You did it. You have committed to a healthier you. You have methodically planned your meals and workouts, and showed up 100% of the time pushing past blood, sweat and tears.
At first, the pounds just rolled off as you watched a new body emerge. But then something happened; those numbers on the scale suddenly won’t budge and they haven’t for what feels like weeks. What could be the reason for your sudden halt in weight loss? These eight tips are sure to help you break through the dreaded weight loss plateau.
Let’s Start With Diet
Okay, so maybe your eating habits are way better than they have ever been. In fact, I bet you can’t even imagine some of the things that you used to eat. However, ask yourself: could your eating habits be even better?
1) First Things First – Ditch The Processed Foods
If you aren’t much of a cook, you may not like the idea of ditching processed convenient food. In fact, this may be the toughest part of the commitment yet. However, from cereals to protein bars, these factory foods are not only extremely unhealthy, but they could be what’s keeping you from reaching your goals.
- Nutritionally lacking. Typically, processed foods are severely lacking in nutrients. Even when nutrients are added and foods are “fortified”, these nutrients are often blocked by an anti-nutrient known as phytic acid, which is found in almost all grains. Cereals, breads, and many other snack foods are filled with grains such as corn, wheat, bran, legumes and even nuts, which all contain phytic acid. I’m not telling you to quit grains; just don’t rely on processed food for your nutrients. If your body doesn’t feel nutritionally satisfied, you are going to continue feeling hungry.
- Way too much salt. A lot of people fret about table salt, but the real sodium problem lies in eating processed foods. Good salts like sea salt and Himalayan salt actually have many nutritional and healing properties. However, most processed food contains high amounts of sodium as a preservative, which causes water-weight gain and water-retention.
- Processed foods are inflammatory for a variety of reasons. Not only can inflammation cause you to hang onto extra weight, it also leads to pretty serious health problems.
2) Eat Fiber-Rich, Water-Filled Foods
What your mum told you was right: you need to eat your fruits and vegetables, and a lot of them. You can’t go wrong with these natural goodies. Not only are they nutrient dense, but they are fiber-rich and water-filled, which helps the body to eliminate waste and feel full faster.
The other great thing about vegetables and fruits is the fact that they are filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are readily available and easily absorbed by the body, which will help to curb your hunger.
3) Don’t Be Afraid of Fat, Or Over-Restrict On Calories
Now forget what your mum told you about fat, because she was completely wrong. However, it’s not her fault: we were all told, “Fats are bad!”. However, we are discovering that healthy saturated fats (yes, there is such a thing) are not as bad as we thought, after all. While it may seem counter-intuitive, foods like avocados, grass-fed meats, sprouted nuts, and coconut oil are healing, nourishing, and can keep weight off with their satiating nature!
In addition, if you are cutting way back on your calories, and yet overdoing it at the gym, your body may begin to think that you don’t have access to calories to sustain you, also known as “starvation mode”. When your body goes into starvation mode, it actually holds onto weight and calories and this can wreak havoc on your metabolism and even cause you to burn muscle instead of fat.
Next, Let’s Look At Your Workout Regimen
Initially, your workouts were tough and you had a ton of extra fat calories just waiting to be burned. However, now you are much leaner and not only are you accustomed to your workouts – your body is, too. You may need to kick it up a notch!
4) Switch Up Your Workouts
We are creatures of habit. We like what we like. But over time, the body gets accustomed to our workouts and knows exactly how many calories to hold onto or expend. Instead of sticking to the same old tried and true workout routine, switch it up! Challenge yourself in a variety of ways. We have so many options available to us with varying benefits and physical demands. For instance, if you like Pilates, keep doing it, but don’t do it five days each week. Mix in some swimming, jujitsu, hiking, or anything else that may pique your interest.
Add In Some High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training is great because you can expend a lot of calories in a short amount of time while beefing up your endurance. You don’t need fancy gym equipment, either. You can literally achieve this workout just by doing sprints. The basic idea is to get your heart rate up to about 80-95% max and hold it there for seconds or minutes at a time, depending on your comfort level. After you’ve kicked your butt, relax and stabilise your heart rate back down to around 40-50%. Repeat this same pattern for around 15-20 minutes.
5) Do a Cleanse
Often a nutritional cleansing diet can help address the root cause of weight issues, and help the body gently remove toxins and impurities which may have been holding back your dieting efforts. There is a link between toxins and your weight, and many people believe that environmental toxins are stored in fat cells. Just don’t be tempted to do a short-term fad juice diet – in the long run it will do more harm than good.
6) Could It Be Stress?
Life can be stressful! If you find that you have a lot going on emotionally or commitment-wise, perhaps you shouldn’t also be stressing about these last few pounds… for now. Stay committed to your health and workouts, but relax a little and focus on what’s truly important at this moment. Stress has been shown to cause us to hold onto weight, so iron it out and then come back and kick some ass!
7) Get Your Hormones Checked
If you try these dietary and physical recommendations and nothing seems to change, it may be time to talk with your doctor about getting your hormone levels checked out.
Foods That Fight Inflammation, Harvard
Recent advances in the relationship between obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance, European Cytokine Network
Saturated Fat and Health: Recent Advances in Research, Lipids
What is High Intensity Training, Baye.com