Hitting a weight loss plateau can cause even the most dedicated to give up on their ultimate goal. After weeks of experiencing success, you probably thought you were headed down a smooth road that would quickly lead to triumph and a whole new you, when suddenly you hit what might feel like a brick wall. Several weeks may go by, and you think you’re still doing all the right things, but that scale just won’t budge. It’s easy to feel defeated, but this is not the time to throw in the towel. Breaking free from that plateau can be done, and the following strategies will help get you back on the right track to losing those stubborn pounds.
Intensify your workout efforts
You may still be exercising diligently, but the odds are, your body has gotten used to your routine. If you’ve been jogging at 5 mph, for example, you may need to try running a little faster or adding hill running to your workout.
Interval training is a great way to boost your exercise program. Try incorporating sprints or lunges into your running routine. For example, you might add sprints every five minutes, or stop and perform several sets of lunges. If you exercise on indoor equipment, you can increase your speed periodically, or stop the machine every five-ten minutes and perform lunges or weight training exercises.
You might also try increasing the length of your workouts, from 30 minutes to 45 minutes per session, for example.
It’s important to give your body a break from the high impact pounding it takes during a run or other high impact activities, as well as to allow your muscles to rest and recover after any intense exercise. Working other muscles that aren’t used as much during your preferred physical exercise during off days is a great way to boost your metabolism and break from a weight-loss plateau.
Core strengthening exercises such as Yoga or Pilates are excellent cross-training workouts for almost everyone. Your body uses its core for nearly every type of physical activity, and you’re likely to improve your performance during your regular workout as well.
Increasing muscle strength by weight training is also an excellent complement to most any routine and will increase your metabolism and help you lose weight faster.
Incorporate movement in your daily activities
Even if you exercise regularly, remember that the more you move throughout the day, the higher your metabolism will be, and the more calories you will burn. This is even more important for those who have a sedentary job. Begin a good habit by standing while you talk on the phone, and remember to get up and walk around your office every hour or so. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking your car further and walking that extra distance will also go a long way in pushing your body to burn calories more effectively.
If you allow your body to become dehydrated, your body’s metabolism will slow down. Your body needs water to process calories. It’s important to drink at least eight glass of water a day, and preferably more.
Be sure your diet includes some healthy fats
While it may be tempting to cut all fats from your diet, this is not the best way to accomplish weight loss, and it can be counter-productive. Bad fats increase cholesterol but good fats not only protect your heart and support overall health, but they can help you burn more body fat!
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats. They can be found in foods like olive oil, avocados, almonds and walnuts, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines), soymilk and tofu.
Don’t restrict your calories too much
If you don’t eat enough, your body’s metabolism will slow down and even send your body into starvation mode. Try adding healthy calories by eating fresh fruits and vegetables between meals.
Time to Cleanse?
Perhaps your body is overloaded with toxins and impurities and it’s time to cleanse? Whilst many people, including most alternative health practitioners, believe cleansing diets are one of the most effective ways to lose weight, some mainstream doctors still believe they are unnecessary.
The theory is that toxins (there are thousands in our foods, water and environment) can attach themselves to fat cells when they enter the body and cause a range of health issues, including weight gain.
A cleansing diet targets these toxins and helps the body to release them, at the same time releasing the fat cells it was attached to.
Many celebrities, health experts and medical practitioners endorse a cleansing diet as a healthy way to return the body back to its natural balance and assist with weight loss.
Don’t give up. By following these diet and exercise strategies – and I stress that exercise is an important factor of any weight loss program - you will achieve success!
If you are aware of any health problem which may compromise your general health, it is important to seek treatment. A Health and Wellness Counselor may help you, to bring you back in balance and to good health through, detoxing, healthy eating and living, create a proper diet suited for your condition, advise natural remedies, herbs, wholefood supplements and organic cosmetics.
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !