Thus, you abstained from soda and brought ice cream into the house, and the weight began to fall off. This increased your confidence, and you decided to join a gym in order to burn some additional calories on the stationary bike. All of your efforts paid off, and you lost weight, possibly a significant amount of weight… At least temporarily. However, you now feel trapped; you believe you’ve reached a weight-loss plateau.
Perhaps you’ve reached a healthy weight, albeit slightly above your ideal weight, but those pesky 5-10-15 pounds have persisted. Why? Are you simply dreaming too big and pursuing an unattainable goal? If you’re a healthy weight, it’s possible that your body prefers to maintain a stable weight, referred to as a set-point weight. While the set point of your body can be adjusted, it may take some time to achieve.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s tempting to cut calories too drastically in order to see results faster. The disadvantage of this technique is that your muscles can be used for energy, gradually slowing your metabolism to conserve energy. Whether you’ve reached your body’s natural set-point weight or are struggling to shed those vanity pounds, here are ten strategies for breaking through a weight-loss plateau.
1. Change your calorie consumption
Your metabolism may slow as you lose weight because your body requires fewer calories or “energy” to fuel a smaller you. Your initial calorie intake when you began your weight-loss journey will need to be adjusted to match your body’s current weight-loss requirements. Make sure to update your myfitnesspal calorie goal every 10 pounds or so.
2. Concentrate on quality
It takes more than calories in and calories out to break through a weight-loss plateau. Processed foods are no longer sufficient. Therefore, quality whole foods such as vegetables, beans, high-fiber fruits, and lean proteins are required to fuel your engine’s fat-burning capabilities.
3. Change up your routine
Have you spent the last four months slogging away on the treadmill? It’s time to switch up your workout routine. Muscles become accustomed to the same workout, diminishing the effectiveness of your regular routine. To see a reduction in body fat, you must push yourself beyond your fitness comfort zone. It has been demonstrated that high intensity interval training (hiit) effectively burns body fat. Consider doing speed work on the track, attending a boot camp class at the gym, or performing intervals of walking and running. Note: when incorporating high-intensity exercise into your routine, begin slowly and deliberately. Excessive exertion in a short period of time can leave you sore, exhausted, or even injured.
4. Avoid clean-up duty
An additional bite here, a smidgeon there. Even if they aren’t on your plate, those calories do count. While mindlessly munching on your children’s (or spouse’s) leftovers during clean up may appear harmless, resist the snack urge because it may be the reason you’re not seeing results.
5. Remember your numbers
If you’ve been watching what you eat and increasing your physical activity but your weight remains stable, consult your doctor or registered dietitian to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could make losing weight difficult.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
A full night’s sleep is critical for fat loss, as it resets your hormones. Even a few hours of sleep deprivation can result in an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol elevations can result in the accumulation of body fat, particularly around the midsection.
7. Remember to keep a close eye on your caloric requirements
People frequently overestimate the number of calories they burn during exercise and underestimate the number of calories they consume. To more accurately estimate your caloric requirements, use the myfitnesspal basal metabolic rate calculator to determine how many calories you burn per day if you spend 24 hours doing nothing but resting. Subtract the approximate number of calories burned during activity from your basal metabolic rate. Bear in mind that the amount of calories burned during physical activity varies.
8. Use fluids to flush
Maintain proper hydration, as the body frequently craves food when it is even mildly dehydrated. Dehydration symptoms are similar to those of hunger, making the two easily confused. Aim to consume between 80 and 100 fluid ounces (2.35 liters) of water per day, plus any fluids lost during activity. Myfitnesspal allows you to monitor your hydration levels.
9. Increase the mass of muscle
Want to increase your resting calorie burn? To build muscles, lift (heavier) weights and adhere to a strength-training program. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn and body fat you will lose.
10. Add more protein to your diet
Protein has the highest thermic effect of any food, which means it burns the most calories during digestion. Additionally, protein contains an amino acid called leucine, which has been identified as a potent catalyst for fat loss in numerous research studies.
Implement these tried-and-true tips, and you’ll soon be asking, “what weight-loss plateau?”