It is unusual to find anyone these days that doesn’t want to lose a few pounds and improve the overall look and feel of their body. The older we get, the harder it is to shed extra weight that we have accumulated due to aging, poor diet and lower energy and activity levels.
If you are looking to lose those last few pounds and are struggling to do so, perhaps it’s time to take a look at a few things. Examining your diet, your level of activity, and other factors in your life will determine if you need to up your game in order to blast through that weight loss plateau you are experiencing.
What is a weight loss plateau?
Getting stuck at a weight loss plateau is actually something that happens to everyone when trying to lose weight. Losing weight involves losing a combination of water, fat, and muscle mass, all of which contribute to your metabolism slowing. When your metabolism slows down, any weight loss that you experience at the beginning of your journey also slows, causing you to experience the plateau effect.
Rest assured, there are some things you can do to get over the hump and burst through that plateau to reach your goal. Follow these simple steps for continued weight loss, and you’ll see the results you want.
Cut back on the carbs!
Studies on people who consumed a low carb diet as a weight loss strategy proved that those who consumed 50 grams of carbs or less experienced more dramatic weight loss than those who simply followed a low-calorie diet. It seems in this case that a calorie is not merely a calorie, and that the types of foods you choose to consume on your weight loss journey really do matter. Choose foods that are low carb, such as meats, vegetables, and some fruits, for best results.
Increase your activity level
If your workouts have become easy, that is an indicator that your body has adapted to these changes, and the workout regime you are following is no longer as effective in blasting fat and reshaping your body. You will either have to increase your intensity level or increase the amount of time you spend exercising to maintain steady weight loss. Throw in an additional walk a few times per week, or do some high-intensity interval training to throw your body into a re-adaptive mode. You’ll thank yourself when you start seeing results once more.
Track everything you eat
And we mean everything! Often times, we are simply not aware of all the extra snacking that we do throughout the day, and it really does add up. That extra handful of nuts in the afternoon can pack as much as 200 calories onto your daily intake, and if you consume sugary beverages such as colas and juices, you can expect the scale to stop in its tracks; these are considered empty calories and should be consumed very infrequently for best weight loss results. Opt instead for things like fruits and veggies, fresh water, and even chewing gum if you feel the need to much on something without taking on additional baggage. Meanwhile, be meticulous about tracking everything you put in your mouth so that you can become aware of your habits and change what needs changing.
Amp up your protein intake
Protein boosts your metabolic rate better than fat and carbs combined. Consuming additional protein will be doubly effective in keeping you full and satisfied while protecting the amount of lean muscle mass you have in your body. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so keeping muscle on your body will be key in allowing your body to shed excess weight.
Manage your stress
Believe it or not, stress can hamper your ability to shed extra weight from your frame. Stress increases the need for comfort eating and drinking, where we tend to make poor choices with respect to the foods we eat. In addition, stress-induced cortisol is released throughout the body, which can trigger the body’s response to hanging onto extra fat for survival. Do good things for yourself to reduce stress and improve your overall quality of life. A visit to The HealthyBody Company might be in order for a stress-relieving massage or other detoxifying bodywork. Engage in activities that reduce stress in your life–meditation, nature walks, working on your spiritual and emotional connections to life—and you will find that you can see the scale once again begin to move.
Practice intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is the practice of abstaining from food for longer periods of time; anywhere from 12 to 48 hours, in an effort to cleanse the body and restart the metabolism. Studies on intermittent fasting have shown a decrease in overall body weight by anywhere from 3-8 percent over a 12 week period. Alternate day fasting, another form of fasting, involves eating a very restricted calorie diet one day and eating a normal amount the following day. This type of eating confuses your metabolism in a good way, allowing it to rev up and slow down alternately to burn calories more effectively.
Drink more water!
None of us drink enough water—water is the lifeforce of our entire physical body. We can go for up to three weeks without food without experiencing dire health consequences, but only a matter of days without water to hydrate our tissues and promote healthy functions in the body. It is recommended that you drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day to cleanse, flush, and hydrate all systems of the body; when this hydrating measure is in place, all systems work more efficiently to aid you in your weight loss journey. You might be using the bathroom more, but you’ll feel cleaner and lighter than you have in a long time.
It is possible to burst through a difficult weight loss plateau and see success on the other side. You might have to change up a few habits and tighten the reins a little when it comes to snacking and food consumption, but the sense of accomplishment you will feel upon reaching your weight loss goal will be worth every little sacrifice you had to make along the way. Here’s to your ultimate weight loss success!