Jenn, LOL on your scale cartoon! Thanks for the chuckle!
Joanna and anyone else interested: here are a few highlights that I am trying to put into practice from the DIET FREE FOR LIFE book by Robert Ferguson that helped me break my stalling and gaining that lasted from August of 2012 to mid January 2013. I'm not trying to sell anyone on buying the book, just sharing a few things that I believe helped me. You may find one or more of the following tips useful as "plateau busters."
I had to modify some of the guidelines because of the carb restrictions my doc and I agreed upon for managing my blood sugar without meds.
These guidelines are the ones for women. I didn't take notes on the guidelines for men:
--1200-1800 calories per day for women. The author believes it's not so much the number of calories that matter, but how the fats, proteins, and carbs are combined in meals and snacks.
--Eat breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up to jumpstart metabolism for the day
--Eat a snack or meal every two to three hours even if you go to bed at midnight. If you waken during the night and can't get back to sleep, have a protein shake to keep blood sugar stable. A protein shake is exempt from the rule about not napping or sleeping until waiting at least an hour after eating. The author points out that protein slows down the rate at which carbs are metabolized, helps body maximize fat loss, and keeps blood sugar from spiking too high.
--Always eat a meal or snack within one hour after a workout.
WATER (we all know this) at least 64 oz. plus 8 oz. for every 20 minutes of exercise.
--15g protein per meal.
--Fat max of 13.33g or 120 fat calories per meal.
--I believe he says 20-30 carbs per meal per women, but I can't do that.
-- There are meal ratios for protein, fat and carbs, but it's too detailed to list here. Author didn't mention it but I personally think anyone with medical reasons for ratios other than what's recommended should go with what you and your doc agreed upon. But the author DID say he knows not everyone can follow his guidelines perfectly and that we should just do the best we can
Example meals for ratios of combining fat, protein and carbs:
Author calls high carbs "fast carbs" and low carbs "slow carbs" indicating the difference in how quickly they are metabolized:
1:1 ratio is 1 portion protein and portion fast/ high carb
Example: scrambled eggs and toast OR steak and baked potato.
Why: Because fast/high carbs are metabolized quickly, you can eat only one portion when you're not also eating a slow carb to slow it down. If you want a hamburger with fries, you choose to eat either the bun/bread OR the fries, not both.
1:3 ratio is 1 portion protein and 3 portions slow/low carbs
Example: BIG salad with chicken on top OR meat and 3 veggies OR meat 3 veggie stir-fry
Why: Because slow carbs are metabolized more slowly, you can eat two portions for every one portion of fast carbs
1:1:1 ratio is 1 portion protein, 1 portion fast carbs, 1 portion slow carbs
Example: turkey, baked potato and veggie OR turkey, veggie and wine, OR spaghetti and meatballs and side salad OR "Fusions" of protein and fast carbs and slow carbs such as lasagna, stew, and chili. Tomato sauce in fusions is considered a condiment if under 1/2 cup. Why: Because eating fast and slow carbs together slows down the rate at which you metabolize the fast carb, you get one of each with your protein.
--100-200 Calories but closer to 100 if you want to step up progress.
--Pre-exercise snack, 30-40 minutes before workout, should more carbs than protein but aim for 5-10g protein.
--Wait at least an hour, but no more than three hours, after last snack before going to bed--last snack should be mostly protein.
CHEESE: Whether cheese is categorized as a protein, fat, or carb depends on which has the most grams.
-- If has more protein than fat, a serving is limited to one ounce.
-- If more fat grams than protein grams, a serving is just half an ounce.