How To Break a Weight Loss Plateau

weight-loss plateau
No matter how efficient your diet & workout plan, you are bound to face a weight-loss plateau at one point or another. But this does not mean your weight-loss trend has ended, it just means that you need to revise your tactics and fitness routine to overcome the plateau and march ahead! Plateaus are common to anybody who's been on the same diet and exercise plan for a while, which is the reason why you don't see the same results you saw at the beginning. But its not as scary or difficult to break a weight-loss plateau. I've done it myself, and I hope my ideas help you achieve similar results too!

If you've been eating right and exercising often, you've probably been losing weight at a rate of one or two pounds a week. However, as you get closer to your optimum weight, it usually gets harder to lose those last few pounds. You know you've hit a weight-loss plateau when more than two weeks have gone by without any further change in your weight, while you still follow the same regimen! So the first thing you do is review your exercise and diet program, find out what's wrong and make amendments. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started!

Calorie Intake & Diet Plan
As you probably know by now, weight loss is all about burning more calories than you consume. A healthy diet plan is the key, so take a quick look at your food diary, or calorie intake.

Are you still keeping track of your portion sizes, even when you are dining out?
Are you spacing your meals 5 times a day, dividing daily calories between them?
have you recently sneaked in a few desserts or carbs thinking a piece won't hurt much?
Did you switch to sodas instead of smoothies and juices?
Are you drinking enough water?

It's easy to increase your calorie intake accidentally, without realizing how its hurting your diet plan. Remember, a baked potato is not the same as a baked potato with gravy and butter! So evaluate your calorie consumption; maintain a diet hhournal if you like; if you are well above the 1200(for women) or 1500 (for men) daily intake level, you can try cutting down a couple hundred calories to break the plateau. However, if you are consuming less than 1,200 calories a day (1,500 for a man), your body may react by slowing down as a self-preservation measure. This means your metabolism rate falls, and you actually store fat even if you're working out consistently.

Eat 5-6 Times a Day
Eating frequently stabilizes your blood sugar, controls appetite, and keeps your energy up. Ideally, you shouldn't go more than three or four hours without eating something. Doing so slows down your metabolism and makes your body burn fat at a slower rate. Its also very important to eat as soon as you feel hungry - a feeling of hunger indicates your blood sugar is going down, which makes you prone to craving simple sugars. If you're eating three times a day, eat five. If you're already eating five times, upgrade to six or seven. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll be eating more food; just divide your calories into 6 meals per day.

Change Your Workout Routine
"Variety is the spice of life" - and this phrase has never been so fitting to a scenario! It takes your body only four weeks to get used to a workout. Once something becomes a routine for your metabolism, plateaus are likely. The most efficient way to break a plateau is to shake up your fitness routine. Join an online weight loss program to find tips and ideas. If you are used to 30 mins on the treadmill, switch to cycling or kick-boxing instead. Instead of the stationary bike, switch to a Stepper or a StairMaster. Instead of running in the morning, try playing tennis or do some swimming. Use Interval Training to your advantage; short bursts (30-60 sec)of higher-intensity movement, such as sprint, followed by 2-3 mins of less intense exercise like walking. Adding variety to your routine brings revs up your metabolism as the body has to start adapting again.

Add More Strength Training
If you are not doing so already, start lifting weights now to boost your metabolism and burn fat! When you lift weights, your muscle fibers suffer tiny tears which causes you to experience soreness for a couple days; but that's normal. Changing the intensity of the workout helps a lot. Try to increase the amount of weights you lift, or try changing the number of repetitions. Whenever you change a workout routine your body responds by burning fat. Do not under-estimate the power of strength-training; in fact, lifting weights is the best way to conquer that plateau! Challenge your muscles with harder exercises or heavier weights (every 6 to 8 weeks), adding a set of risers during your step class, increasing the incline on the treadmill, the duration of your run/walk, etc… It might seem tough at first as your newly challenged muscles will have to work harder but you will burn more calories and build more lean muscle mass in the process. its always a good idea to do a combination of resistance machines and free-weights, as the latter can increase metabolic rate as high as 10% in one session!

Avoid Alcohol & Drink Water
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Every time you feel the urge to snack, drink a glass of water first and see if the urge goes away. Coffee, tea or any other juices count as liquids, but add an extra glass of pure water for each cup of coffee you drink, as caffeine tends to dehydrate the body. Research has shown that BMR increase by 30%, not to mention flushing out all toxins from your body, thereby contributing to a healthy weight-loss. As for Alcohol, it is a known fact that it contains a large amount of calories, but hardly any other nutrients, and some of these are also high in sugars and fat. Alcohol consumption slows down the fat burning capabilities of the body, as the body focuses on using the alcohol (a toxin) as fuel, rather than burning fat for energy. Alcohol also dehydrates, which in turn, makes you hungry. So avoid Alcohol, and start drinking more Water instead!

Losing weight requires exercise or controlled caloric intake . While its important to maintain a healthy weight, do not get obsessed by it! And plateaus in weight loss are very common; it only means you've successfully lost a lot of weight, and now you need to re-evaluate your regimen to overcome the weight-loss plateaus. Just follow the simple steps above, and you'll be ready to drop a couple more sizes the next time you buy yourself a new dress!

Related Articles:
Best Workouts Outside of the Gym
What to Eat Before & After a Workout
Combine Cardio & Strength Training for Healthy Weight Loss

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Manggy said...

I've actually hit a plateau myself (not that I have been intensely trying to lose a lot of weight), but right now I'm more concerned with how crappy I look in the mirror than actual numbers :P

Anonymous said...

Hi mansi,
Your tips are awesome and its gonna be very helpful to me. I love coffee and I took caffiene three times a day . And a glass of water after intake of caffiene that makes sense. And I totally accept about dividing the food in to 5 times a day. Very nice post.

Anonymous said...

wonderful article! thanks for charting it all out so well:)


Anonymous said...

good post mansi! very good tips and definitely the eating frequently, portion control and eating right along with cardio and strength training is the only key!

Vanamala Hebbar said...

Good one mansi

Sangeeth said...

hey Mansi...I have hit a plateau and now I try out the same things u have written....good article girl sure is full of facts and I can confidently say that it'll work because it works for me :)

Mansi said...

thanks so muhc for your input people!

Manggy - nice to know you can interpret the language of the mirrors:) start lifting some weights now, buddy!:)D

Shriya, Amy, Masalamagic - thanks for the feedback girls!

Sangeeth - I'm sure your comment will inspire others to try these tips too! good luck with your goal, and thanks for your words!:)

Anonymous said...

Hi all i m a newbie here.Found this blog very interesting and willing to visit here on regular basis.Anyway nice tips 2 reduce weight.

Srivalli said...

nice article mansi...

Poonam said...

Hey Manasi, these tricks are so helpful. I am so totally disconnected with exercising and eating light these days because my family was visting me for summer! Thanks for the wake-up call!

Uma said...

nice tips Mansi! That's all I wanted right now. thanks.

Deborah Dowd said...

It is discouraging to hit a plateau, but you have to just work through it. Sometimes a small change like type of exercise or eating pattern can help you break through, but you have to resist the temptation to skip meals, since that is actually counter productive!

Anonymous said...

haha...loved manggy's comment! too close for comfort!! this is very informative....thanks mansi...

Swati said...

Wow, this is a lovely article and very inspiring.. The plateau phase really is irritating but with your tips it will be easier to deal with now..

Anonymous said...

What do you think about using supplements to break a plateau? Some healthy supplements might include Green Tea or Acai Berries, while some slightly sketchier supplements might include thermogenics or energy pills. What do you think?

Mansi said...

I've never been a promoter for diet supplements, especially as they react differently for people..its always better to control your diet and change exercise, as no diet pills can grant u a weight loss without exercise! however, if someone is too desperate to lose weight, they could try some supplements under advice from a nutritionist.

Anonymous said...

With so many diet pills saturating the market today, trying to find the best and most effective diet pill can be very tedious. Chances are, we may end up choosing the wrong diet pill. Phentremine is a natural apetite suppressant and if you are the one who cannot control your cravings for food, then it is just the right medicine for you!

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Weight Loss Blog said...

Everyone who has dieted as hit a weight loss plateau at one time or another. Following the steps above will help almost anyone get past a plateau. I would like to also suggest that if you are struggling to lose weight you watch your sodium intake. Consuming too much sodium (salt) can cause your body to retain water, which will add extra weight.

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Joshua Davis said...

yah, definitely changing up your workout routine is a key to break through a plateau and continue to lose weight fast.

Adding resistance to any workout can make that workout harder, and that can also help you to break through a plateau.

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Admin said...

Plateaus can be heart wrenching you see yourself doing so well then nothing, you feel like you are doing things wrong. Once you get past that plateau you will star to lose weight fast.

rapidweight said...

very good ..
it's interesting for me, thank you .
Dieting is must .

Rich Pinnell said...

Usually I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this article really forced me to do so! Thanks, really nice article.

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Losing weight is simple -- just cut your daily intake of calories and exercise more. When your organism finds it cannot extract the necessary energy from the food you consume, it will start burning the fat deposits in waist and other parts of your body. So, the most natural way to lose weight is to keep to a diet, which reduces the energy your consume and do regular exercises to burn energy. Herbalife

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