Weight Plateaus and Weight Regain
A number of things could cause you to hit a plateau - meaning you stop losing weight - or for weight to creep back on. Here are some possible reasons and solutions:
Eating small amounts of food throughout the day can lead to excess calorie intake. If this becomes a habit, it can promote weight gain long-term.
Dietitian recommendation: Get back on an eating schedule. We want you to eat anywhere from four to six times a day, but it’s important not to eat more than six times a day. Stay disciplined long enough so eating just four to six times a day becomes the new habit, rather than grazing. You also can start logging your food intake just for a while to help minimize mindless eating.
Consuming too many soft foods – also called soft food syndrome
Foods with a soft consistency like puddings or smooth soups have a tendency to leave the stomach more quickly than other foods. Similar to if you were to pour these foods into a funnel. This means less satiety (doesn’t leave you feeling full) which can lead to being hungrier, sooner. Examples of other foods that seem to “slide” out of the stomach quickly include snack crackers, or chips and dip.
Dietitian recommendation: Choose denser protein sources, like meat, and add fibrous foods to meals, such as fresh fruits and veggies or whole grains.
Drinking with meals
This causes food to exit the stomach more quickly which again leaves you feeling hungrier, sooner.
Dietitian recommendation: Don’t bring a drink to the table and set an alarm to go off 30 minutes later to remind you it’s OK to start drinking again.
Inadequate protein intake and excessive intake of simple, or refined carbohydrates
When simple carbs are eaten without protein, it spikes blood sugars. A spike in blood sugar means that a drop in blood sugar will follow. When blood sugar levels drop, there can be an increased sensation of hunger.
Dietitian recommendation: Limit or avoid foods that are considered to be simple carbs. Some examples of simple carbs include desserts, candy, chips, white bread, white rice, sugary cereal and fruit juice. Eating protein with carbs slows the breakdown of carbs into sugar, minimizing blood sugar spikes and the subsequent blood sugar drops.
Consumption of calorie-dense foods
Calorie dense foods such as nuts, sausage or whole milk can increase overall calorie intake significantly over time, particularly as food intolerances resolve and gastric capacity increases.
Dietitian recommendation: Limit nuts to 2 ounces a day; limit peanut butter to 2 tablespoons a day; limit oil to less than 4 tablespoons a day, and eat only ¼ or ½ an avocado a day.
Consumption of calorie-containing liquids
Calories that come from beverages are often called "empty calories" because they don’t fill you up like the calories in food. Not only that, sugar-sweetened beverages can stimulate your appetite, causing you to consume more calories.
Dietitian recommendation: Cut out all beverages with calories or choose a lower-calorie version of it.