Plateaus are common! After a relatively long period of stability, our bodies tend to level off. Most people who achieve weight loss hit a plateau and can get frustrated trying to lose those last few pounds. After adapting to our new bodies we need to make a few more changes. I often tell clients to evaluate what they’re currently doing the most. You really need to have a clear picture of all the things, activities, or habits that could be creating the plateau –what could you change? Small changes can help you start breaking through a plateau. Here are some new ideas that can help you get started.
First, write out your daily routine. Now look at it objectively by asking yourself the following:
- Are you sitting most of the day, being inactive?
- Try to move around as much as possible. Stand up and stretch every half an hour. If you’re at work, get up and talk to your coworkers instead of e-mailing them. Also try splitting your lunch break in two- spend half the time eating and half the time walking. Consider investing in an adjustable desk that goes from standing to sitting position.
- Are you surfing the net at night or watching TV instead of cooking for the next day or catching up on your housework?
- We often fall into the trap of screen time after long days. Before you take a seat, make sure you have your healthy meals planned and prepped for the next day and all of your chores are done. This will also give you more activity and less couch potato time. Also be sure to get a good night sleep after a hard day at work!
- Do you always take the escalator or elevator instead of taking the stairs?
- If available, always take the stairs. Little bursts of activity throughout the day really add up. Move as much as possible! Another great suggestion is to park at the far edge of the parking lot to add a few more steps to your day.
- Are you snacking after dinner?
- Many people snack at night- this is a weight loss buster! We often snack mindlessly in front of the TV, but ask yourself, are you actually hungry, or is it just a habit? Make sure your dinner is filling enough so you don’t reach for the chips.
- Are you doing 2 minutes of exercise for every hour you sit?
- Moving just a few minutes each hour will keep your blood moving and reduce your risk of diabetes. Start now- get up and do 2 minutes of stretching!
- Are you monitoring the intensity of your workouts?
- Many people don’t check their heart rate during exercise. You need to boost the intensity of your cardio to increase your heart rate. If your weight has plateaued, so has your workout. Kick it up a notch!
- Are you including weight resistance training?
- Weight resistance training increases muscle mass. People with more muscle mass burn more energy, even at rest, leading to greater weight loss. Add this type of workout twice a week to reap the benefits.
- Are you doing the same workout routine daily?
- Typically your body will adapt to exercise, and you will get less benefit from the same workout over time. Change it up with a new fitness class like Zumba, Body Pump,or hip hop dance. Make sure you vary your work-outs!
- Count your fiber –are you getting enough?
- Fiber really helps with satiety, or how full you stay between meals. Start with a goal of 25 grams per day and work up to it slowly. Fiber fills you up so will eat less, furthering your weight loss goals.
- Reduce your daily intake by 200 calories, as long as this doesn’t put you below 1,200 calories.
- Decreasing your caloric intake is a surefire way to get over your weight loss plateau, but less than 1,200 calories a day may not be enough to keep you from feeling hungry all of the time, which increases your risk of overeating. You need to make sure that your caloric intake is sustainable. If not, you’ll regain the weight you’ve lost and then some.
- Employ “volumetrics” – eating foods that are high volume but low calorie density.
- Volumetrics allows you to eat a high fiber diet rich in healthy foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This not only helps you manage your weight, but also improves the overall quality of your diet. Slurp on broth-based soups or eat a small salad before meals, and include fruits and veggies at every meal. Choose lean proteins like beans, tofu, or chicken breast to stay full longer.
Add some of these new techniques to your daily routine to further your weight loss, get over that plateau, and reach your goals! Then check out how to Make an Exercise Routine Happen for you!