You may have found that weight loss came relatively easy at the beginning of the journey. The pounds were flying off and you thought, ‘this is going to be easy if I just keep doing what I’m doing.’ Getting pumped by that thought, it’s easy to stay on the path.
Then the progress flatlines. Plateau time.
For me, the decline in progress came once I got my Body Mass Index (BMI) to under 30. Getting under 30 is an indication that there’s less mass to burn off. Simply not as much fat left to burn.
Does BMI matter?
BMI does not take into account your gross amount of body fat. One person could have a BMI of 28 and be totally ripped. Another could have that same BMI and look flabby. BMI is simply mass. Not fat, not muscle–mass.
When it comes to taking weight off, the lower the number, the harder the weight loss will be, and the more you’ll have to do in order to take off those pounds.
I started off this year at 253 pounds. Being a height of 6’2”, that put me at a BMI of 32.5, which was considered “obese.” The weight came off pretty easily. I lost 11 pounds in the month of January just by keeping carbs as limited as possible. Anything was fine to eat as long as it wasn’t a carb, and as much food as I wanted.
Over the course of January, I went from a Keto outlook to a no sugars, no grains (NSNG) outlook. I allowed myself green and cruciferous vegetables as my carbs.
I lost another six pounds in February and six more in March. By then, my BMI dropped to 29.4, which made me simply “overweight.”
All of a sudden, “eat-anything-as-long-as-it-wasn’t-a-carb” wasn’t good enough. It eventually dawned on me during a plateau that I had to do something to step my game up. This wasn’t something where I could just “stay the course.” I had to adjust.
If you’re having problems losing those extra pounds, start by eliminating these foods one at a time.
• Artificial sweeteners: This is an interesting one: Keto and low-carb cookbooks everywhere feature recipes with all sorts of these sweeteners. Monk fruit, Stevia, Sucralose, Erythritol, Agave Syrup, Dextrose, among others are cited everywhere. While they are “low-carb” or “no-carb,” they can still raise insulin levels. In other words, your body still treats these sweeteners the same way as sugar.
• Fruits: Simply, fruits contain sugar. Just because they’re “nutritious” doesn’t make them a great tool for weight loss. I was advised by a weight loss coach at one point to keep a bowl of fruit in my office for an occasional snack during the workday. My hunger was never satisfied and I noticed a lethargic feeling which just got worse when I doubled down on my fruit consumption.
Fruits contain ghrelin, which makes us feel hungry again. Grehlin is known as “the hunger hormone.”
• Cheese: Try cutting out dairy, but cheese in particular, if you’re having trouble shedding the pounds. I cut out cheese for two weeks at one point and lost three pounds. In addition, I found that cheese made me feel lethargic like my legs were weighted down. A feeling I definitely didn’t like. I was particularly sensitive to the overbearing inflammation.
• Processed foods: If you’re on the Keto diet, processed foods are what some refer to as “dirty keto.” These foods contain ingredients and chemicals far removed from anything we’d find in nature.
Take a look at a bag of pepperoni, for example. For me, it’s the ultimate on-the-go food. Pepperoni contains good fat-to-protein ratio, filling, and next to zero carbs. And you can find it practically anywhere. But one ingredient in virtually every brand out there is dextrose. Dextrose is a sugar that increases blood sugar levels. Think about this if you’ve tried eliminating other foods with no success.
• Nuts: This is a tough one. Some nuts are certainly better for you than others. Peanuts are the first of this variety that you want to eliminate completely for a weight loss boost. Peanuts are a legume–therefore, a carb.
Here’s a great list by Vinnie Tortorich of which nuts are good and which nuts aren’t. Eliminate the worst ones and see how that goes.
How long should you eliminate these foods?
Start by eliminating the first culprit on the list–artificial sweeteners–and see how that goes.
It goes without saying that actual sugar should have been eliminated long before this point in your weight loss. If you haven’t eliminated sugar, do it. You won’t be sorry–at least not in the long term.
If you’re not noticing weight loss by eliminating artificial sweeteners, move on down the list and try eliminating fruits for two weeks. Cheese, processed foods, nuts, two weeks on each.
If you’re still not satisfied with your weight loss rate, look to bump up your exercise routine.
• Try more walking, perhaps a nighttime walk after dinner.
• Join a local gym if you’re not a member already.
• Increase cardio exercises.
• Bike riding is a fantastic physical activity to supplement weight loss. It was a key exercise in my first weight loss in 2008.
• Look into some light weightlifting, just to work on toning some muscles.
• If you need to track your steps and you have a Samsung phone, Samsung Health is an excellent app.
• I now have a Fitbit watch, which integrates into my Samsung phone.
What is a reasonable weight loss goal?
Determining a reasonable weight loss goal is a key question to ask yourself. You’ll need to know this.
What is reasonable?
I personally have shot for no more than 1% of your total weight per week. For a 300-pound person, that’s 3 pounds per week. For a 250-pound person, that’s five pounds every two weeks.
For someone with a BMI of 30 or under, the 1% rule is perfectly reasonable, if difficult to maintain. At that point, you’re likely most of the way to your goals and undoubtedly in way better overall health than at a higher weight.
What is considered to be a healthy weight is anything under a BMI of 25.
Don’t be too extreme. Enjoy life!
If you’re at the point where food elimination is a viable option, try to eliminate as little as possible. I wouldn’t recommend eliminating all five at one time. A healthy way of eating is rough under the best of circumstances when it comes to what you can and can’t eat, and making sure your family buys into an alternative way of eating.
Do you feel better when you eliminate something? If you notice an improvement, look to make it a permanent elimination.
Just take off one thing at a time and remember: listen to your body.