I don't know about you guys, but I can't think of many things that are more frustrating (especially for us ladies) than trying to rid your body of those last few stubborn pounds. I wasn't born with amazing genetics, a great metabolism, nor am I the least bit tall or slender. I work hard for my body. I eat very healthfully- veggies at each meal, not a lot of junk (I do have a soft spot for ice cream!) and I exercise six days a week. But for whatever reason (the reason has since been identified, hence this a-ha moment turned blog post) my weight hovered in a six to seven pound range for a year. An entire year. No true progress- the scale would go up then down then up and down again. Like a rollercoaster. And I was growing sick of it.
In the last few months, I've been experimenting with my diet and have come to this conclusion: All this time, I've been eating "healthy" foods (that by no means are off limits) BUT I was overdoing them- disregarding their caloric effect on me. I've been under the impression that sugar was the main culprit of weight gain; however, I am now fully aware that extra fat- even healthy fats, can also contribute to weight gain/stall no matter how hard you're working out or how well you're eating.
The culprits? Nuts, nut butters, avocados, and oils. These were regulars in my diet. Things like avocado toast, almond butter in my smoothie, a spoonful of coconut oil before my workout (for energy), a handful of cashews for snack and an albeit delicious but high cal extra virgin olive oil based vinaigrette on my salad for dinner. Think about it- none of those items are forbidden on any healthy eating plan. And yes, they're technically good for our hearts. My mistake was enjoying two or more of those items per day. I was foolishly adding anywhere from 120-820 extra calories and up to 80 additional grams of fat to my daily diet. Yikes- talk about derailing any sort of efforts.
I'm so thankful I had my own wakeup call.
It's simple logic and science. Calories burned must be more than calories ingested for weight loss to occur. I was, for a year, pretty much breaking even. And that, friends is the lesson I learned. The extra fats in my diet were causing my body to plateau and essentially make it impossible for my body to rid itself of those last few pounds.
Want to hear the great news? I've lost those stubborn lbs.- FINALLY! Wondering how? Well, as someone who enjoys food, loves cooking and fancies a nice glass of wine, it was not by restricting myself. I can't realistically survive cutting things entirely out of my life. I'd go crazy if I did. Instead, I've been limiting fats by picking and choosing when it's worth it to me to enjoy that avocado. Certainly not with a salad with dressing. Or with a handful of nuts. Balance and selectiveness have played a huge role in my success.
But even more helpful, have been these excellent food swaps. I never leave feel deprived or left out flavor-wise. If you are in the same boat that I've been in, try one of these simple food swaps. Remember those books Eat This, Not That? It's the same premise.
Experiment with yourself. Weigh yourself on a Monday and check in the following one. Swap one thing (that way you can pinpoint your trigger.) Just one simple switch could unlock the mystery of your plateau. Or kickstart your weight loss journey. Try it- what have you to lose but those last few pain in the butt pounds? I'd love to hear from other women like you if this tactic of swapping has made any difference.
188 cals / 16 g. fat
OLIVE OIL ( in vinaigrette)
119 cals / 14 g. fat
117 cals/ 14 g. fat
163 cals / 14 g. fat
234 cals / 21 g. fat
148 cals / 8 g. fat
Powdered peanut butter (yes it's a thing!) One serving has only 45 calories in it. I love this stuff in my smoothies.
A tender leaf lettuce, such as butter or Boston. They have a great flavor on their own and taste great with a splash of champagne vinegar or spritz of lemon (both have less than 20 cals per serving.)
A coconut oil supplement- a surefire way to reap the benefits of coconut oil but in a more controlled way (about 36 cals.)
Don't eat these solo- add them sparingly to other dishes to enjoy their flavor and texture without as many calories.
How I wish there was a way to enjoy avocados without all the fat and calories. I don't think there's a substitute. So enjoy sparingly- don't eat all the guac (it's so addicting, I know!)
Milk with that cereal? Grabbing a latte? Save yourself 60-120 calories by swapping out whole milk for skim or even lower calorie almond milk.
*Above nutrition facts all based on one serving.
What do you think- would it be hard to swap these things? Have you ever tried any of them? And have you ever felt frustrated with the status of your weight loss? How did you finally shed those last five to ten pounds? Any ideas or secrets? Let's hear them, share them and help one another. Because I think the struggle with weight loss is something many of us can relate to because we've been there. Or we are there now. Girl power, y'all!
*I should mention that I am in no way, shape or form a nutritionist, doctor, or expert. I'm just a regular gal sharing my experiences. I'm my own guinea pig and perpetual work in progress.