It happens to every person who is working to lose weight. You are traveling along at a nice speed, the pounds just seem to be melting away and the suddenly….BOOM…nothing. The scale doesn’t budge for weeks-you’ve hit a wall. What you are experiencing is the dreaded weight-loss plateau. Almost everyone trying to reshape their body in any way has experienced it. Be of good cheer, with a body check and routine review, you will discover how to bust that through that plateau and will be gaining ground and losing pounds in no time!
Stop and Check:
1. Calorie crunch time. There could be two possible things going on. You may not be eating enough. When you begin eating healthier and exercising on a regular basis, your body becomes more efficient at burning calories. Add another 100-200 calories to your daily total, making sure they are coming from whole nutritious food – not junk. OR – You may be consuming calories you aren’t aware of. Check you habits to make sure you aren’t nibbling from you children’s plate, sampling your co-workers candy stash, or drinking your calories. These small things can add up to many extra calories quickly.
2. Increase your protein. Eating a higher ration of protein to carbs can make losing body fat easier. Protein boosts the metabolism and increases that “full” feeling, making it more likely that you won’t overeat.
3. Add some weight. If you haven’t been doing any resistance training, now is the time to start. Resistance training helps build muscle and muscle burns more calories than fat. If you have already been lifting weights, take it up a notch. Try a sculpting class (circuits with weights), or design your own weight training circuit routine (click here for a sample). Keep in mind, muscle volume weighs more than fat volume, so you may not see numbers on scale drop right away, but if your pants are getting looser then you are on the right track.
4. Are you the cardio queen/king? If you have been on the elliptical so much they put your name on it, then it’s time to try something new. Try adding in some HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your cardio routine twice a week. A typical HIIT session includes a warm up period of 3-5 minutes, followed by 6-10 rounds of 30-60 seconds going at full speed, followed by a 30-90 second recovery round; cool down for another 3-5 min.
5. Are you overtraining? Have you been working out 6 days a week for months? Then you need to take a break. Your body recovers and builds muscle while you rest and sleep. Take a week off, preparing a different routine to try when you go back to the gym.
6. Is life getting your down? Stress and lack of sleep can also interfere with weight loss. Sleep is related to the hormone cortisol, which can be a great friend when you are in a “fight or flight” situation; however it is your worst enemy when you’re trying to lose belly fat. Lack of sleep turns this stress hormone on and into over drive, which signals your body to store fat. Try meditation or yoga to help reduce stress.
Take inventory and see if any of these situations apply to you. Give one or all of the tips a try and I’m sure you will back to losing pounds again in not time!