The dreaded weight loss plateau. Has this happened to you? You have been sticking to your diet and the weight has been steadily coming off for several weeks. You, of course, are thrilled and just know that you will be at your goal very soon. Then, one morning you hop on the scale and the number is the same as yesterday. Maybe it's even the same as last week! The number just will not move. You have hit the wall and now you are feeling discouraged and thinking about cheating. You know you have to break through this plateau but don't know how.
How to Beat the Weight Loss Plateau
First, keep in mind that it is completely normal to hit a plateau. But when you do, you should double down and get back to basics. If you do, you will soon be at your goal. To help you re-start your weight loss, here are eight tips that will help you get your enthusiasm back and lose the rest of that weight.
State Your Weight Loss Goals Clearly
Your goals need to be realistic or you will become discouraged and quit. If your diet is healthy and rich in nutrition, you should be able to lose one or two pounds every week, on average. Of course, some weeks you may lose more and sometimes less.
When setting your goals, keep in mind that people have different body types. You will become discouraged if you compare yourself to someone else. You are unique and your body will tell you what its ideal size and weight should be. Listen to it and see what weight makes you feel the best. That weight is your "ideal" weight.
Follow a Low Carb, High Protein Program
If your program is providing enough protein for maintenance of your lean muscle mass, chances are you will have already lost your stores of muscle and fat. Because it's not good to burn your muscle mass when you are losing weight, you need to take in enough protein to maintain your muscle tissue. For women, that means taking in about 100 grams of protein per day and for men it is about 150 grams per day.
If you find that you are losing muscle mass as you are losing weight, you should focus on building that muscle back up. It will take more calories to build muscle so, when you eat this extra protein, you will begin to lose weight again. Just make sure your program does not sacrifice your muscles and you will be fine.
Include Resistance Training in Your Program
Another great way to boost metabolism and break through the plateau is to include aerobic exercises in your program. For example, you might add free weight or machine resistance training to your routine. This will increase muscle mass and, as a result you will burn more calories faster. And the bonus is that your metabolism will stay higher for up to 21 hours after your workout!
Watch Out For Hidden Carbs
If you have reached a plateau and you are not losing weight, check your diet to be sure you are not taking in vampire carbs that sometimes just sneak in. For example, you would be surprised what foods have hidden sugar. It is found in salad dressings, barbecue sauces and ketchup. It can also be found in prepared gravies and sauces or cornstarch in pre-made foods. It is a good idea to write down everything you eat and drink for a day or two. If you are taking in hidden carbohydrates, they will show up in your journal. They are sabotaging your weight loss and you need to get rid of them. When you do, you should be able to start losing weight again.
Minimize Refined Foods
This means it is important to get refined sugar and grains out of your diet. This includes white rice, pasta, pastries, cookies, cakes and white bread. You will be surprised how much giving these foods up will help you break through your weight loss plateau. As a bonus, you will have more energy and be healthier.
Do Not Let Yourself Be Hungry
If you're like most people, it probably sounds reasonable to you that if you eat less you will lose more. It's counter-intuitive, but that is not the case. Instead, eating several small meals often throughout the day will leave you much less hungry and will help get you through that plateau. Of course, these small meals should consist of healthy snacks and crunchy, raw fresh vegetables. For example, you can grab cucumbers, green peppers and celery sticks when you want something to eat. They also have a very satisfying "munch" quality and you will not feel so deprived.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
With any weight loss program, it is critically important to keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water every day. That is because your weight loss will actually slow down if you don't get enough water. It is good to get into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go. Following this advice will not only help your body burn fat more efficiently but you will not be as hungry.
Remind Yourself Often About Why You Want to Lose Weight
As with many other parts of our lives, we often start a weight loss program with our motivation high and dogged determination to succeed. There is lots of excitement as you drop the first pounds but, as time goes on and you reach a weight loss plateau, you become weary and forget why you ever wanted to lose weight.
This is a good time to remind yourself of your goals
Did you want to lose weight for a special occasion such as a wedding or class reunion? Or maybe you were dieting to lose that extra pregnancy weight or because your doctor told you to get your weight under control to improve your health.
Think about whether or not your original motivation is still working for you. If it is not, find a new reason to lose weight. If you do this, you will re-ignite the enthusiasm that made you originally go on a diet and you will be successful.
These tips have worked for many people when they hit that dreaded weight loss plateau. They can work for you too. Why not give them a try?