Tips to break a weight loss plateau
Are you struggling to lose weight as you are approaching your ideal body weight?
You have been doing well for sometime now and were able to lose weight effortlessly and then suddenly your progress squash to a screeching halt?
It is a very common problem. A large group of population who are approaching their ideal body weight has experienced at least 2-3 weight loss plateaus lasting several weeks. Transforming your body is not so easy. You need to have patience.
The heavier you are the more you will burn and the lighter you are, the less you will burn. It's a simple mathematics. The more fat you have, the more weight you will lose initially. Perhaps you have lost fat and gained muscles and your new toned body is much more healthy and happy with few extra kilos on. So ask yourself is this ____weight loss right for me?
Two people with same height, same weight, same age will look different. One will look lean and the other one will look fat, why?- Because the leaner one, will have more muscle mass (which burns more calories) and the over weight one will have more fat. But remember muscle mass and fat weigh the same, but the difference is in their volume. Fat occupies more space in your body than muscle. So did you get it? What should you aim for- weight loss or weight loss in terms of fat loss? I want you to ask yourself.
To sustain that weight loss for life you need a routine, diet or workout plan to which you can stick for life. So have realistic and achievable goals. Are your goals focusing on getting mentally as well as physically healthy or are you focusing on only losing weight? Be clear.
So now let's explore why are you not able to lose weight anymore and what can you do to break your weight loss plateau?
1. Do high intensity workout for less time: If you increase you intensity, you will burn more fat and will lose weight fast. Do interval training, jump squats, on the spot jogging and reduce your rest time. Intensity is more important than your exercise or workout length. Doing high intensity exercises for 20-30min. is more effective than 1 hour brisk walk or jogging. The more intense the workout is, the more you will burn post workout for at least next 24hr. to 48hr.
2. Variety in your workout: If your body gets used to doing same exercise for few months then that exercise will no longer be effective. So keep changing your exercises and don't let your body get used to it. When you will force your body to adapt new movements then you will start burning that fat again as it will boost your metabolic rate. Examples- dancing, zumba, swimming, pilates, yoga, cycling, kick boxing, etc. As you need variety in everything from food to clothes, same way your body needs variety in workout/exercises to feel good and burn more. This is one of the most important step.
3. Do strength training at least 2-3 times a week: Strength training will help you to gain more muscles and the more leaner you get the more you will burn. Because higher the muscle mass=higher metabolic rate. So you need strength training + cardio to burn efficiently and to have a firmer and good physique. If you will do only cardio then you will become very thin but won't look good or will not have good physique.
4. Cut down few calories from your daily calorie intake (upto 150 cals): For example if you are eating 3 roti's in your meal and rice as well then cut down on rice and one roti.
5. Limit starchy carb intake to either pre or post workout: Carbs are very essential part of our meal, as they help us burn fat. Have more of complex carbs like whole grains,brown rice, jowar/bajra/nachni/soy roti's, daliya, fruits, vegetables, etc.
Cut down on your sugar, carbonated beverages, fruit juice intake. Sugar is nothing but an empty calorie.
6. Replace your meats with your egg's, fish, beans, tofu. Plant based foods are low in calories. But no need to make drastic changes. Start small, because small changes can make a huge difference. Throughout the day have plant based foods and for dinner include meat. Choose leaner cut of meat and choose white meat like turkey or chicken insteadof having red meat, as they are much higher in fat.
7. Get adequate and good quality sleep: Your body requires healing and after doing so much of intense workout, your muscles will burn out. So they need to rest to repair itself. Lack of sleep will increase your appetite next day and you won't feel like working out next day. It will also increase your cravings. Good night sleep will help you to recover and heal faster and will also promote your fat loss. If you are too tired mentally as well as physically and if you feel you have over trained then take few days (4-5days) break and then resume. Similar to your high intensity workout, your sleep quality is very important not just the length.
8. Walk whenever you can: Take stairs instead of lift, if your office and home is nearby then walk instead of taking a cab/car, go for shopping my dear ladies. Stand more often. This is the most easiest way to burn extra 200-250 calories effortlessly.
9. Stop getting desperate about it: Stop getting desperate about losing weight as that will create resistance and stress, which will in turn hinder your weight loss. Stop focusing on weight and start focuing on your health, how you feel (mentally & physically), focus on achieving your small but realistic goals as it will motivate you more to take up more challenges and achieve them. Focus on enjoying the process. Remember that your health is beyond those numbers!
Your fitness level cannot be measured on a weighing scale.