Getting past the weight loss plateau

Monday, September 09, 2013

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Dear Donovan,

I enjoy reading your articles in the Observer. I need your advice on a suitable nutrition plan for losing weight using local foods. I have looked at other plans, but most are American. I started going to the gym about two months ago and have seen some moderate results, but I want to step up the pace. I have cut out sodas from my diet and I drink more water and am trying to eat more fruits and veggies. I am five feet six inches and 183 pounds. I am trying to get rid of stubborn belly fat. Help!



Good day Phillip,

I am happy to hear that you have made some changes in your diet and exercise programme and you have got some results. But unless you continue to make changes with your programme, over time you will hit a weight loss plateau. I strongly believe that this is the case with you right now.

The success of any weight loss programme is that you have to make changes in your input and output calories over time. The ideal situation is that the input calories must be down and the output calories must be up. The input calories can be reduced by cutting back on your food intake and by making healthier food choices, while the output calories can be increased by engaging in more physical activity. In general, if the input and the output calories are the same, then you will have a weight loss plateau. In the same breath, if the input calorie is less then the output calorie, then weight loss should occur.

There is no doubt that you will have to continue to reduce calories in order to reach your desired weight. It is very important that when choosing a weight loss programme you find one that is healthy and that fits into your lifestyle. I would have been in a better position to give you a tailored programme if you had given me more details of your eating plan. However, the general principle is that you would have to reduce your calories from food and increase your exercise. This is because you will essentially want the body to be feeding on the stored fat.

I am going to suggest that you get a detox programme to reduce the size of your stomach. Based on the eating patterns outlined in your letter, I am going to suggest a general nutrition plan. You should select one of the options for each meal.

Breakfast (6:00-8:00 am)

Two to three fruits or 12 ounces of lightly sweetened porridge or eight ounces of shake or one yogurt with one fruit or steamed vegetables with carbohydrates (pumpkin, green banana, yam etc).

Mid-morning snack (9:30-10:30 am)

One fruit or 12 ounces of green juice (a selection of green vegetables blended) or 12 ounces of coconut water.

Lunch (12 noon-1:30 pm)

Protein plus raw and steamed vegetables or a half of your regular lunch or 16 ounces of light soup or two to three fruits

Mid-afternoon snack (3:30-4:30 pm)

12 ounces of unsweetened carrot juice or 12 ounces of coconut water or one fruit

Dinner (5:30-6:30 pm)

Half of your regular dinner or 16 ounces of light soup or three to four fruits or protein plus raw vegetables




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