5 Ways To Bust A Weight-Loss Plateau
As every dieter knows, the time will come when weight-loss progress grinds to a frustrating halt. It’s the infamous weight-loss plateau, and nothing seems to break it. Well take heart, because there are effective ways to regain momentum.
Here are five ways to take charge and reinvigorate a weight-loss plan.
1. Strength train.
The most often overlooked weight-loss trick is the calorie-burning power of muscle. The more muscle you have the higher your resting metabolism, because muscle uses more energy (calories) than fat does just to exist. Weight-loss causes not only fat loss, but some muscle loss as well.
Regain lost muscle with a weight-training program, lifting weights two or three times a week. Start with one set of exercises each session and work your way up to three sets.
If you are strength-training already, increase the weight or the number of reps. Alternatively, decrease the amount of time you rest between sets. These options force muscles to work harder.
One thing to keep in mind is that a given volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat. Initially, muscle gain may make that weight plateau seem even more stubborn. But if you’re losing inches then it’s working, and within a few weeks that scale should be moving again.
2. Increase your overall activity level.
Every time you take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther away from the door, you are burning extra calories.
So work up a sweat while doing chores. Turn on the radio and dance while cleaning. Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
At work, make sure to move periodically, especially if you have a desk job. Walk around while on the phone, or better yet, walk to talk a colleague’s office instead of calling.
Whatever you do, just move!
While that may seem counterintuitive, the key is to time your meals/snacks so that you are never too hungry. Setting a schedule and sticking to it helps prevent excess calorie intake.
It’s also a good idea to eat a little shortly before and shortly after exercise. Exercising on a completely empty stomach can actually make you hungrier post-exercise (because of lowered blood sugar), so you overeat. Instead, have a small snack about 30 minutes before exercise.
If possible, plan to have your next meal about 30 minutes after your exercise session. Waiting too long can also cause overeating.
4. Watch for “hidden” calories.
Remember, fruit juices and milk may be good for you, but their calories add up fast. Drink them in moderation.
Likewise, that non-dairy creamer for your coffee (especially the flavored ones) contains calories. More than a couple of servings (check the serving size) can add up to a whole snack’s worth of calories.
If you have kids, don’t eat their leftovers. Those calories also add up fast, and they’re easy to “forget” when counting calories.
There’s one other thing to remember about calories. As the weight comes off, you need less of them to maintain your new weight (and even less to lose more weight).
5. Mix it up. Always doing the same exercises or eating the same foods is boring for you and for your body. It stops responding effectively to the same routine. And boring food can result in overeating or excessive snacking.
So, have a list of exercises you enjoy and rotate them every week or two to keep it fresh.
Experiment with new herbs and spices to flavor your meals without adding calories.
In short, “trick” your body into enjoying your weight-loss journey.