Weight-loss Plateau: Part 2

Have a plan ready when you hit a weight-loss plateau!

Part 2: Reassess my dietary approach–reduce calorically dense foods!

After reaffirming my commitment to lifestyle modification, the first thing I always do when I hit a weight loss plateau is to recall that the weight-loss equation is a matter of limiting calories-in and maximizing calories-out. Different diets have different macronutrient parameters. The DASH diet has very liberal macronutrient parameters meaning that there are more calories from fat and processed foods allowed. If you are unhappy with the results your chosen diet plan is producing, it may be time to double down and select a more effective diet plan closer to the plant-based whole foods diet on the healthy diet spectrum! Please don’t allow a plateau to discourage you, turn the tables and make it an opportunity to make a more significant commitment. The DASH diet is a great place to start, but if you are stalled, you may be ready for a dietary upgrade!

To control the calories you eat more closely, pay closer attention to caloric density. “Caloric density” refers to the number of calories that are in a given weight of food. A food high in caloric density has a large number of calories in a measured weight of food, and a food low in caloric density has fewer calories in the same measured weight of food.

Caloric Density Scale:

  • Vegetables: 60-195 calories per pound
  • Fruit: 140-420 calories per pound
  • Potatoes, pasta, rice, corn, hot cereals: 320-630 calories per pound
  • Beans, peas, lentils: 310-780 calories per pound
  • Breads, bagels, muffins, dried fruit: 920-1,3360 calories per pound
  • Sugars; granulated sugar, honey, corn syrup, agave, maple syrup: 1,200 -1,800 calories per pound
  • Dry cereals, chips crackers: 1,480-3,200 calories per pound
  • Nuts and seeds: 2,400-3,200 calories per pound
  • Oil: 4,000 calories per pound

Think of your stomach as a box that you fill with things. If that box can hold 3 pounds of food and you fill it with sugar, nuts, seeds and oil, it can have 9,000 calories in it. If you fill that same box with fruit, vegetables and potatoes, it will weight more like 900 calories.

If you hit a plateau, it may be that one or more of the things slipping through the cracks have more caloric density than you think they do!

Next week we will look at the second part of the weight-loss equation, maximizing calories out. See you all then!