So, you started the new year off resolving to amp up your fitness goals. You stopped drinking soda and bringing ice cream into the house. You cut back on your sugar intake, started working out and the weight started to peel off. This boosted your confidence, so you joined a gym to burn some extra calories on the elliptical. All of your efforts paid off, and you lost weight. But now, despite your efforts, you feel stuck. You're still doing all the things, but the darn scale won't budge and your body seems to have stopped losing inches. Being stuck is discouraging, however, with a few tweaks, you can keep that needle moving. (if that is your goal.)
Perhaps you’re at a healthy weight, albeit above your dream weight, but those pesky 5-10-15 pounds are still lingering. Why? Are you just dreaming too big and searching for something that is out of reach? If you’re at a healthy weight, this might be because the body likes to maintain a stable weight, also known as set-point weight. While your body’s set point can be adjusted, it can take some time to get there.
As you are losing weight, it can be tempting to cut calories too low to shed pounds faster. The down side to this technique is that your muscle can be used as energy and this gradually slows your metabolism to spare energy. Whether you find yourself above your body’s natural set-point weight or if you’re hard pressed to lose those vanity pounds, we know that in order to lose weight, your nutrition and movement are key. If you find yourself at a plateau with your weight loss or your fitness, the key to continue to make progress is to switch things up with both your diet and your fitness. The changes you make will vary person to person based on what you are currently doing, but here are 10 things you can do differently to shock your body into continuing to release weight and overcome a weight-loss plateau.
Regarding your nutrition..........
1. Introduce Carb Cycling to your eating routine. Basically, alternate between high and low carb days. This Feeds the body fuel from carbs 3-4 times a week and then when those energy stores run out, the body will turn to stored fat. If you are already doing carb cycling, replace 1 high carb day with another low carb day. so 5 low carb days and 2 high carb days.
2. Incorporate Intermittent Fasting.....Start with a 12 hour fast and increase to 16. If you love to eat breakfast, your last meal would be at 7 p.m. and then you could eat at 7 a.m. If you are stretching to a 16 hours fasted window, your first meal would be at 11 a.m. This is super easy when your fast is going on while you sleep. The benefits are huge!!! Most importantly, it helps with regulating your hormones, especially your insulin resistance. (the more insulin you have, the more susceptible you are to weight gain) Insulin is the hormone responsible for helping us convert sugar to energy. IF also helps your body produce more Human Growth Hormone which basically helps us build lean muscle, and the more lean muscle we have, the more calories we burn during rest.
3. Be sure to take advantage of your cheat meals. 80/20 will help the body burn fat better. For some, if you've slowed your metabolism by restricting too many calories, you may even need to have 1 whole week where you eat plenty of carbs every day. You may gain a few pounds in that week, but it's ok. That little change is sometimes what your body needs to help shock the body back into fat burning mode. You can then resume your normal carb cycling schedule.
4. Track your food in a journal. Write down everything that goes into your mouth. You may not be eating enough or you may be mindlessly adding calories with a taste of this and a bite of that.
5. Eliminate alcohol......most people don't stop at 1 serving, not to mention that it often weakens your will-power.
As for Workouts/Fitness......
6. Mix things up. I give you a variety of workouts to keep your muscles challenged. It's important to do a variety to prevent overuse injuries, to prevent boredom and to prevent a plateau. One way to mix things up is by doing various kinds of intervals. running, biking, swimming, jump rope, and step ups are all great ways to get the heart rate up during your HIIT workouts. Try different things. If you are always hopping on a treadmill, you are missing out on the chance to create a different kind of burn.
7. Increase your intensity.
As you get stronger, you need to push yourself harder. Can you run faster now? Can you lift a heavier weight? Can you go a little further? Can you do more reps/push-ups??? Expect more from yourself. Add some sprint intervals to the end of your workout for a metabolism booster and quick calorie blast. Adding the extra HIIT can help give you that extra push your body needs to break through a plateau.
8. On the flip side, you should be aware of over training. Your body will stop responding if you are doing too much. Signs of over training include muscle and joint pain, fatigue, an overall lack of energy, frequently catching a cold or flu, and headaches (different from what you might normally get). Why does this happen? Strenuous exercise causes your muscle tissue to break down. Your body must have adequate rest in order to rebuild and repair your muscles and achieve optimal results from your fitness program. To avoid over training, give your body a couple days of rest each week. The biggest thing to remember is to listen to your body.
9. Sleep! Guys, this is sooo important. Our bodies repair themselves while we sleep. If you are not getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, your body cannot be expected to push harder. Make sure you are getting your Zzzzzzzz each night.
10. Watch your diet!!! If you are training to gain more muscle, you need to make sure you are eating enough calories and plenty of lean proteins like grass-fed beef, chicken, fish and eggs.
Something to keep in mind..... at some point, we reach a peak where we can no longer lift any more or run any faster. You may thing you'e reached a plateau when in reality, you've reached your happy place.