Beware of Weight Loss Plateaus
If you are trying to lose weight, be prepared to hit some plateaus. These are times where your weight loss simply stops for a while. You may hover around the same weight (or even gain back a few pounds) for several days or even weeks. Why does this happen? Well, your body does not really want to lose weight. Evolutionary forces cause our bodies to try to maintain our weight. Losing weight can make our metabolism think we are heading toward a time of starvation, so weight loss is slowed down.
What this means is that, despite every effort to continue to burn more calories, your body will just stop responding for a while. There are a few things you can do to kick start your weight loss however. Try these solutions for combating the dreaded plateau.
1. Figure out how many calories your body needs for maintenance levels of weight loss and then reduce your calories to just under that number. If you try to lose weight too quickly, your body will rebel. Instead, concentrate on a slow and steady weight reduction.
2. Make sure you are getting the right nutritional combination of foods. If you are simply reducing your portions, but not concentrating on nutritional and healthy foods, you may have a deficit of energy. When you try to exercise, your body will try to protect itself by retaining body mass. Instead, focus on good nutrition and a multivitamin each day to round out any nutritional deficiencies.
3. If you are eating healthy, sensible portions of food and are finding you are not losing weight all of a sudden, try to jump start your exercise routine. Add an extra block or two to your walking route or try adding in some hills. Increase your weight lifting amounts by a few pounds, or add an extra 15 minutes to your workout for the next couple of weeks. You may find that this is all you need to get those pounds to start dropping again.
4. Beware of calorie creep. You may be eating the same foods you have since you've started your weight loss regimen, but it may be that you are eating more of those foods. An extra bite here, a nibble there--it can all add up. Look at your snacking habits. Often we grab more than we think we are eating, especially if we are distracted by work, television, or eating on the go.
5. Ask yourself if you are eating out more lately. Restaurant meals, with their big portions and high-fat and high-calorie meals, can be a minefield for those trying to lose weight. If you are eating out more than you were before, this could be the source of enough extra calories to sabotage your efforts. Spend some time planning your meals at home and bring your lunch to work. It will pay off quickly in your waistline and your pocketbook.
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