Hitting a weight plateau is one of the most frustrating things that can happen in your weight loss process. You begin eating well and exercising and start to see the number on the scale shift, but then weeks or months into your routine the number comes to a standstill. Rather than become frustrated or discouraged, try to understand the reasons why this is happening. Here are some things your weight plateau is telling you.
It’s Time to Shake Up the Routine
You’ve been running on the treadmill for three months now or taking kickboxing for the past ten weeks and have seen great results. Then suddenly your weight loss stops even though you’re still working hard. If this happens, it’s time to shake up your routine. Your body easily adapts to the stresses you put on it and becomes more efficient. When you first begin exercising and pushing yourself, your body is going to respond. After a while your body simply becomes accustomed to the routine. In order to even out this weight loss plateau, you need to change up or increase the intensity and/or duration of your workout. Instead of only running 30 minutes five days a week, start running for 45 minutes. Better yet, begin doing interval workouts (a combination of cardio and strength training). Try taking a boot camp class instead of kickboxing. Confuse your body with new exercises.
Time to Eat Less (or More)
If you hit a weight plateau, starting an honest food diary is a smart idea. Keep track of every bite you take to see what changes you need to make in your diet. If you’ve hit a weight plateau, it may be because you’ve justified grabbing takeout for lunch several times a week with your new workout plan or have started snacking after dinner. A food diary will find the culprit and allow you to see areas where you need to make changes.
You may have hit a weight plateau because you’re not eating enough. When you increase your physical activity you need to take in more calories to help your body metabolize food efficiently. When you don’t take in enough calories your body clings onto fat and goes into survival mode. This is counterproductive to weight loss. You may actually need to eat an extra snack in the afternoon (like half an apple with peanut butter or some Greek yogurt with fruit) or beef up your breakfast to increase your calorie intake. The key is to fill your diet with plenty of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats (like those found in avocados, almonds and olive oil). Don’t be afraid to eat. Instead, eat a healthy and well-balanced diet that will support your active lifestyle.
Generally speaking, a weight plateau is telling you that something needs to be changed. Constantly be modifying your routine so that you confuse your body and make it work harder. The process can be fun. Take new fitness classes, push yourself harder in workouts and try new healthy recipes.