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mahstat



Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Total Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:40 pm    Post subject: Plateau in weight loss Reply with quote

Hi. I hope you don't mind a lengthy question! I am currently 5 ft 7.5 in. and weigh 154 lbs. After having/nursing my third son, I decided to start a sensible diet, joined this great site, and lost 24 lbs in 5 months through healthy eating (1200 calorie diet) and moderate exercise.

My program consisted of walking outside or using my elliptical machine 30 min/day, 4 days/week. My dinners and lunches consisted of healthy convenience meals taken from my core meal plan (hearty portioner and convenience foods) from this site. Breakfast was usually high fiber cereal and fruit. Snacks were packaged 100 calorie snacks, fruit, yogurt or cheese sticks.

My problem is this. I have not lost anymore weight in the last 2 months. I now have 3 little boys under the age of 8 and a very demanding part-time job. We are always on the go, and I do not have time to make healthy meals from scratch (already tried and could not consistently do it). I am tired of many of the foods that I have been eating regularly for meals and snacks, and I find myself buying some not so healthy options just to have some variety. I also do not see how I can exercise more, as getting in 4 days per week has been extremely challenging.

Can you give me some advice on how to overcome this plateau I seem to be stuck in? How can I vary my exercise routine and diet without adding any additional time requirements? My goal is to lose 9 more pounds. Thanks so much!
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DietitianConsult
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Joined: 20 Jul 2004
Total Posts: 1989

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

Congrats on the weight loss so far! I know it can be frustrating when weight loss stalls. By mixing up the foods you're eating, while still staying in your calorie requirements can help keep you going and definitely mixing up exercise will help. I would like to get an idea of what types of foods you are eating currently so I can weork from that to give you some new, fresh and easy ideas to keep you on track! What does a typical day look like for you (more specifically than you mentioned above).

As far as exercise goes, there's a few things you can do. Obviously everyday things like taking the stairs or parking farther away in a parking lot are little things you can do. But in addition to that, you might want to consider increasing the intensity of those workouts. If you're on the elliptical, try doing intervals of speed, resistance and incline during your workout. Are you able to run at all? Another important component of exercise for weight loss is weight bearing exercise. Picking up those weights and doing low weight with high reps can help keep your metabolism revved long after the workout is over. You can do this at any time, while watching a tv show, split it up into 10 minute intervals throughout the day when there's time and making that what you do on your "off days" of cardio.

I look forward to hearing back from you to see what else I can do to help you reach your goal!

Meghan

Meghan McCarron,MS,RD,LDN
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mahstat



Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Total Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:56 pm    Post subject: Weight loss plateau Reply with quote

Thanks for your prompt reply, Meghan! I will definitely start using the ideas of varying the intensity of the elliptical workouts and adding light weights. I have also rented a few fitness videos here and there, but many of them hurt my knees. I will keep trying to find one I like for more variety (I could run a bit, but my knees do get sore, so I stopped).

Regarding the meals, I need the most help with lunch, dinner and snacks. Typically lunch is one of the following: A frozen entree (Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones, including their pizza varieties), a low fat canned soup, a low fat turkey hotdog, or a sandwich with whole wheat bread and low fat lunch meat. I also have fruit with this, either a banana, blueberries, apple slices (with a tablespoon of pb), or packaged cup of fruit.

Dinner: Salad (bagged variety) with soup, something in the crock pot I can throw together that doesn't require pre-cooking (chicken, turkey, or pork with vegetables and some kind of low fat sauce) served over brown rice (minute rice), or a "mixture" made on the stovetop with short cuts chicken pieces, veggies, and beans in some low fat sauce or salsa/tomato sauce (usually served with brown rice or cous cous, occasionally whole wheat pasta)

Snacks: any 100 cal packaged food (nuts, popcorn, pudding, protein bars, crackers, etc), low fat yogurt or cheese sticks.

I have grown very tired of the same foods. I find myself picking higher cal foods at the store now, which I know doesn't facilitate more weight loss. Any more ideas you can give me would be very much appreciated.
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DietitianConsult
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Joined: 20 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In general, your food choices are great for lunch, dinner and snacks! My first suggestion based on foods you're currently eating, is considering cutting out or down the starch at dinner. I am by no means suggesting a carb-free diet, but sticking with veggies and protein at dinner can save you a lot of calories . Otherwise, I would suggest limiting starch to about a half-cup at that meal. You're choosing whole grain options which is awesome, but cutting down may help get you to the weight you want in addition to varying your workouts.

There are so many options at the grocery store now between frozen entrees and 100-calorie packs...everyone sells things this way now which is great. For starters, I would try out different products, they all have the same amount of calories....have you tried the cocoa-covered almonds? Delish! At lunch, I would try and incorporate a veggie, lunches are usually a bit more structured so it's easier to stay on task. Try and mix up the bread you use, for example, try Joseph's low carb wraps or pitas or the sandwich flats instead of plain old bread. Try also to incorporate things like baby carrots or sugar snap peas with hummus as part of your lunch or make a vegetable or bean salad to mix things up a little. You can also add fun things to your sandwich to give it a little twist, such as spreading hummus on the bread, adding a little spice by putting sliced jalepenos on your sandwich. You could also try different flavored lunch meats, add additional veggies (my personal favorites are tomato, cucumber and onion). You could also go a different route and do something like a greek yogurt with fruit and a half-cup of your favorite cereal.

My general rule of thumb for snacks is to make sure they're less than 200 calories. So a lot of foods can fall into that category! String cheese is a personal favorite of mine. I would definitely encourage protein and fiber at your snacks to make sure you're satisfied when it's done and try and get the most bang for your buck. Look at serving sizes of things like crackers etc and find out what types give you more per serving than others. If you're still hungry, keep things like sugar-free jello or sf popsicles on hand as these have very few calories per serving. Another thing to try in the 35-calorie laughing cow wedges....they are delicious and can be spread on anything from celery to crackers.

Like I said for dinner, at least a few times a week, try to leave the starch out. If that means adding a salad to your meal so you feel satisfied, then that's a much lower calorie option than rice or pasta. Start out with once or twice a week and see if you are able to be satisfied without the starch. Keep additional frozen veggies on hand to ensure veggies are always available. You can even buy those pre-seasoned green giant varieties, they are usually pretty in calories and all you have to do is heat them up!

I tend to ramble on and on when it comes to food! Read this over and let me know if you have any questions. I'll keep thinking of different things for you to try and send them along to you.

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Meghan McCarron,MS,RD,LDN
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mahstat



Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Total Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:14 pm    Post subject: Plateau in weight loss Reply with quote

Thank-you very much, I will try all the suggestions you mentioned. One last question: Some days I am able to keep to 1200 calories fairly easily, while other days I feel very hungry, and eat closer to 1600 calories. In order to lose my remaining weight most effectively (i.e. most quickly), should I stick to 1200 daily, or should I vary my caloric intake on some days? And if so, how many days and how many calories should I consume on those days?
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DietitianConsult
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should allow yourself one 1600 calorie day a week and see if you can reach your weight loss goal. This will allow you some "freedom from the routine" and hopefully make the diet more maintainable. I feel very strongly that you should be allowed to have fun in your diet, even if you're trying to lose weight. On days where you want more fun foods, you can always try to cut back on the starch at lunch or dinner and increase the veggies to balance it out at the end of the day.

Keep me posted on how it's going and feel free to ask as many questions as you have!

Meghan

Meghan McCarron,MS,RD,LDN
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