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The Lake News Online
  • Nutrition tip of the week: Why can’t I lose the weight?

  • You follow a weight loss program, exercise most days, choose healthy snacks but still aren’t losing weight. Sometimes, we think we are doing everything just right but the scale will not budge! Why? Making small mistakes with diet or exercise can lead to a weight loss plateau. Check out these common barriers to weight loss.
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  • You follow a weight loss program, exercise most days, choose healthy snacks but still aren’t losing weight. Sometimes, we think we are doing everything just right but the scale will not budge! Why? Making small mistakes with diet or exercise can lead to a weight loss plateau. Check out these common barriers to weight loss.
    You count calories — but maybe you aren’t counting the right amount. Only about 10 percent of Americans know how to correctly estimate their ideal calorie requirements. Most overestimate. Overestimating by even just 100-200 calories a day can prevent weight loss or lead to weight gain. Accurately estimating calories involves not just your height and weight, but needs to take into account your age, activity level and even some medical conditions. Check out this calorie calculator from Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.org/calorie-calculator/​ITT-20084939. Remember to subtract 500 to 1,000 calories from this number to lose weight. 
    You are active all day running errands or chasing after kids, you’re exhausted, and it feels like you’ve burned off a lot of calories. Although it’s beneficial to be active, this type of activity only burns a small amount of calories. You still need regular exercise of at least 30 minutes daily to promote weight loss.
    You honestly eat healthy. Remember that healthy foods still have calories. Nuts, for example, are healthy, but just a quarter cup (scant palmful) can pack 200 calories. Avocados are an excellent source of heart healthy fats, but one avocado will set you back around 300 calories. Be mindful of portions, even if the food is good for you.
    You always choose a salad or the healthiest sounding entrée when eating out. You might not be making the best choice. Some salads can have more calories than the sandwich you really wanted. Wraps sound healthy, but don’t always have fewer calories than bread. A smoothie can have more calories than a milkshake. Check the restaurant’s nutrition facts, if available, to be sure you are making good choices.
    You buy sugar-free and fat-free products. These may not have fewer calories than the original products —check the nutrition labels to compare. Also, we tend to eat more of the foods we think are lower calorie or healthier so you may be better off eating just a little bit of the real thing.
    You exercise regularly, but maybe not the right way. Our body gets used to doing the same exercise routine day in and day out. You need to switch things up. If you just do cardio, then it may be time to add some strength training.
    You’re consuming calories you don’t even think about. Mindlessly munching while involved in another activity, such as driving, working or watching TV, may be adding more calories than you realize. Another trap is the nibbles, bites and tastes of food while we are cooking, the little slice of cake at the office, or the lick from your kid’s ice cream cone.
    Page 2 of 3 - You aren’t eating enough. Sometimes when you cut calories too low, the body responds by slowing down your metabolism and burning calories slower. The general rule is to allow for no less than 1,200 calories a day to make sure you are getting adequate calories to keep your metabolism working at full potential.
    You skip breakfast in an effort to cut calories. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating the rest of the day. Breakfast actually jump starts our metabolism and helps get the body going in the mornings. If you have to skip a meal, breakfast is the worst one to skip.
    You are drinking your calories. Sometimes we don’t think about liquid calories. But if you put a little cream and sugar in your morning coffee, drink sweet tea for lunch and sip a cocktail or two in the evening, you can easily bust your diet. Liquid calories don’t curb hunger, and we typically don’t eat any less after sipping on a high-calorie drink.
    You aren’t drinking enough. Water, that is. Too little water consumption can cause mild dehydration, which slows your metabolism. How much should you drink? There is no easy or tried-and-true answer to this question. We get 20 percent to 25 percent of the fluid we need from the food we eat. Drink water when you are thirsty, and drink enough to keep your urine clear to pale yellow. Research suggests that adults who drink eight or more glasses of water a day burn more calories than those who drink less. Adding a glass of water before a meal can help you eat less.
    You’ve set an unrealistic goal or haven’t given your new diet and exercise plan enough time. Losing weight is a hard, slow process. Instead of telling yourself you have to lose 20 pounds in the next couple weeks, start with a smaller goal so you don’t get discouraged or set yourself up for failure. Safe weight loss is a rate of about 1-2 pounds a week.
    You’re not getting enough sleep. Stress in and of itself compounded by not enough sleep results in an elevation of the stress hormone, cortisol. Chronically high levels of cortisol can make losing fat very difficult and even cause weight gain. Aim for 7 hours to 8 hours of quality sleep each night.
    You eat back the calories you burn. Do you use the excuse that you exercised to overeat or indulge in high-calorie food? Do you tell yourself that you will work out extra hard tomorrow to burn off the extra calories? Just as we tend to underestimate calories, we overestimate how many calories we burn with exercise. A full hour of intense exercise may only burn 400-500 calories, while it just takes minutes to eat that many.
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    Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D., is a dietitian in the cardiac rehab department at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Mo.

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