The Best Way to Beat a Weight Loss Plateau

Change, change, change! Keep your body guessing- it's the most efficient, sometimes the only way, to break a weight loss plateau or shed the stubborn last few pounds. People stop losing weight, even though they are dieting and exercising, for a couple of different reasons: 1. If you have lost a lot of weight recently and prior to a plateau you were losing quickly, but now it slowed or stopped, or 2. you don't have much weight to lose to begin with (5-20 lbs.) and your body fights you on every pound you try to lose.

There are solutions that can kickstart your weight loss. A modified diet and exercise are the ideal ways to lose weight but just this simple equation may not get you to your goal. I've had to lose 20 lbs. twice (after college and after having a baby). Here are some tips (I've tried them all-successfully) that you can easily use to adjust your diet and exercise in a way that will make you happy to jump on the scale.

DIET:

Tip #1- Don't Eat the Same Amount of Calories Every Day. This isn't yo-yo dieting! It doesn't mean you pig out one day and go into conservation mode the next day, kinda like binge-eating. Keep your calorie difference between days within 500-not too drastic. If you keep track of calories, for example your diet requires you to eat 1500 calories a day, then this tip will be easy for you to implement. Eat 1500 cal. for a day or two, then eat 1800 for a day or, then eat 1300 for a day or two and continue that rotation.

Another way is to eat your daily 1500 cal, then one or two days a week add in a whole "cheat" (within reason) day or on a couple of days allow yourself a couple of cheat meals. This approach is easy even if you don't keep track of calories, you can eat sparingly for most of the week, then eat until slightly past full for a day or two a week.

Tip #2- If you've been good, be bad. This relates to change. If you HAVE been a slave to your work-out and diet regimen, then you need to take a break an have some off days. Your body only builds muscle when you are at rest, not while you are working out. So get rest. Have leisurely exercise days where you just take a stroll or take your kid or dog to the park. 

Tip #3- Don't Eat the Same Kind of Foods Every Day. Most diets don't work because dieters get bored of the types of foods prescribed. One diet may suggest no meat, another no carbs, and so on, but eventually you'll hit a weight loss plateau with them all- even your body is screaming "I'm bored"!

As far as dieting goes, I always think it should be realistic- a lifestyle change and something you can live with, but if you're going to diet switch the prescribed foods around every few days and draw from a variety of diets out on the market. They all work initially until boredom with the food sets in so mix them up- do one for a few days, then another. and keep rotating. Once you've lost the weight, then go back to a balanced. modified diet you can live with.  

EXERCISE:

Tip #1- Skip or minimize Cadio and try Interval Training. Interval training is commonly used for athletes, but now everybody is implementing this type of exercise technique into their personal workouts. For instance, instead of a 40 minute low intensity aerobic workout, do a 20 minute workout alternating every 2 minutes with low intensity then high intensity (from a walk to a jog (aerobic) or sprint (anaerobic). Switching between low intensity to high intensity gives you more bang for your buck because it burns more calories overall, even after your workout. That will give you results and less time in the gym.

Another version of interval training, my favorite, is alternating between a few minutes of aerobic activity, then lifting weights for a few minutes- for a total of 20-40 minutes. This also gives you plenty of benefits and will change your body. Aerobic exercise is great and weightlifting is great, but together they're powerful enough to break a weight loss plateau.

Tip#2- Change Workouts and Exercises on a Weekly or Bi-weekly Basis. If you do the same workouts all the time, your muscles will be out of balance and you will not be truly fit, especially true if you're in a rut. Same workout=same results. You can change this by adding variety to the types of workouts you do every two weeks. You can do interval training for two weeks, then swtich to flexibility type routines like pilates and simple walking for the next two weeks.

I use this method of training a lot because it keeps me from getting bored and sometimes I'll use it to try out a new type of exercise. I'll do an interval training routine for two weeks, then try something new like dance exercise videos or walking with a couple of days of a new class at my gym, such as kick-boxing or water aerobics.

Everything I've mentioned is designed to keep your body guessing. I've gathered these tips through the years by reading several diet and exercise books, taking college exercise and physiology courses, and from my personal experience.

One fact is if you do the same thing day after day, you will get the same results as usual, which can eventually end up being no results. Whatever you decide to do to break your weight loss plateau, make sure there is some aspect of constant change; the body is very efficient and easily adapts to a boring old routine.

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Comments 12 comments

issues veritas 7 years ago

izetti,

It makes sense and I hope to see many comments on this from both sides.

Apparently our survival system is not hooked up to our intelligence control part of the brain. That would make it easy to just say, I don't need to store fat, so stop doing it.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could override the pain signal. It is sort of like those movies where you are seeing inside a control room that monitors some system. A problem occurs with the system and the alarm goes off. The person in charge rushes to the control station and the first order from that person is "kill the alarm".

The alarm once it lets you know that there is a problem, just becomes an annoyance after that point. Pain while not quite a good comparison to putting on fat has a common factor. Fat is being stored because the survival system has a problem. While there is no pain usually involved with the fat production, the fat storing process is not necessary.

Apparently, our survival system works on actions and not on thoughts and wishes as it did in primitive times. Back then you couldn't get regular meals, so the brain rations and stores your catch of the day.

good job izetti.


izettl profile image

izettl 7 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

I think I know what you are saying and I liken to people who stop listening to their body's signals. I get what you're saying, but I would also compare it to the alram (our physical body) going off when too full and shutting it off/ignoring as soon as possible because it's existance does not coincide with what we (our thoughts) actually want, which for some is to eat beyond what our alarm/body is telling us. Sooner or later that alarm will go away and people can lose the sense of fullness, or natural signal.

Great comment about actions versus our thoughts and wishes. THe point that many doctors and dieticians are trying to make is that the increase stress in people's lives today mimicks the fight or flight stress response from primitive times. We are not fighting a bear or running for our lives, but our bodies think they need to store the fat because they get the alarm of hard times coming ahead, but really it's a false alarm- just "mental" stress. THere is no danger or threat of starvation, but the stress of today still lowers our ability to think rationally and the primitive response to store fat takes over. 

That's why this hub focuses on "tricking" the body into losing weight because it's not a natural response for our body to willingly give up stored goods.

I think our bodies still work like primitive times, but our lives have evolved into more mental stress than physical.

But that gets me on a whole other issue about the typical 60 hour work week for Americans. More stress doesn't usually have a good outcome, especially better productivity, but that's just me being silly I guess.

THanks again for your comment issues veritas.


issues veritas 7 years ago

izetti, thanks for your great hub.

I like the tricking aspect of this hub.

You are right about not listening to the body alarm that says "FULL". I think one of the reasons that it is hard to stop eating is that many foods soothe the stress. And the longer and more you eat the better you feel.

At that point it is not hunger but the peaceful feeling as you take eat bite of food.It would really be great if these stress reducing foods were also healthy for you. Then you could eat your way back to being healthy.

 


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

very nice hub good info


bogartkick 7 years ago

I have problems to lose weight because I eat too much of my favorites most of the days, and I think I can't stop eating some appetizers if they have. Only if there are no appetizers, I can eat healthy foods.


izettl profile image

izettl 7 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Your favorites and appetizers should be about 10-20% of your food intake, not the main parts. I don't believe in strictly staying away from all your favorites, but you can't eat all your favorites in one day or all day or even as your main food intake. If you eat mostly healthy, then have a sensible dessert at the end of the day, you can still lose weight. You can't have an appetizer and a main dish. Also, if you eat out more than once or twice a week, you won't lose weight- too much salt and calories.


Marissa 5 years ago

I've been exercising for two weeks now and i just realized today that i haven't been losing weight anymore. So, im gonna try to change it up and see what happens. This really helped me out and is keeping me motivated to lose weight. Thank you.:)


izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

Marissa~ happy to motivate you and keep it up. Most people give up before they see results. Changing it up helps your metabolism and boredom.


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Leipzig, Germany

Few people realise the importance of varying their eating (and exercise) patterns. And this is more important for those looking to change their weight or fitness. It's only natural - the seasons vary the foods available, as well as the types and comfort of outdoor activities!

Thanks for a well written, informative hub!


izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

THanks nifwlseirf!


faeriemusejo profile image

faeriemusejo 3 years ago from The Frozen North: Alaska

Great tips for breaking things up!


izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest Author

thanks faerie

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