Weight loss, fat loss and fitness plateaus are possibly the most discouraging things on the planet. You have been on a strict diet and exercise plan when all of a sudden, it stops working. You stop seeing changes and feel like all your hard work is for nothing. It’s not true!! It may just require a little tweaking….let’s take a look!
1) Diet- If you have been on a specific diet for a while, your body may have adapted to it. It could also be that you may have inadvertently strayed off the plan a little too far. Write it down! Write down what you eat (every bite and sip) and make sure you are staying on track, whether you’re counting calories, portion sizes, macronutrient ratios- whatever you use to keep good healthy fuel in your body. Keep on eye on starches like fruit, potatoes, squashes, grains and sugars- those will stop fat burning instantly.
2) Switch Up Your Workout- Your body adapts to what you are doing for exercise fairly quickly, especially if you have been physically active for some time. Make sure you’re not doing too much cardio (no more than 40 minutes a day) which can use muscle and fat for fuel. You might want to try something new. Eyeballing the spin class at the gym? Get in there! Wanting to try Crossfit? Go get em! Don’t have a gym membership? Go try one! Most gyms offer a week pass to try their facilities and classes to see if it’s a good fit for you. Get a personal trainer. Even if it’s for a short time, they can help you switch up your exercise routine.
3) Sleep- Are you getting enough sleep? Sleepy time is your body’s reset time. If your body can’t rest and reset, you are going to be more moody and vulnerable to all sorts of temptations that come in sprinkles, chocolate and more. Try this- one hour before bedtime, turn out most of the lights, computers, iPods and either take a bath or read. Taking time to relax and reduce stimulus before bed is proven to help you get a better nights sleep.
4) Stress- Are you stressed out? Being constantly stressed can exhaust your adrenal glands and send your hormones through the roof. Cortisol, in particular, can be good in small doses, but when the body is stressed, it releases excess cortisol which will halt any fat release from your body. So, chill out! See a counselor, talk to your spouse, find a support group, journal or blog- do whatever it takes to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
5) Keep on Keeping On- You may have lost a lot of weight initially, but it can’t continue that way for long, as you would starve and waste away. Weight loss slows and fluctuates which is why it can be useful to use measures like body fat and clothing to determine success. You have to give your body time to adjust. If you have a set program, try amping up the intensity or increasing your weight factors. If you stress about being in a plateau, you most certainly will stay there. Keep your chin up and keep putting forth your very best effort in each and every moment.