I had several plateaus in my 150lb weight loss journey. RunnerBoy had them in his 100lb weight loss journey. What was best was learning together how to break them to keep moving in the right direction!
Why does Our Body Hit Plateau's?
•Routine- Our body is so smart, so efficient that it learns exactly what you like to do and how you like to eat and it performs it's best based upon what you normally eat and your normal fitness plans. Smart!
•Hormones- Pcos, Thyroid
•Age- as the body ages the slower the metabolism- it's science.
•Do You Drink?- Alcohol does affect your weight loss
•Eating Disorders- Inconsistent eating patterns
How to Break Your Weight Loss Plateau:
• Be Sure You are Counting Calories. As we Count we become used to what portion sizes look like, so we skip the measuring cups and spoons and neglect the food scale. If you are doing that- Go back to strict measuring.
•Be Sure You are documenting everything. Every Lick and bite needs to be recorded so that you can be most accountable to what you are eating. Mindless eating happens and can be forgot about when journaling or entering food into MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople
•Take Your Caloric Intake and Cycle Up with Your calories by 400calories- If you are currently eating only 1200 calories, shock your body and metabolism by eating 1600 for exactly one week. Exercising regimen remains the same.
•Take Your Caloric Intake and Cycle Down with Your calories by 400 calories- if you are currently eating 1600 calories, shock your body and metabolism by eating 1200 for exactly one week. Exercising regimen remains the same.
•Increase Your Cardio - Throw in a couple more miles, add some cross training to your current work-out schedule
•Decrease Your Cardio- Sometimes we need to stall our body and confuse it. We can do that by drastically cutting back on our cardio/fitness for a full week. Take the time to read a book- go for walks instead of runs- paint a room in your house, go call or visit friends and family and just cut yourself some slack. When you come back to your routine not only will the small break will have allowed full recovery of muscle tears but it will kick start your metabolism and turn that furnace back on!
•Begin a Weight Lifting routine- Many people that are losing weight fear gaining muscle because it feels counter-productive to put on weight while losing it (I can't be the only person that thought that?) but I'm telling you now I wish I knew then what I know now and that is that building muscle is so great for fat burning all day long! Your muscle burns extra calories all day without you even knowing it. Add strength training to your routine at least 2-3x weekly!
•Take Your Measurements- sometimes a loss on the scale is not indicative of muscle gain/fat loss that does happen. Measuring tapes can help you measure your progress- maybe you are not in a plateau after-all
•Take Pictures. Sometimes the scale and the measuring tape give you no justice! This one is for me. but what I do know and feel and see is the shape difference in my body. Where I'm cut so differently than where I was just a year ago. Use comparisons to help you see that again you are not in a plateau that actually you are burning fat and gaining muscle.
•Add Metabolism boosters to your intake. Cinnamon, Green Tea- almost any increase in vegetables and fresh fruit is going to boost your metabolism- so take a look at your foods and see where you can add more fresh foods
•Take a look at your sugar intake. Are you eating too many refined sugars? Be willing to cut out all Free Sugar out of your life for a while to get you past your plateau (hey maybe you'll keep it out!)
•Learn Your Glycemic Index if you are insulin resistant. Feed your body sugar and it stores immediately as fat. If the sugar is broken down gradually then it will be used as energy and not stored as fat. Find a Glycemic Index Here: http://www.glycemicindex.com/
•Evaluate your hormones and how that may be impacting your journey. Do you have Pcos or a low thyroid? Sometimes just recognizing an body imbalance can ease your frustration because you at least understand why. You can also get your thyroid check to be sure your meds are working properly and you can always ask your doctor about getting on birth control or metformin to control the symptoms of pcos.
•Muscle Confusion: What ever exercise routine you are doing now- create a brand new routine that will use new muscles, different levels of cardio exertions. Maybe you do intervals of weights with Cardio. Maybe you use a new machine at the gym for a whole week. Maybe you try a new resistance or pylometric routine. Your muscles won't know what to do but to start working against o begin to repair new rips and tears from using you body in a new way!
•Add more fiber- Are you going to the bathroom enough? Sometimes if you are not getting in enough fiber your bowels back up- your ability to push and move things along your GI tract can cause you to feel "full" or sluggish. Add more Fiber to your diet to be sure you are feeling fuller longer- cleaning out your digestive system fully. Psyllium fiber works great if you want to cleanse your guts a little bit. Psyllium has been proven to help lower blood glucose as well, hear that Pcos'ers!
•Look at your Carbohydrate to Protein to Fat Intake Ratio and adjust it. Change it by reducing your carbs and upping your protein. Bring your Carbohydrates down to 40% your daily intake with Protein at 35% and healthy fats to 25%. SparkPeople I know breaks this down for you after you put in your calories and ask for a daily report.
•Change Your Eating Pattern. Are you stuck on 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and eat on the clock? Change it up by skipping snacks or by eating 6 smaller meals through-out your day instead. Same foods, Same Calorie Count - just new eating times.
•Lastly Stress- Cortisol can stall your weight loss and that increases when you are under stress. You are so excited to lose weight and when you see your efforts not working you can become stressed out. This is the worst thing to do. When you experience that moment of stress- combat that quickly with either - more exercise or relaxing efforts like Yoga and maybe it's time to just go shopping and buy something for yourself and recognize all your hard work so far. Manicure or pedicures are great treats too!
• Stop Drinking Alcohol- It's ok to hate me for saying it ;-) You work so hard all day and then what do you do? You Stress our your Liver and slow your metabolism and suck down sugar watered alcohol to 'treat' yourself. To me beer and wine (beyond 1 glass daily) is no different than a twinkie. Stop Rewarding yourself with foods and drinks.
I want to add that I know there are Fasts, cleanses and drastic calorie cutting attempts out there that being used by so many. I ask you to research it and if you try it- please listen to your body. I never felt like I needed to do any of that! Ever! I want natural and normal lifestyle and that does not include making my life miserable. Success if finding a way to live sustaining your whole life with energy and happiness. I could never be happy sitting on the toilet for days cleans myself with whole body cleanses (how would I ever be able to run?) Oh wait....maybe I would be running ....to the toilet ...with the runs, lol ....
What I tell all the CalorieCountingRunnerGirl's out there is that no matter if you are losing weight in inches or lbs- what you don't see happening is on the inside. Your body is healthier for having exercised and ate well.
On a cellular level inside your body you are combating Free Radicals that cause cancers and disease. I can NOT stress this enough to you. When You eat healthy foods you are repairing damaged cells inside your body from the grind of exercise and everyday life. Oxidation & Free Radicals occurs if you are fit or not. It's scientific fact. Anti-oxidants they help repair damaged cells.
When I tell you I made this Journey to Be Healthy, I'm Not Kidding You- this is NOT about Skinny and once you Adapt this Same concept then breaking through this plateaus will not be stressful at all- it will be easy and you will just accept it as apart of your journey. You understand that fitness and healthy eating is something you'll do forever anyways so what's the hurry? In the meantime keep doing it it all because it feels great to feel energy and happiness to which I'm sure you never felt when you were sedentary! This I know!