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If only we could solve this question, the world (for many) would be a better place! Well, the reality is that there are real answers to this question that will apply to many people. It will take a good dose of reality and a brave heart to stop denying what really happens. Read on to discover some answers that may change your life forever and give you the impetus to lose weight and keep it off!

Being overweight can be used as an excuse for being unhappy, especially when you do not do anything to help yourself. Subconsciously, over-eating is a comfort for many people and this then allows them to hide behind their weight problem and helps them to justify rejection and avoid being hurt. They can then shift the blame of rejection on their weight-problem, without addressing other aspects of their fears. Sometimes it seems easier to hide behind your "weight problem", than address other matters where you may have a greater fear of failure.

Eating Without Thinking?
If you are concentrating on another activity while you are eating you are more likely to overeat because you are not fully aware of how full you are feeling. This factor can be difficult to change because it is not a conscious action. Try to only eat when you don't have a lot of other distractions. Sit down, eat slowly and enjoy the food you are eating, and remember that it is not always necessary to go back for seconds. It takes 20 minutes for food to reach your stomach and for your brain to register that you are full.

The famous "Pavlov's dogs" were conditioned to eat at the sound of a bell, and we human are much the same when it comes to habitual cravings. If you wonder why you always feel like a chocolate when you sit down to watch a movie, or you have to have a box of popcorn?.think again. You are not necessarily craving these foods because you are hungry, but rather consider force of habit. During the time when you have a craving, try to ask yourself whether you are really hungry or not. If you are hungry, reach for a low fat snack rather than a chocolate bar or bag of crisps.

Eating or thinking about food can be a distraction from your troubles and you may therefore be unnecessarily over-eating. Emotions and hormones can trigger certain cravings, for example, if you are feeling low, chocolate and carbohydrates assist the production of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin helps you feel happier. This is why we might crave sweet or starchy foods during times of sadness or stress.

(Excerpts from an article by Raphael Calzadilla, BA, CPT, ACE, RTS1 eDiets Chief Fitness Pro; Friday, May, 09, 2008

It's not possible to lose fat at a steady pace if you're constantly going on and off your eating/workout plan. I'm not suggesting perfection, but there must be a level of consistency. This is also very frustrating for the individual trying to shed fat. Although they want to succeed, they struggle with self-discipline. The end result is guilt and shame -- two bad boys on the emotion list.

There's an even more frustrating situation than this, however. What about the person who's been on a specific diet and workout plan for a period of time, but nothing is happening? They've been consistent with their food intake and meticulous about the quality of foods; they space their meals properly, work out consistently, and have a great mind frame, etc., but they're experiencing zip, nada, zero! What then?

A perfect example of this situation is an eDiets member by the name of Cathy. Cathy has struggled with not only fat loss plateaus, but she's also gained weight in spurts -- yet she thought she was doing everything correctly. After suggesting a change to her eating program, she began to experience rapid fat loss from week to week. In fact, after just a few short weeks, she's at the lowest weight she's been in ages.

It's OK to change your way of eating if it's not working and you've tried everything else. There's a lot of emphasis on making something like a lifestyle change and sticking with it and so on (and rightfully so, obviously), but once you really GET that, and it sinks in and you're DOING it, it's really a scary prospect to change to something new. It almost feels like giving up or giving in, particularly after something has worked well for you in the past. How long do you give it? How long do you wait it out? When is it time? What if the new way of eating I choose doesn't work for me, and I gain weight back? Very scary.

Breathe a sigh of relief because I'm here to tell you that there is a solution. Most people are so deathly afraid of change that they'll continue to stick with what's not working in hope that the scale or body fat measurement will magically drop one morning. Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Sound familiar? Here is an 8-point plan for breaking through the dreaded fat loss plateau:

    1.. First, make a plan for food intake -- otherwise known as your diet. Try to determine the amount of calories you take in each day, as well as the ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fats. This is vital because you need to know what you're consuming in order to manipulate your program and not make a best-guess determination. (The "Complete Book of Food Counts" will help immensely here.)

    2. Make a workout plan It should include weight training, cardiovascular exercise and flexibility. The number of workouts need not exceed 5 days of cardio (no more than an hour) and 3 to 4 days of weight training, unless you're a competitive athlete.

    3. Know and record your scale weight and measurements. Contrary to popular belief, there's nothing wrong with weighing yourself once a week. Even if you get a body composition test (also called body fat test), you'll still have to step on a scale.

    4. Remain on the program for 3 weeks Don't make any changes at all. If you start reducing food or increasing activity before the 3-week point, you might sabotage your efforts. It's important to have a clear starting point. Some people stay on a specific program for months and never make a change -- that's insanity. After 3 weeks, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn't have some degree of fat loss. If you're losing up to 1 to 2 pounds a week, you're on the right track. Even a bit less is fine. If you haven't lost weight, it's time to make a change.

    5. At this point do not add more activity and manipulating calories. Do one or the other -- not both. It's vital to have an understanding of what's working. The change in parameters needs to be tightly controlled. Reduce calories by 150 (assuming it does not fall below 1,200 calories). Here comes the tricky part. In some cases, you might not be eating enough, so calories would need to actually increase. You can't workout 6 days a week for 90 minutes and take in 1,200 calories a day. You most likely won't lose fat -- the body will rebel.

    . 6. In two weeks, if you haven't lost weight, I would then increase activity, but do not decrease or increase food intake. Again, tight control -- you want to know the formula that works for you.

    7. Allow 10 days to pass. Most people are losing fat now and have the formula for their personal success. It may sound like a hassle, but it's actually not that many weeks when you consider your entire lifetime.

    8. Let's assume you're still stuck at a plateau but you're consistently eating 5 to 6 small meals/snacks a day and also maintaining consistent workouts. Now it may be time to shift the ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It's possible that the food plan you're using isn't working efficiently with your biochemistry

As you can see, it all takes some degree of experimentation when you hit a brick wall and it may take 6 to 8 weeks to break the plateau (for some), but there is a solution. Yes, it takes some work and effort. However, once you have the formula, you're home free.

Copyright 2009 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved