How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau
One of the most common questions asked to us is:
"I've successfully lost X of the Y pounds I want to lose, but now
I am stuck at the same weight even though I'm sticking to my diet. How
can I start losing again?"
Here's the answer... You've reached a plateau (which is normal), and
--- it's time to shake things up! ---
Plateaus are a fact of weight-loss life, so don't get down on
yourself. In fact, now is exactly the time to pat yourself on the back:
Look at how far you've come and be proud of it! Then you can determine
if this is really a plateau -- or if you have simply reached your ideal
I know as well as you do how attempts at weight loss can drive us
crazy. According to the numbers, we can seem to be doing everything
right, and yet nothing seems to happen.
The first step is to stop focusing on the scale. Often a change in
the scale just reflects the pounds of body fluid you lose and gain every
day rather than how much fat you've lost or gained.
Also, you can lose inches of fat without losing weight when you gain
muscles, because muscles weigh more than fat (but look a heck of a lot
better). So if you can't rely on the scale to tell you how you're
doing week to week, what can you count on? Use a measuring tape as your
another tool to measure your success.
The science of weight loss is not a mystery; you must decrease the
energy in (calories) and increase the energy out. One of the best ways
to increase our energy out is to increase our activity level. That
In any weight-loss program, exercises is a crucial part of the
formula. If you've stopped losing weight, it's time to start
exercising more or increase your workout intensity. Here are several
ways you can alter your training routine to push you past the plateau.
If you've been walking, try cycling or swimming. Increase the
intensity of your cardiovascular or aerobic exercise by adding short
bursts of higher-intensity movement, such as sprinting. These intervals
should last 30 to 60 seconds and be followed by less intense exercise
for two or three times the length of the burst. Start by adding one or
two of these intervals to your routine, then increase the number as you
improve your conditioning. Work out with a friend or a personal trainer.
This may motivate you to pick up your pace.
Intensify your workouts
Adding a few extra minutes to your routine, occasionally picking up
the pace or tackling a hill or two can help you burn extra calories.
Your 20 to 30 minutes of daily walking is good, but adding more time or
trying new activities, such as bike riding or swimming, will help boost
Add some muscle
Try some strength-building types of exercise, such as weight training
or calisthenics. You'll build more muscle, which burns more calories
than fat, *even when you're sleeping.*
Watch Your Food Intake
A strict exercise regimen is crucial in a weight-loss program, but
the fat won't come off if you're hitting the potato chip aisle on a
regular basis. Here are simple dietary changes you can make to help you
lose the fat.
Drink a glass before you treat yourself to a second helping or an
unnecessary snack. This helps you feel fuller. Eat foods that are high
in fiber - they, too, help fill you up (the body doesn't digest fiber).
Add some weight-loss supplements
Natural weight-loss products contain herbs to boost your metabolism,
burn fat and help you curb your cravings for carbohydrates. If you're
not using any weight-loss program, a plateau is a good time to start.
Check your eating habits
Sometimes when the pounds start coming off, we're not as diligent as
we were at the beginning. Portions start to creep up in size, and more
sweets find their way into our diets. A food log is a good way to keep
track of what you're putting in your mouth.
As you ease off that weight plateau, maintain your persistence. Your
weight loss probably will be about a pound a week, and you may land on
another plateau. Make adjustments as needed with your activity level.
In the end, you should view hitting a plateau as a good thing. Why?
It means your body has less fat to lose, which explains why the weight
isn't coming off as readily. And remember: It's best to lose weight
slowly and sensibly so you can make changes that you'll keep for life.
There are many reasons for plateaus and therefore many solutions. If
you address the above issues, you'll achieve the weight-loss results you
desire. And enjoy your improving fitness level and better health.
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This information is in no way intended to be a
substitute for professional advice. Consult your physician before starting
a new regimen, fitness plan or diet.