You’d think that after all these years of coaching clients to weight loss success, that there would be some new pitfalls under the sun.
There really aren’t.
In fact, I find myself, more often than not, trying to tease out the little details from someone’s diet to get down to the bottom of why the scale isn’t going the right direction.
I do have to add that often the biggest hurdle is our own mentality and mindset around how we diet. I spoke at great lengths about that in this article awhile back.
However, once we’ve wrapped our minds around what has to be done, it’s about finding those sneaky little places that slip us up along the way.
For instance, let’s start with condiments. If you’re making a sandwich/sub, what do you dress it up with?
Mustard (10 calories per TBSP)
Ketchup (20 calories per TBSP)
Mayonnaise (95 calories per TBSP)
Dressing (60-100 calories per TBSP)
Olive Oil (120 calories per TBSP) and Vinegar (3 calories per TBSP)
Just to keep things on the up-and-up, try using a TBSP to measure your condiments before putting them on a sandwich. Then determine if that’s all you need (or if you’ve been using more than that in the past).
While I’m thinking about olive oil, what about the other oils you use to cook your food with like coconut oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, etc?
Then I think about the snacks that many of my clients resort to when they’re in between meals:
Trail Mix (350 calories per 1/2 cup)
Almonds (150 calories per 20 almonds)
Peanuts (200 calories per 1/4 cup)
String Cheese (160 calories per two sticks)
Pretzels (200 calories per 60g)
Tortilla Chips (300 calories per 1 cup)
And what about the things we use to dip chips or even veggies?
Hummus (200 calories per 1/2 cup)
Guacamole (200 calories per 1/2 cup)
French Onion Dip (320 calories per 1/4 cup)
Ranch Dressing (350 calories per 1/4 cup)
And yes, I’ve been just as guilty as you have of piling that dip on whatever piece of food is in my hand.
Then, I have to think about all of my fellow parents who nibble and bite at food that their children didn’t finish: a chicken nugget, some dry cereal, popcorn, goldfish crackers, or a couple of spoonfuls of mac-and-cheese…
I certainly can’t forget all of my fellow coffee drinkers who think that their low-fat (or high fat) creamer doesn’t need to be measured (It does. Seriously).
When was the last time you measured out the appropriate 2 TBSP of peanut butter for that sandwich? That’s 200 calories. Have you seen what 2 TBSP actually looks like? It’s damn depressing, that’s what it looks like. It looks like 2 TBSP of sadness.
Sometimes, the problem is actually bigger. Maybe you’re the person who needs to put the brakes on after the first serving of a meal (No seconds, thanks). Or, you just need to cool it on dessert for a little while.
Or maybe you’re the cook who starts with one (unmeasured) glass of wine while you’re cooking and another glass with dinner (at the minimum). That’s between 200-300 calories right there…
If none of these ring a bell, maybe you’re the person who eats really well Monday through Friday afternoon and then has a back-to-back set of “oops” on Friday night and Saturday night. What did that “cost” you? You very well may have lost the progress you made throughout the week.
I say all of this without trying to come across cynically. The thing is, this is a lot of what I see each day with my clients. If it’s happening to them, it’s probably happening to you.
Are you aware of it?
Are you wiling to change it?
Let’s shift slightly from food intake too.
Maybe the “small stuff” that you need to be aware of is the fact that you’re not sleeping well and, as a result, you can’t reign in your cravings the next day.
Or, maybe you think that you burned a lot of calories in that workout earlier so you can “reward yourself” with more food at your next meal (please try not to do this).
The important thing to remember is that the answer to your fat loss problems is probably not the new diet book/trend you’ve been hearing about. It’s the “small stuff”.
-It’s the details you think that don’t add up when they actually do.
-It’s the little nibbles and bites that you forget to log into your tracker that make the difference between eating in a deficit and eating at maintenance.
-It’s the complete inaccuracy of your fitness tracker telling you that you burned more calories in your workout than you actually burned.
-It could be the fact that you’re a lot more sedentary than you give yourself credit for and by raising your steps per day from 3000 to 6000(for instance), you’re spending time doing something that not only burns a few extra calories but is less time you might be spending eating food.
If you think the small stuff doesn’t matter and you’re not succeeding at weight loss right now, I would argue the small stuff absolutely matters. It’s about finding what small stuff is derailing you right now.
Left to right: one measured tablespoon of peanut butter (100 calories), one container of half and half (10 calories), 21 almonds (approx 170 calories) and 9 pretzels (110 calories).
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