Now that you’ve been eating healthier and improving your exercise routine, you’ve started to see some of those excess pounds falling off. Good for you! But suddenly, it’s like you’ve hit a weight-loss wall. First, congratulate yourself on your accomplishment and don’t panic. You’re experiencing a weight-loss plateau and it’s more common than most of us realize.
How to Break a Weight-Loss Plateau
Your initial, probably rapid, weight loss resulted from a combination of eating less (taking in fewer calories) and exercising more (burning more calories). Your body adjusted by burning stored nutrients, like glycogen, which is partly water. And some of your weight loss was muscle. Keep in mind that muscle burns calories faster than fat. So, your body is now burning fewer calories and that’s what causes the plateau.
Like it or not, the two best strategies are cutting more calories and energizing your exercise routine.
There are a wide range of strategies for reducing calories. Some of the more common include:
- Limit alcohol as its empty calories and can loosen inhibitions, leading to poor food choices.
- Adding fiber will slow digestion, leaving you feeling full and satisfied; it also replaces other calorie-dense foods.
- Drink more water, especially if you’re still drinking sugary drinks.
- Protein boosts your metabolism; try eating smaller amounts, but eat more often.
- Keep a food diary – You’ll be more aware of what you really eat.
- If you’ve been walking 30 minutes each day, increasing your workout by another 15 minutes will increase your calorie burn by 50% or more.
- If your routine has been limited to cardio – like walking, running and cycling – add resistance Lifting even light weights or other resistance training adds muscle that will increase your metabolism.
- Change up your exercise routine, like adding high-intensity interval training (HITT). Your muscles get used to one set of workouts, reducing their effectiveness. So “trick” your muscles by changing your workout routine.
Other strategies include intermittent fasting, proper sleep habits, and stress reduction.
- Like changing your exercise routine, intermittent fasting is another way to prevent your body from getting used to your habits.
- Less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night will likely slow your metabolism and affect the hormones that control appetite and fat storage.
- The “stress hormone” Cortisol can increase belly fat storage. While we can’t eliminate stress from our lives, meditation or deep-breathing exercises are easy-to-do techniques that will reduce it!