Hey Guys! Usually I hate Sundays, but it’s kind of hard to hate today honestly when it’s this gorgeous out.
I have been getting a bunch of messages from people who have lost some weight, and are now frustrated because they are dealing with the dreaded plateau.
Maybe some of you have experienced this: You’re tracking calories, working out consistently and the weight is coming off. The one day: The scale just. won’t. budge. Sometimes this can go on for days, a week, or even a few weeks. Now what?!
Even though it’s completely normal for a weight loss plateau to happen, it can often send a dieter off track….and into a box of cookies. I’ve been there, trust me. I would think, “If I’m being so good and it’s just not working I might as well say screw it!” But what I have learned is: you CAN be strong and start getting back on track again. Try at least one of the following tips, and I’m sure you’ll be back on track in no time.
Here are five important things to know about hydration and exercise:
1. Don’t eat the same amount of calories every day.
In theory, you’ve got to eat less to lose more, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you just have to change it up. Here’s one way to do it: If your average daily intake is 1,600 calories, try dropping to 1,400 one day, going up to 1,800 the next day, and then dropping back to 1,400. The idea is to keep your metabolism guessing. There’s no magic number that works for everyone, so you need to experiment and see what works for you and your body. Please note: On the other side of the spectrum of giving up when you hit a plateau is going to unhealthy measures to get the results you want. Don’t restrict your calories because you are just desperate to get over that hump. DO NOT DO THIS. Eating too little can mess up your metabolism, mess up your body, and completely just mess up your emotional relationship with food.
According to Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards, what happens when you zigzag is that you force your body to choose how many calories it needs to recover from the rigors of your exercise program. “Most people who hit a plateau are undereating. If you are indeed undereating, adding calories for a few days, then lowering them again, will help you force your body into a hormonal response that will not only help you break out of a plateau, but—as you learn to recognize the signals—will teach you how much food you should be eating.”
2. Change up your fitness routine.
If you do the same workout each day, it will become less and less challenging and as a result, less effective. If you push yourself to new levels of strength or exhaustion, you’ll definitely see results. Here are some ways you can challenge yourself:
- Swap your jog for a bike ride.
- Try weights with your cardio routine.
- Add intervals of high intensity to really make you sweat.
- Drop to the floor for 10 push-ups right now!
The idea is to put your body through something different. According to Edwards, “The better you get at something, the easier it becomes. That’s why we’re always telling you to add more weight as you get stronger, and to move faster and jump higher as our programs progress. But it’s also why all of our programs have phases of training. As your body adapts to stimulus, you need to change that stimulus in order to keep results happening.”
3. Eat some almonds.
Almonds are one of my favorite snacks. I have some every day on my train ride home from work (with some dark chocolate chips..shhh). Plus there’s actually some research that indicates that they can help you burn fat. That’s because they contain fiber and fatty acids—the good kind of fat that helps you lose weight. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared two groups of people who ate a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet. As part of their daily diet, one group ate 3 ounces of almonds every day. The other group ate a mix of complex carbs. What happened? The group that ate the almonds lost more weight.
So next time you go for a snack, try a small handful of almonds! If not almonds, any nut would work (not peanuts, they are legumes).
4. Get more sleep.
It is also possible that you could be training too hard which can lead to a plateau. An over-trained body holds on to weight as if it were starving. There’s no better way to see if this is what is causing your plateau, than to sleep more. In Robb Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution, he recommends 9 hours of sleep! I know that this is near impossible for most people, but seriously, do it WHENEVER you can. Also, try to sleep in a pitch black room (hard for me because I’m terrified of the dark). If there is light coming from any source, it can effect your sleep. The reason sleep is so important, is that your body recovers much more quickly from exercise when you are asleep.
In a study at the University of Chicago Medical School, they found that during a period when the participants were deprived of sleep, they metabolized glucose less effectively. They also had higher levels of cortisol, which has been shown to impair memory, increase insulin resistance, and slow recovery in athletes.
Believe it or not, stress can TOTALLY make you plateau. When you’re stressed, your body sends out higher levels of cortisol that can cause your body to hang on to fat. “Cortisol is actually a performance-enhancing hormone,” says Edwards. “But it’s gotten a bad rap because we’ve begun living our lives at too high a volume. Cortisol is released at times when the body is in an emergency state. It increases performance, but only over a short period of time. When cortisol is released and forced into action at regular intervals, it causes your body to wear down and switch to more drastic means of survival, like holding on to excess amounts of body fat. Your life shouldn’t feel like one big emergency. As a society, we need to learn to be more tranquilo, as the Spanish say.”
We get stressed for many reasons, but it is usually caused by what is going on around us. One of the best ways to combat stress is to spend some time alone. If you’re the type who can’t let go, try some relaxation techniques like yoga. I often listen to a guided meditation on my way to or from work. You can download apps on your smart phone that have this.
If you feel you need a lot of help, dig into an intense workout program. If you’re not into yoga, then consider at least adding some stretching into your schedule. Turbo Fire (the program I’m currently doing) comes with two stretching dvds. It’s really important.
I hope this helps you!!!