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10 Ways to Move Beyond a Weight Loss Plateau

Experts share tips on how to get your weight loss program back on track.

4. Beware of 'Calorie Creep'

A key reason for a weight loss plateau is eating more than you think. It's easy for portion sizes to creep up, and before you know it, you end up eating more than your plan prescribes. That's why it's important to weigh and measure your food to understand proper portions. Try cutting your daily calorie intake by 100 or 200 to move beyond the weight loss plateau. Here's how:  

  • Eat a high-fiber breakfast that will help reduce the quantity of food eaten at lunch.
  • Use mustard or low-fat mayonnaise on your sandwich instead of regular mayonnaise.
  • Have a piece of fresh fruit instead of cookies or chips.
  • Drink diet soda instead of regular soda.
  • Choose sherbet or sorbet over super-premium ice cream.
  • Use 2 tablespoons of light whipped butter or margarine instead of regular.
  • Top your favorite pasta with a red sauce instead of a cream sauce.
  • Eat a snack-sized chocolate bar instead of a whole candy bar. And choose heart-healthy dark chocolate.
  • Order your pizza with veggies instead of high-fat meat toppings.
  • Order your sandwich on whole-grain bread instead of a croissant or bagel.
  • Try an open-faced sandwich with only one slice of bread.

5. Watch Restaurant Overeating

At restaurants, rich foods and supersized portions can sway even the most determined dieter. Especially if you eat out often, look at restaurant eating as a chance to practice good portion control.

According to Tallmadge, there isn't a law that says you must order an entree every time you eat out. "Pay attention to your appetite, and order a dinner salad or appetizer instead of a main dish," Tallmadge says, "or take half home in a doggie bag."

6. Eat Low-Fat Protein to Manage Hunger Pangs

New findings show that a high protein diet can help squelch hunger. Protein foods work by suppressing ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite (yes, it triggers hunger!). In a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that foods high in fat actually raised levels of ghrelin and increased hunger. Carbohydrates soon made people even hungrier than they were before they had eaten. But it was the protein foods that lowered levels of ghrelin substantially, helping to keep hunger pangs in check.

Researchers concluded that the findings suggest possible mechanisms contributing to the effects of high-protein/low-carb diets to promote weight loss, and high-fat diets to promote weight gain.

7. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fill up on produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan.

The U.S. government's dietary guidelines suggest that we get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Make sure you stock your kitchen with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and add a few servings at each meal. In doing so, you'll boost your intake of healthful vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber. In addition, if you fill up on low-calorie, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, you'll be less likely to binge on highly processed snacks.

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