What to do When Your Weight Loss Has Plateaued
No matter who you are, the weight loss journey will come with struggles, including the dreaded weight loss plateau. This is a temporary time where people who have lost weight with healthy eating and exercise suddenly stop losing weight before they reach their goals, in spite of maintaining the practices that were once working.
But don’t fret, because there are ways anyone can jump the hurdle to the other side and continue their progress. Easy strategies include alterations to an exercise routine or adding more techniques that can help burn fat. The following guide will help you know what to do when your weight loss has plateaued during your fitness journey.
Change up Your Exercise
Even bodybuilders hit plateaus when training, which is why they change workouts every few weeks. You can borrow their plan and change up your exercise routine, too. And while bodybuilders change exercises to hit different muscle groups, the rest of us can change the exercises that are geared towards overall fitness and weight management.
HIIT, plyometrics, and strength training are all great routines for weight loss. If your goal is to burn fat, high-intensity routines like HIIT can re-stimulate your body into fat-burning mode, while strength training can always be added if you are currently doing only cardio. And plyometric exercises can be put together to form a high-intensity, high-powered workout that can both burn fat and calories. Either way, change whatever you are doing now to a different routine, even if the change only takes place two days a week, and you will push past the plateau.
Cut the Carbs
This is a temporary solution that can take you to the other side of any weight loss plateau. First, evaluate your current diet to identify any hidden sugars or starches. Check the sugar or carb content of beverages, sauces, and processed foods, like bread. Then, eliminate processed carbs like processed bread, pasta and white rice. If you drink alcohol, now is a good time to ease up.
As you get over your plateau, slowly reintroduce carbs into your diet, but make sure they are the right carbs for you. Forget white bread and desserts; instead, focus on whole grains and fresh produce like apples and greens.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Increasing your caloric intake to make up 30% of your calories from protein might be just what you need to restart weight loss. It turns out that protein increases metabolism because your body works hard to digest it. This is called the thermic effect and it not only increases calorie burn during digestion but will help you maintain a higher metabolism throughout the day and while you sleep.
To increase protein intake, make sure to add a lean protein with each meal and try to keep a rough idea of calorie percentage. A food journal is a great tool to help give you an idea of calorie intake so you can determine the percentage, and it has the added benefit of helping you stay on track. Fitness apps are another way to keep track of those who are on the go.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Add more fresh produce to your diet can help you cross the weight loss plateau. That’s because fresh fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients, fiber, and enzymes to help keep your metabolism revved well after your meal.
Opt for fresh fruit like apples, berries, and citrus for a nutritional boost with less sugar. Add a fresh, green salad to other meals and increase your intake by including a side dish of lightly steamed vegetables.
Keep in mind that the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat 5 to 13 servings of fresh fruits and veggies a day, and most of us simply don’t get enough. Using this strategy to stimulate further weight loss will help you burn fat and get the nutrients your body needs to stay physically fit and active.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular trend for weight loss and better health. Some studies show it not only stimulates metabolism and weight loss but also aids in reducing internal inflammation and reducing the risk for stroke, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
There are different approaches to this type of fasting, and the way you do it should work within your schedule and health. The most popular method is to fast from 12 to 18 hours every 24 hours. For example, if you fast 18 hours, there is a 6-hour window in which you can eat. Another method is to fast for 24 hours, twice each week.
While this method works for many, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have medical conditions like diabetes should talk with their doctor, first. If you do try IF, eating healthy when you do eat will help you maintain energy while keeping your metabolism up.
Drink More Water
Surprisingly, many people neglect water intake. Some replace water with sports drinks, but nothing replaces pure, spring water to help your body continue to remove debris and waste.
On the other hand, not drinking enough water might cause your body to retain more water as it goes into “drought” mode. Lack of hydration also leads to fatigue, constipation and dry or ash-colored skin, and a sallow look.
Try to drink 6-8 glasses of fresh water each day and more if you exercise or live in a hot, humid climate. Keep in mind that caffeine in coffee and tea can cause you to lose fluids, so add another cup for that.
Meditate for Stress Control
Stress can cause the buildup of hormones like cortisol that adds to abdominal fat and can make it hard to lose weight. If you hit a weight loss plateau, try meditation for 5 to 20 minutes each day by simply clearing your mind and focusing on your breathing.
Some research does find that mindful practices like meditation can help those who eat emotionally or suffer from binge eating. At the same time, stress leads many to eat for comfort, and meditation can counter this effect as it helps manage and reduce stress.
Simply find a quiet place where you can sit alone, and close your eyes. Count your breathing from 1-4, and repeat. If a thought enters your mind, gently put it aside and remember that this is your time to relax. Meditation takes a little practice, but results can take effect as soon as after your first session.
The Weight Loss Plateau Can be Crossed
A weight-loss plateau happens to everyone and can last from weeks to months. But these tips and tricks can help you move past it so you can continue your fitness journey. And remember that with just a little, consistent effort you can reap great rewards. Just remember to stay consistent with the habits you've made. This will ensure you don't lose all your progress from your efforts.