The 12 Best Foods to Eat When You Hit a Weight-Loss Plateau
As a dietitian, I’ve given the weight-loss plateau pep talk countless times because it’s so common. A majority of my clients start losing one to two pounds per week, and then—bam—the scale just stops. The annoying and somewhat good news is that it’s totally natural.
Here’s how it works: Any time you drastically change your routine in a way that results in a calorie deficit, you’ll start to lose weight. But as your body sheds kilos (and gets used to its new routine), you need fewer calories to function.
The end result: You have to eat even less (or burn even more) if you want to continue to downsizing. Aside from tweaking the other factors affecting your weight, like sleep, stress, and exercise, there are also weight loss-promoting foods you can load up on to help break through that dreaded stage. Here, the fridge staples you need if you’re trying to push through your own plateau.
Dates And Cherries
It’s human nature to want something just because we can’t have it. Complete deprivation triggers an increase in corticotropin-releasing hormone, a stress-related hormone that can crush your motivation to eat healthy. Our brains read that deprivation as stress, and your body craves junk to satisfy it. That doesn’t mean you should add a chocolate chip cookie to your lunch every day, though.
Instead, try to indulge in a healthy snack, like dates stuffed with almond butter or cherries sprinkled with cocoa, before your cravings get out of control. That should keep you from eating an entire package of cookies when you really meant to just eat one. Plus, research shows that adding a variety of weight-loss-friendly foods to your diet helps reduce cravings. So try experimenting with new healthy desserts.
Eggs, Almonds, Chicken and Yoghurt
Research shows that high-protein diets may keep you from losing lean muscle mass (which help keeps your metabolism up) during short-term weight loss. One review of studies also found that athletes who restricted their calories to hit a certain weight for their sport and increased their protein intake by at least 2.5 grams per day had the lowest levels of body fat.
Translation: If you’re working out regularly, you might need a protein boost to keep your muscles healthy and spark more fat loss. Try adding a hard-boiled egg to the side of your cup of oatmeal in the morning, 15 almonds to your a.m. snack, or an extra scoop of chicken to your salad at lunch. You can also swap a nutrient-empty dessert for protein-filled Greek yogurt as a post-dinner treat.
Rasberries, Apples, Broccoli And Artichokes
Most of us know by now that fibre is the key to feeling full. This nutrient takes longer to break down, so it keeps you satisfied while helping your digestive system work properly—which is a recipe for long-term weight loss.
However, you probably didn’t know that fibre also increases insulin sensitivity, which can keep your body from storing the occasional sugary treat as fat. Add fibre-rich fruits like raspberries, apples, or pears to your breakfast. Then, throw some vegetables like artichokes and broccoli, which pack a ton of the nutrient, into your dinner.
If you’ve been staring at the same digits on the scale for a while now, consider making grapefruit your go-to pre-dinner appetiser. Eating a snack high in water content and low in calories, like grapefruit, has been shown to reduce the number of calories you consume in your next meal.
One study showed that by eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice, participants ate 25 percent less and lost seven percent of their overall body weight. Try making it a habit to have half of a sectioned grapefruit before every dinner. Bonus: By sprinkling a little cinnamon on the tart fruit, you’ll take the face-puckering edge off and get the blood sugar-stabilising benefits of the spice.
Capsaicin, the component of chilli peppers that gives them their heat, has been shown to turn unhealthy white fat into brown fat. That brown fat, or brown adipose tissue, is better than white fat because your body uses it as energy a source of energy instead of as just a place to store extra chub.
Having more brown fat can also improve your insulin sensitivity, which keeps you from storing more fat and gives you more energy to help you through those extra tough workouts. Sprinkle a little chilli powder on your eggs in the morning, top off a devilled egg with a dash of it, add it to a stir fry, or even mix a little in some lemon water for a spicy kick.
Originally published on menshealth.com