Q: I know that doing the same type of exercise can lead to plateaus, but is the same thing true with food? Can eating the same food every day cause a plateau?
There are varying schools of thought about whether or not eating the same thing can lead to weight loss plateaus. From what I see in my practice and what is widely recognized as fact is that our bodies are designed to adjust to what we are doing. I see people get great results and just simply hit a plateau even when they are mixing up their exercise. By switching their food around, we are always able to push through a plateau to re-invigorate their weight loss. Here are a few changes you can make with food to push through a weight loss plateau:
- Switch Carb Timing: Changing the timing of your meals can help with a weight loss plateau. Try taking your carb serving out of dinner and adding it to breakfast or lunch. Having your carbs earlier in the day maximizes the body’s natural insulin sensitivity early in the morning.
- Switch Calorie Timing: Take 200 calories out of dinner and add it to breakfast or lunch. This allows your body to burn more of the calories during the day when it is moving instead of sleeping.
- Temporarily Boost Calories: Add 100-200 calories for 2 days, then drop back to where you were eating before for weight loss. Weight loss plateaus can happen because you are eating too few calories. When you add calories for a few days, your body can get the message that it is not starving and actually drop weight as a result. Be aware though that you may appear to gain for a day or so after this, but you should be lower 4-5 days afterwards. The small apparent weight gain is typically temporary and often caused by water retention.
- Add New Foods: Try one new food or recipe every week. This keeps healthy eating interesting and can keep you from hitting plateaus as often.
- Avoid Going Too Low: What you want to be careful of is drastically dropping calories to push through a plateau. Calorie control is important in weight loss, but equally important are the components of foods (fat, carbs, sugar, meal timing, food combinations).
While you are developing these habits, make sure that you are trying new things, experimenting with new recipes, and always searching for new ideas. So, switch it up to keep your metabolism going and your mind interested. Heart in Motion has a ton of quick, really amazing recipes. Try one or two new ones every week to increase your rotation of things you like.