Every now and again, I’ll come across those people who are doing everything “right” to lose weight yet aren’t seeing results. They’ve stopped eating junk food, begun exercising regularly, and filling their meals with amazingly nutritious whole foods. Yet for whatever reason, the weight just won’t. come. off. This is a frustrating experience for both me and, of course, the individual since they can’t help but ask themselves, “What am I doing wrong?” Today’s post is dedicated to answering that very question.
1. Fat won’t make you fat, BUT…
Avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil are all good fats, it’s true. But one gram of fat contains more than double the calories than the same amount of protein and carbs; there are 9 calories per gram of fat versus 4 calories per gram of protein and carbs. In other words, YES an avocado contains “good fats," but if you’re eating five of these bad boys a day without burning off the calories, you’ll gain weight.
Olive oil is another example of a healthy food that can be insanely overused. While it also contains healthy monounsaturated fats and amazing phytonutrients like oleocanthal that can help reduce inflammation, one tablespoon has 120 calories and 14g of fat. It’s good fat, but you don’t need to add so much of it that your veggies are dripping in the stuff. In fact, I typically halve the amount of olive oil in a salad dressing recipe simply because it tastes just as good without it and I don't need that much oil.
TAKEAWAY: Fat is our friend, but you have to be mindful of portion sizes given that they pack a serious calorie punch.
2. Those toppings you use add up.
How much cream are you putting in that coffee? Maple syrup in your oatmeal? Honey in your yogurt? Ketchup with those homemade sweet potato chips? If you’re inadvertently adding ¼ cup of these things to your dishes, you’re not only adding unnecessary calories to your diet in the form of sugar, but you’re also getting your tastebuds used to sweeter flavours, making foods in their natural state less palatable.
TAKEAWAY: Look at the portion sizes on the bottles of your ketchup, honey, syrup, etc. You might be surprised how many calories are packed in a small amount! From there, measure your portions for awhile so you can get a more accurate picture of what you're consuming.
3. You’re eating store-bought “healthy foods.”
Trail mix is a go-to snack for people because it’s not only tasty but super convenient. The problem is, many store-bought trail mixes will add tons of dried fruit, salt, and sugary sweets like M&Ms to improve the taste, which can really up the calorie count and sugar content. Granola bars and flavoured yogurts are another example of “healthy” foods that aren’t so good for you since they’re packed with sugar. For more on the sneaky hiding places of this nasty ingredient, check out my other blog post.
TAKEAWAY: Make your own health foods at home so it’s not loaded with preservatives, sugar, and other junk. Check out my recipes page for some ideas!
4. You’re loading up on dried fruit.
Dried fruits might be high in antioxidants and fibre, but you can eat a much bigger portion of them without feeling full since they lack water. Many dried fruits such also contain added sugars unless you’re specifically buying organic varieties that don’t contain added sugar.
TAKEAWAY: Dried fruit is a great little snack, but watch your portions.
5. You aren’t eating enough protein.
Typically, people get the majority of their calories from carbohydrates, which eventually break down into glucose—or sugar. Keep in mind: too much sugar gets stored as fat.
Conversely, proteins break down into amino acids that catalyze muscle growth, and muscle burns way more calories than fat—even when you’re just sitting at your desk. Plus, your body actually burns calories just through the process of digesting proteins, while you keep practically every calorie of a carbohydrate since they require barely any energy to be broken down.
TAKEAWAY: Eat the same amount of protein for every carb you eat. Eventually you can increase the amount of protein you're consuming and lower the amount of carbs to a 2:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates.
6. You’re drinking your calories.
That Mocha Frappuccino you’re ordering at Starbucks with your meal is adding 400 calories and 61g of sugar to your day, while simultaneously doing nothing helpful for your body. Even a double double at Tim Horton’s adds 212 calories and 22g of sugar! Check out my blog post on the worst offenders in the drink department.
Alcohol is another biggie in this category. If you’re having a couple of glasses of red every night, you’re consuming an extra 1,800 calories each week, which likely isn’t helping your weight loss efforts.
TAKEAWAY: Save your calories for your meals!
7. Overall, you’re eating way too much.
You might be eating too much of the bad stuff like sugar and processed foods, but the expression “too much of a good thing” also comes into play here. Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you need to eat the stuff like it’s going out of style.
It’s also very common for me to see people constantly grazing throughout the day. While eating healthy snacks is important to help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day, there’s a difference between snacking regularly and mindlessly shoving food into your mouth every five minutes. When we do this, it prevents our bodies from having that much-needed “maintenance” time to engage in processes like detoxification and cleansing; instead, it's devoting practically all of its time to digestion, which can make us feel sluggish and tired, too.
TAKEAWAY: Let yourself feel hungry at some points throughout the day and don't snack into the wee hours of the night. Your body needs time to take care of other stuff too, you know!
The Bottom Line
The point of this post is NOT to scare you away from foods like avocados, olive oil, or dried fruits; these all contain health benefits and make great additions to your diet. But just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you need to eat excessive amounts of it. Save your calories for your meals, don't mindlessly graze all day long, eat more protein, and watch the portions on those "extras" you’re adding to food like jam, honey, maple syrup, etc.
I’d also like to highlight that these tips are best for those of you who have hit a weight loss plateau. Typically, you can ease up on this stuff a bit when you’re in the maintenance phase, but they can seriously come in handy for those of you who are (understandably) frustrated out there!
You Tell Me!
What’s your favourite weight loss tip? Let me know in the comments below!