It’s been 3 months since you decided to take the initiative of living a healthier lifestyle. The fat has been melting away at a rapid pace leaving you feeling like a million bucks. Your confidence is at an all time high. You can’t believe how easy the weight loss journey has been.
Suddenly, two weeks have gone by and ironically the scale hasn’t gone down. There has to be something wrong with the scale. How can the weight loss just come to a screeching halt?
For almost everyone attempting to lose weight, there comes a point when they reach that inevitable plateau wall. Their motivation and determination are soaring but the results are sinking. Plateaus are going to happen. It’s what you do when the plateau comes that will determine your success.
Plateaus are a sign to charge things up again, modify your strategies and keep moving forward to your ultimate goal. Rather than throwing in the towel and going back to your old ways, try some of these tips to “reignite your engine.”
Mix-Up Your Workout
Variety is always an important factor in a weight loss program. Without change you might find yourself dreading going to the gym for your workout. You lose interest and just start going through the motions without much effort. On top of that, your body can become used to the same caloric burn and muscle action. You would be surprised at how well your body is able to adapt to the same stress put on it.
Fire up your metabolism by increasing the intensity of the workout. Increase the speed as you exercise and do short burst interval training. Another great way to increase the intensity is to cut your rest periods between sets. In other words, if you are resting for 1 minute between sets try shortening that to 45 seconds.
A general good guideline is to switch up your workout routine every 4-8 weeks depending on the program. I usually change my workout program every 6 weeks. This gives me enough time to make consistent progress yet not get bored with the same routine.
Add Some Muscle
Yes even ladies can benefit from adding on some muscle. Trust me ladies, you will not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger if you pump a little iron. Muscle mass determines our basal metabolic rate (the number of calories burned daily during rest). More muscle can lead to more fat potentially being burned even while we are sitting on the couch.
If your fat loss continues to slow down, try adding some more intensity/weight to your resistance training program. Don’t stop your resistance training and add more cardio. I promise that is not the answer and will not help accelerate your fat loss.
Be Sure To Rest and Recover
Recovery is an essential part of any exercise program. Proper rest allows your muscle fibers to grow and prevents stress hormones from elevating when we over-train. You are essentially tearing your muscles in the gym during resistance training. It is the rest of the day when your muscles are repairing and being “built.”
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is also crucial for health. It is said that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after midnight. I am a firm believer in this statement. I find it comical when people brag about only getting 4 hours of sleep a night. I will continue to get my 7-8 hours of sleep each night, thank you very much!
Keep a Food Journal
I realize this can be quite inconvenient and time consuming. However, it is a great way to see where your nutrition problems are arising. Often times people underestimate how many calories they are eating. Studies have shown that folks underestimate their caloric intake by as much as 40% on a daily basis.
A slice of bread here, a handful of chips there-it all adds up very quickly. When we are continuing to lose weight, we are more inclined to loosen up a bit on our nutrition plan. I am all about enjoying an occasional guilt-free meal, but just don’t make this a regular occurrence.
So for one week, write down everything you eat. Yes, even that little Hershey kiss that is only 40 calories. A food journal is an honest look into what you are actually eating, not what you “think” you might be eating. Food diaries allow you to realize where your “faults” are occurring. You might also think twice about eating that chocolate bar if you have to write it down.
If you are looking for an online food journal, FitDay.com is an awesome tool. It is free and extremely easy to use.
Chillax is not some type of muscle relaxer to help with muscle spasms. It is a slang word my friends and I use from time to time. It basically means to just take a chill pill and relax. You probably have enough stress in your life with work, relationships, and other obligations. The last thing you need is an additional layer of stress added to your hectic lifestyle.
Losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle should be a fun process. Does it take hard work and dedication? You Bet! However, it should be an enjoyable journey that allows you to feel better about yourself, not stressed to death.
I truly believe that stressing too much over fat loss or muscle gain can have a very negative impact on your body (I know this from first hand experience). Just Chillax and have fun with your health quest.