If your scale suddenly refuses to budge, these strategies will get it moving again.
Weight-loss plateaus, where your weight loss slows dramatically or you stop losing weight altogether, affect the vast majority of people who are trying to shed 20 pounds or more. By reaching a plateau, your body is telling you that you have to up the ante and work a little harder.
It takes at least 60 days to change an unhealthy eating habit. To push past the slump:
- Add resistance training: Muscle burns more calories than fat does, so try resistance training (using free weights, weight machines or the resistance of your own body) to build muscle. You’ll burn plenty of calories while working out and begin to see true muscle growth—which revs up your metabolism—after three to four weeks of resistance work.
- Use the two-punch: Cut calories and go for the burn: For a week or so, you can lower your caloric intake by 30 percent and increase your energy expenditure by 30 percent. This way, you’re attacking both sides of the weight loss equation—diet and exercise—and you’re surprising your body.
- Stamp out hidden calories: You might be taking in extra calories without even realizing it. Alcohol, condiments and sauces are the most significant sources of hidden calories.
- Up your dietary protein intake: Protein boosts the rate at which you burn calories because it requires more energy than carbohydrates do to digest. So, for the short term, consider increasing your intake of lean protein such as lean meat, fish and legumes (as long as you don’t have a medical condition that prohibits you from doing so). Typically, 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. Try increasing this to 45 percent of your daily calories.
- Switch up your workout: Whatever your typical workout program is, now’s an ideal time to change it. If you usually take an aerobics class, try cycling or swimming. If you stick with the same regimen all the time, your body becomes acclimated to it and you’ll burn fewer calories through exercise. Plus, changing your workout can help keep you motivated.
- Shift your weight loss focus A weight loss journey shouldn’t always be about a number on the scale. You can have a positive effect on your health with small amounts of weight loss. For example, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels, blood glucose and blood pressure without losing significant weight.
From our sister publication, REMEDY’s Healthy Living (Spring 2012)