Michelle Ishio (Resident Post Pregnancy Rehab Specialist, Fitness Expert, and mom of 3)
You have committed yourself to eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but wondering why you are not getting the results you are expecting.
There might be a few culprits in the mix that you are not aware of.
Let's list, and briefly discuss the most common culprits, and see if you fit into any of these categories. If you do, then by being conscious and understanding of it, you can make the necessary modifications to help get you get going in the right direction.
How many times a day are you drinking beverages that contain calories?
It can be orange juice in the morning, tea with sugar, to even finishing up your children's juice.
Also remember that "a glass” of something isn't necessarily one serving, a
serving is usually 8 oz and most beverages come twice to triple that amount. Find out how much is "one serving" and multiply that by how many servings are in the bottle/cup/glass...it adds up.
Make sure you count liquid calories because they do count towards the calorie total that you are allotted to maintain where your weight is at, or to lose fat.
To keep it simple, I always simply say, drink water or tea/coffee without additives on most occasions, because it is so much more fun to "eat" the calories rather than quickly "drink" the calories.
Besides that, when you are consuming higher amounts of liquid calories, you are limiting the amount of calories you can put towards higher quality foods that actually help you fuel your body, make your muscles more dense, and speed up your metabolism.
Calories quickly add up more than people think when you snack without paying attention; this includes cleaning off your child’s plate to avoid waste, or because it is simply there. Eating out of a the container/bag as you prepare your kids lunches and snacks for school, and sampling foods as you are cooking all adds up too.
Of course the higher fat and calories the food is, the worse, however, it really doesn't matter whether the food is healthier or not, because calories are calories, and it adds up.
The only exception I can give to the mindless eating is raw, non-starchy vegetables, but let's be realistic, those are usually not the snack foods that we
are mindlessly eating.
Not Planning ahead:
If you are used to a routine of breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, and know that you will have to deviate from that schedule of where and what time you will eat your meal, then plan ahead.
Don't skip a meal or end up going to drive-thru, and getting whatever you feel at the moment.
If you know that you cannot be at home for lunch, then make sure you pack yourself one. If you know that you have to leave out early in the morning and won't have time for a sit-down breakfast, then prepare something you can take with you and safely drive, (i.e. an apple, pieces of cheese, and/or breakfast bar).
If you absolutely must go through drive-thru, be conscious of the total calories you are able to have for that meal, and order accordingly. (i.e. at Mc Donalds, order a small cheese burger, small salad with little bit of dressing, snack size parfait, and water, rather than a filet-o-fish, medium fries, and cola).
This condiment is the a big culprit in disguise.
Even if you are using a "light" dressing that is only 80 calories a serving, remember to pay attention to what that "serving" amount is.
Most salad dressing serving size is 2 tablespoon. Are you really only using 2 tablespoons? If not and your are using double, then remember to double the calorie amount to 160, (using the 80 calorie example above).
Yes, I said Under-eating...less is not better, or faster.
Many of us have already done this consistently, or are still doing this consistently.
Not only do you end up with less energy, and your moods start going up and down, you can't handle stress as well; it also doesn't fuel our bodies properly to "maintain itself".
Our bodies need a certain amount of calories in order to function, (i.e. walk, regulate temperature, keep our organs functioning, support exercise, etc), so when we under-eat, the body will look for other ways to support itself if it is not getting regular nutrition provided to it.
To keep it simple, here is the jest of what happens when you under-eat.
If the body cannot get the regular nutrition it needs, then it will take the energy it needs from our muscles. With less muscle density, we need less calories to "maintain ourselves". With needing less calories for our bodies to "maintain ourselves", then we slow down our metabolism.
So where you otherwise would have previously needed 1500 calories a day to maintain yourself, after this process of under-eating, you body will now only need 1250 calories to "maintain itself".
If you continue to eat 1500 calories anyway, (or what you were actually eating in the first place), and now you only need 1250 calories, you will end up gaining weight at an even faster rate than before.
With less energy as a result of under-eating, you will have even less energy and motivation to work-out. In fact, with less than better moodsfrom under-eating, you might want to start eating more than what had you gain too much weight in the first place...
...as you can see, this is NOT a good cycle to be stuck in.
If you are in a bad cycle of binge eating, then under-eating, and as that result, of low energy, modd swings, etc, find a place or two in that negative cycle, that you feel your can tackle the easiest, and start making the changes there.
Recruit a partner or a few, and start a pack, holding each other accountable, and even greater, if they can also be a workout training partner, even better!
Every 3500 calories is a pound, so little things here and there that your over-do does add up. Now, I don't say this as to create obesession with calories, but I do say this to stress the importance with being aware of the nutrition you put into your body on a regular basis. I would like readers to take a look at thier eating habits, and make conscious efforts towards awareness of what is really happening with that area of thier lives.
Figure out and face what are the "honest to goodness" habits of yours, what are your popular culprits, what are your strengthes, what are your weaknesses, and partner up with like-minded individuals towards communal goals.
Please Note: Consistent exercise will help offset the occasional ups and downs with your nutritional plan. When adding an exercise plan, you won't have to be so worried about the occasional unexpected treats, (such as the birthday cake at the office, etc).
Exercise will ALSO benefit your physique, unlike a nutrition plan alone, and additionally, it will positively boost your moods, give you more energy, and you will have a more athletic abilities, (which means less accidents, and more skill).