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Are you ready to give up?
1. START A FOOD AND EXERCISE LOG.
Write everything down. Everything! You don't have to do this forever, just long enough to find the problem. Many times you can see a pattern that you weren’t aware of or find some hidden calories that you weren‘t counting. Some people refer to these hidden calories as the ‘calorie creep’. Big time examples of often overlooked calories are with sauces, spreads, salad dressings, coffee creamers, oils, nuts, seeds, and condiments. Alcohol is a big culprit too.
Check your serving size. Even with very healthy foods like nuts, seeds, and olive oils, it is VERY easy to consume hundreds upon hundreds of calories.
For example: A small handful of nuts (1 ounce) can pack a whopping 200 calories. If during the course of one day, you take three small handfuls, that’s 600 calories!
2. TAKE YOUR WEIGHT TRAINING UP A NOTCH AND/OR CHANGE IT UP.
Add more weights or do more reps. There are countless ways to weight train. Try something different and tax some new muscle groups. The body can get ‘bored’ if we do the same thing over and over.
As you build lean muscle, your body burns more and more calories for you. The more lean muscle you build, the faster your metabolism runs. Lean muscle mass keeps all your cylinders firing at full speed around the clock. You can’t rely on just changing your eating to try to overcome a plateau. You can only cut calories so much. It is extremely unhealthy and counterproductive to not eat enough.
3. CHANGE YOUR CARDIO UP TOO.
If you normally walk for cardio, start doing the elliptical, or a new aerobic DVD, or dancing. Change up your exercise regimen occasionally so that your body can use different muscles in different ways.
4. EAT SMALLER MEALS, MORE OFTEN.
If you eat the bulk of your food in three main meals, switch it up. Try eating six smaller meals every three hours. This is the method I use and it keeps my body running evenly all day long. I find I don’t have energy dips when I eat every three hours. Cravings disappear too. People hear six meals and automatically say they don’t have time; however, they’re already eating three meals plus two or three small snacks every day. It’s basically the same thing. The key is to eat less during your three main meals and more at snack time. It ends up the same amount of food but distributed more evenly.
5. START DOING YOGA.
Have you been more stressed lately? High levels of stress releases more Cortisol into your bloodstream.
Cortisol is known as ‘the stress hormone’. Studies have shown that high levels of Cortisol in your system all day long can impede weight loss and may even cause weight gain. Yoga is a great stress reliever. And you end up killing two birds with one stone. You’re getting exercise AND reducing stress levels!
6. GET MORE SLEEP!
It is proven that getting enough sleep, helps your body lose weight! If you are sleep deprived, your body is strained, under more stress, and will resist losing weight.
You have to trust yourself but most importantly, you need to listen to your body.
If you’re feeling a little run down lately, make a point to go to bed earlier. If you’re feeling really hungry lately, eat more (of the good stuff). You know your body best. YOU are the expert on you.
Trust your judgment on what you need. Try hard to not get discouraged. When we are trying to lose weight, we are putting a lot of new demands on our bodies (and on our minds!). We are asking our bodies to learn new ways to move, new foods to digest, to adjust to new body rhythms, and hormonal changes. Every once in a while, it may need a minute to catch up. Moreover, we are asking our minds to think in new ways, to change everything we’ve been doing, and to learn about health and fitness. It’s okay if things get a little hairy every once in a while.
*This tip list on how to bust through plateaus was a section of my previously published article "Where To Start With Exercise And How To Avoid Plateaus"