Most people who have had to lose weight for whatever reason have experienced the dreaded weight loss plateau. Things are moving along steadily, a few pounds down a month, habits are being formed, and then bam. A wall. The scale stops moving in the direction you need it to move for no apparent reason. Here are a few tips to help get through the weight loss plateau.
1) Don’t weigh yourself too often – Maybe that’s cheating since it won’t actually help you lose any weight, but it is an important step to make sure your monitoring has consistency. If you have a scale in your bathroom and step on it every time you walk in the room, put it away. Knowing generally how much you weigh is a good thing, but knowing how much you way at every second is not healthy and invites eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Weigh yourself ONCE per week, at the same time of day. Weighing constantly might disguise an overall trend by the constant (and normal) fluctuations it reveals.
2) Add strength training – A very, very common mistake in the weight loss game is to focus entirely on cardio. If weight loss means burning more calories than you take in, then it makes sense that more cardio means more weight loss because it burns the most calories, right? Not quite. More important to long term weight loss is raising your Basal Metabolic Rate, also known as “how many calories you burn when doing nothing at all.” Muscles use a lot of calories when resting, so building muscle along with a solid cardio plan helps your efforts continue long after you step off the elliptical.
3) Switch up your routine – Do you have a great, healthy breakfast you love so much you eat it every day? Do you always go to the gym at the same time and do the same workout? These aren’t bad habits per se, but if you’ve hit a weight loss plateau it is worth exploring the concept of changing things up a bit. Try different healthy foods, go to the gym at a different time of day, and hop on a different machine while you’re there. Sometimes your body just needs to shake things up.
4) Try a cleanse – I am not a fan of long term juicing, but there is definite value to trying something that is both different and difficult for a few days. Just last week I did a two day “juice fast” because I was eating a ton of junk food and needed to reset things a bit. If juice isn’t your thing, try smoothies, a “fruits and veggies only” cleanse, or going meat-free. For me it just helps me get my mind cleared out and focused on my long terms goals again.
5) Move more – Outside of dedicated exercise time, try to work movement more into your daily schedule. If you work in an office setting, rather than standing in the break room with a cup of coffee, spend your break walking around the halls. If you spend your days caring for children, make an effort to get more involved in their physical activities, like with a game of tag or a dance party. Moving more often will help keep your metabolism up and burning for longer periods during the day.
6) SLEEP – Lack of sleep is guilty of a multitude of crimes, including causing the weight loss plateau. Regular, consistent, undisturbed sleep keeps the body regulated and functioning properly. (Sorry everyone with small children.)
7) Drink more water – Another point I harp on consistenly here at Simply Fit & Clean is the importance of drinking enough water. Water helps keep all the body parts working properly. It helps fight cravings. Being properly hydrated helps ward off illnesses that can hamper your efforts. Check out THIS infographic if you need more convincing on the amazingness of water. Do you have any tips for breaking the weight loss plateau? Be sure to subscribe to the blog, like the Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, and use the social media buttons below this post to share these 7 tips for breaking through a weight loss plateau with your friends.