Stuck on a weight loss plateau: a blog post by Andrea Nicholson, Functional Nutritionist

There’s nothing worse than working your tail off working out and eating clean and not getting the results you’re looking for.  

It happens all the time.  You’re not alone.  I’ve been there too – and so have a lot of my clients.  

I found one surprising habit that was truly interfering with my goals and I didn’t even know it…in fact, I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing!  I worked hard for this habit – but it was actually hurting me.  

I’m talking about habitual eating.  The kind of eating routine that means you eat because it’s time to eat.  You eat the same foods, in the same portions and at the same times every day.  This doesn’t serve you.  
Yes, it’s convenient.  It’s easy.  But it’s so limited and restricted. 

I’ve been there – for years I ate one of 2 breakfasts, one of 2 snacks, and one of about 4 lunches.  My dinners were a bit more varietal, but not by much.  I could tell you what time of day it was just by how hungry I was! Only, it was not real hunger.  It was simply a habit of hunger.  

Here are 3 reasons why this one habit may be preventing your weight loss or even causing you to gain weight! 

1. Your body will adapt over time.

Just like we’ve known for years with workouts, the same is true for food.  If you eat the same foods all the time, eventually your body will adapt and expect those exact nutrients, in those portions and at that time.  This kills your metabolism.  We need variety to keep our bodies guessing.  Try mixing up your menu a bit – toss in some new ingredients, mix up the macronutrient content.  

2. You’re taking in limited nutrients.

When you consume the same foods all the time, you are limiting your nutrient intake to just those few foods.  You could be missing out on a whole host of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fibers, proteins, amino acids, and other components that you need to build healthy tissues, break down foods, and fight off diseases.  By broadening your food selections, you can improve your gut health, the diversity in your gut microbes, your immune system, your nutrient absorption, and even toxin removal. 

3. You have different needs on different days. 

Think about this one for just a second…does it make sense to eat the exact same foods on a sedentary day and on a crazy, stressed on-the-go-all-day kind of day?  No!  We have different needs based on our activity level, our hydration level, the time of the month, how much sleep we’ve gotten, how hot it is outside, how well we are feeling (colds and illnesses can change our needs) and so much more.  You may actually be over-eating on days when you don’t really need those calories.  And, you may be under-eating on days when you truly do need specific calories.  It just not as simple as averaging it out over several days.  
So, what are you left to do?  Truly learn how to listen to your body.  It’s a process.  It takes time.  You have to re-train your body to listen to those signals and consume the right nutrients, in the right portions, at the right times.  This is a critical piece of what I teach in my courses and coaching.  And, it’s not one I hear many others talking about.  There is no one size fits all approach.  What works best for my body, won’t necessarily work for yours.  However, I would bet that no one benefits from habitual eating.  


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