Many of us experience a weight loss plateau on our journey to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You know the story. When those unwanted pounds are dropping off… life is good. You’re motivated. You’re exercising. You’re creating life-long habits that make you feel great. Then you hit a bump and that downhill slide stops. Life still good? Not so much.
Here are five tips that have helped my fitness clients bust through stubborn weight loss plateaus.
1. Write It Down
Studies have shown that people who write down what they eat lose more weight and shed it more consistently. In a study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers followed 1,685 overweight Americans aged 25 and older. Participants kept food diaries and were encouraged to eat healthy and exercise regularly. After six months the average weight loss was 13 pounds. So what was the major predictor? You guessed it… writing it down. Those who tracked what they ate every day lost more weight. Using a food journal helps in two ways: accountability and awareness. I suggest finding a system that you can stick with and write down what you eat before you eat it. If you have a smartphone, consider MyFitnessPal for easy tracking. If you use a FitBit, they have a tracking tool as well.
2. Water Anyone?
Most Americans are dehydrated. If you’re thirsty, your body is already depleted. Did you know that water is your body’s principal chemical component? It makes up about 60% of your body weight. If you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau, examine how much H2O you’re actually drinking every day.
According to The Institute of Medicine, they recommend these beverage totals:
- 3 liters (about 13 cups) for men
- 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) for women
These totals include all types of beverages like juice and coffee as well as water. Seems like a lot. The point is we need to drink non-caffeinated beverages to replenish what we lose in our breath, perspiration, and in the restroom.
3. More Veggies, Please
Truth be told, we didn’t gain weight by eating too many veggies :-). Vegetables are typically lower in calories and fill you up with healthy fiber. Check your food diary to see if you’re getting enough greens in your diet. To bust through that weight loss plateau, may be more broccoli and less brown rice will do the trick.
4. Get More Sleep
When we are chronically tired, we tend to reach for quick-energy foods or items that provide comfort. According to The Mayo Clinic guidelines, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Of course, quality trumps quantity. Your weight loss plateau may just need a few more zzzzzs to loosen its hold.
5. Increase Physical Activity
What kind of fitness trainer would I be if I didn’t mention increasing physical activity! Varied workouts can keep things interesting… and weight loss friendly. If your exercise program has gotten too “routine”, change it and /or bump it up a notch. Sign up for a boot camp for a more intense calorie burn. Do some interval training so you boost your metabolism. When I work with my personal training and FitCamp clients, I mix things up to work different muscle groups to increase heart rate and stamina.
Remember……plateaus happen. Never, ever EVER give up! If you’ve recently loss weight, remember that even if you’re currently hitting a plateau, you’re better off than you were a few weeks or months back. You don’t want to give up and backslide into old habits. Keep moving toward your goals with some of the tricks I listed above. Your plateau WILL pass.
Committed to your success,
Lego Weight Lifter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasukaru76/5268559005/
Fresh Veggies: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eeko/4684793074/