So, you’ve been super-good for months and you’ve eaten more lean chicken than you knew existed on the known earth and you’ve really upped your exercise regime too. It all worked for a while… and them something horrible happened. You reached a plateau. For anyone who’s ever dieted, this is the stage that strikes fear into the heart of the calorie-counter, and it’s often when we give up, shrug our shoulders and go, “feck it, I’m obviously just not meant to be a size 14/12/10,” before retiring to the couch with a super-sized bag of Hunky Dorys. But hang on; before you throw all your good intentions out the window, here are four ways to keep the scales on their downward trajectory.
1 Banish hidden calories
See that glass of wine (or two) you’re having when you get home from work? You don’t have to cut it out, but realise that it’ll count towards your daily calorie intake. What’s that? You’re not counting your daily calorie intake? First problem identified! The thing is, when you’re down to those final few pounds, your body’s working fine and it’s gonna fight further loss, so you must use absolute precision to win.
2 Keep a food journal
Nope, we’re not recommending the confessional, “Dear diary, today I ate a pancake and now I feel fat,” approach, but you do have to keep track, because when you see it all on paper, your daily food can look a lot different to how you imagined. Suddenly you realise you’ve had four slices of bread and a bagel in one day, and sorry girlfriend, but no one needs that much energy. Keeping track makes you less likely to make bad choices, and you may identify triggers that’ll help you to understand the sort of dieter you are, which leads us nicely to…
3 Know your weight-loss personality
Are you a social eater? Do you find that good behaviour goes out the window when you hang out with friends? Or you may fit the profile of an emotional eater as a way to combat anxiety. Then there’s the grazer: the person who racks up the calories mindlessly while watching telly. These are the last things people think about when wondering why they’re struggling to shift the pounds, but the way you eat can have a big impact on your weight-loss success.
4 Start cheating
Not like that! But it’s almost as naughty: as well as acting as a reward and giving you an emotional and psychological boost, which in turn will help you to stick to your food plan, a cheat meal can actually help to boost your metabolism. Many athletes use this method as a way of confusing their bodies, so instead of starving yourself of calories and hoping your bum will gobble itself (fat chance), eating a little more can shake your metabolism awake, restoring the fat burning furnace.
by Robert O’Connor