re in it for the long haul.
Approach it with the right mindset and you’ll reduce the risk of discouragement as well as lose weight without trying to do so, which is what I teach all of my clients.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.