I got an email today from a lady who was struggling with her weight loss and said she’d hit a plateau. She was my inspiration for this post (thanks, Ashley!). I was overweight my entire life. I had never been smaller than a size 14 (and I went right back up when I got pregnant). I always ate fast food. I probably ate at McDonald’s at least 6 times per week. I ate hot wings and cheese fries with a large coke every Friday for lunch. I felt like “diets” just didn’t work. Being vegan is a lifestyle for me now – not a diet. But it didn’t start that way! I decided to try it for 30 days, and I fully expected to go back, but I haven’t. And now, I don’t want to. Obviously, I think begin vegan is the absolute healthiest choice, but if you feel you can’t make that commitment, you can still benefit from these tips. If you’ve reached a plateau in your weight loss struggle, I believe that it’s probably diet related. I lost all of my weight from changes in my diet. I have a pitiful excuse for a workout schedule. I try, but it’s not my first love – even though I want it to be. I started blogging to reach people who went through what I went through – someone who has been overweight for their entire life. Stay positive – you can do this! Finally, I went from 270 to 141 without counting calories, weighing food, keeping a journal, etc. I feel like those things made me feel defeated. I just ate the food that I knew to be “clean” – more on that later. Here are some things to try to help you get past that plateau: •Check your cabinets, and check your labels. Get rid of anything that has stuff in it that you can’t pronounce or can’t grow in a garden. A lot of the stuff in processed food contains preservatives to maintain shelf life – this is not good for your body. Anything that goes in your body that your body doesn’t recognize gets turned to fat. Definitely stay away from high fructose corn syrup. The most important part about this is to know exactly what you’re putting in your body. I’d personally recommend giving up the fish and eggs, but if you must have them – find out where they come from, what they eat. You definitely want to know what’s going in your body. It’s no different from putting premium gas in your car. Why should your body be different? To me, this is eating “clean”. •Pasta and wheat products: Jimi has an intolerance to gluten; so as a family, we cut out wheat. I was amazed at the weight loss I saw as a result. Wheat is processed a lot more slowly in your body than fruits and veggies – so limiting the weight makes your body function more normally. Pasta is very similar. It doesn’t have many nutrients that your body needs AND it makes you feel hungry soon after you eat it. BTW – that’s your body’s way of saying: “hey, I didn’t get anything out of that food we just ate”. •Snacking: A girl’s gotta snack sometimes – am I right? Snack on fruit and veggies – nothing in a package. •Try the food journal – I groan as I say this, because there’s no way I’m going to do this, because it would not work for me. I would hate logging my food, but if it helps you then do it! When you keep the journal, look over the things that you ate that day. Did you fill up on pasta and breads? Or did you pack in fruits, veggies, protein, and beans? •Fiber: Fiber keeps your body cleaned out. This may gross some of you out, but poop has gotta keep coming out of the chute. My dad would now say this article stinks lol! Add more leafy greens to your diet and more beans. Make sure you add some protein in there to keep you fuller longer. •Late night meals: Try not to snack after you eat dinner. I still do this occasionally – just try not to make it a habit. •Make lunch your biggest meal – more time to burn it off. Also, this is the best time to get in those leafy greens so you have plenty of time to digest it before going to sleep. •Don’t skip breakfast – even if it’s something light or just a shake, eat to get your body going. That being said…you don’t have to eat just because it’s someone else’s definition of “mealtime”. Jimi believes in eating when you get hungry. Don’t let the clock dictate when you eat. •If nothing above this helps, look at your portion sizes. I definitely don’t measure my food, but I do try to stick to a particular sized plate or bowl to keep me in check on this. •Water! Water! Water! This is a miracle drink. It really is important. It can help clean out any impurities in your body. •Sodium Content: If you’re not seeing results, you should check your sodium intake. You could be eating a lot of sodium rich food that is making you retain a ton of water. •Dining out: Even a salad at a restaurant can be loaded with hidden calories. You typically have no idea how your food is prepared or where the ingredients came from. Just google “pink goo McDonalds” and see what you get. Those “healthy” options aren’t really all that healthy.