Has this ever happened to you? You've cleaned up your diet significantly, and begun a consistent workout regime. With all the commitment and hard work, you see your weight begin to drop. Then, all of a sudden, the scale becomes stuck on a single number and won't budge.
If you have experienced this frustrating train of events, it's important to realize that a weight loss plateau can be normal even when continuing a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Even more importantly, there are successful ways on how to bust a weight loss plateau.
5 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau
1. Tweak Your Diet
The calories burned at a higher weight will not match what the body will burn after pounds have been dropped. Metabolism starts to decrease with weight loss and can ultimately slow down further weight loss. Even though calories should not be the primary focus, they play a critical part in dropping pounds and need to continue to match the body's needs. Reevaluate the diet after approximately 10 pounds has been dropped. Continue to reassess every 10 pounds until a weight goal has been achieved and weight maintenance is desired.
2. Shake Up Workouts
Continuously repeating the same workout routine can not only get boring, but the body starts to get familiar to the repeated motions and can lead a weight less plateau. High intensity interval training (HIIT) can help to burn fat more effectively when the regular routine starts to become less effective. Although aerobic exercise is important for cardiovascular health, pairing with strength and resistance training provides further benefits. An increase in muscle mass will burn calories even when the body is inactive at rest, an appeal for weight training just in itself.
3. Monitor Your Diet
Calories can be sneaky. If weight remains stable after tweaking the diet and shaking up workouts, try keeping track of foods consumed. Even though so-called "cheat" foods still have a place in the diet, a chocolate chip cookie or an extra scoop of ice cream can add up if continuously consumed. Embracing a balanced diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, non-fat dairy products, and healthy fat sources can help keep the diet in check.
4. Evaluate Sleep Patterns
Weight loss and a healthy lifestyle include more than nutritious foods and exercise. A need well rested is extremely important for weight loss and maintenance. Even though the research is still a little unclear, data suggests that the hunger hormones can become altered and not enough sleep can contribute to diminished energy for physical activity. Ultimately, too little or too much sleep has the ability to increase the likelihood of weight gain. Adults should be aiming for seven to eight hours each night.
5. Stress Reduction
Day-to-day responsibilities have the ability to provoke stress. Stress and discouragement can be further exacerbated when the scale will not budge. Initially stress can decrease appetite, leading to a caloric deficit and an ultimate weight loss contributor. However, stress also triggers cortisol to be released. Cortisol has the ability to increase appetite and lingers in the body for a longer span of time. The long-term elevation of cortisol and appetite outweighs the initial decrease in appetite. Some individuals seek out food for an emotional outlet when stressed, too. Stress implications on the diet are not ideal when trying to lose weight. To minimize feelings of stress, try stress-relieving techniques such as reading a good book, listening to the radio, writing out frustrations, and taking a peaceful walk.
Can Stress Cause Weight Gain? WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/can-stress-cause-weight-gain.
Sleep and Weight Gain. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-and-weight-gain/faq-20058198