If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, congratulations. That means that you have stuck to your weight loss plan long enough for your body to catch up and make adjustments to maintain your current weight. Weight loss plateaus are normal and almost every dieter hits one during the course of a successful diet and exercise program.
So how do you get over the hump? Don’t look at your plateau as a negative thing, look at it as an opportunity to re-evaluate and make your program more stable. Plateaus are a good reminder to check-in. Ask yourself these questions and use the quick fixes to re-invigorate your weight loss program.
10 Quick Fixes for Weight Loss Plateaus
- Have your portion sizes increased? You probably measured your food in the beginning of your diet. But have you gotten less careful about eating the correct portion size? It’s easy to make tiny increases in the amount of food you pour into a bowl or spoon onto your plate. Those portion size mistakes can add up at the end of the day. Quick fix: Take a week to measure your food again, just like you did at the beginning of your diet. Use a digital scale to get an accurate reading. You might be surprised at how your portions have increased.
- Are you counting calories correctly? You may be tracking your daily intake of calories and nutrients with a paper journal or an online app, like CalorieCount.com. Are you still careful about including every food you eat? Have you gotten sloppy about tracking your food intake? If you’ve started to enter foods by memory, there is a good chance that you are either forgetting a food here and there or entering an incorrect portion size. Quick fix: Take your journal with you everywhere you go. Set an alarm on your smartphone if necessary to remind yourself to record your food intake.
- Should you re-evaluate the number of calories you need to eat? If you have lost weight successfully so far, the number of calories you need to eat every day has probably decreased since you started your plan. Now that your body is lighter it needs fewer calories to move through normal daily activities. Quick fix: Go back and re-evaluate the number of calories you need to eat to lose weight. Use an online calculator or any of the other methods to get an updated number that will get you past your weight loss plateau.
- Has your fitness level improved? If you started a new exercise program and you’ve stuck to it, your fitness level has probably increased. That’s great! But it also means that your body doesn’t have to work as hard - or burn as many calories - to complete the same amount of work. You don’t necessarily need to increase the amount of activity that you do every day, but you do need to make some changes. Quick fix: If you are healthy enough for vigorous activity, now is a good time to add high intensity interval training to your weekly schedule. You can also begin a circuit-training program. A circuit workout builds muscle and burns calories with aerobic activity in a shorter period of time. If you have the time, you can also add a second easy workout to your day with a morning walk or evening bike ride to burn extra calories.
- Are you active during the day? Do you compensate for your workouts by spending the rest of the day sitting at your desk or laying on the couch? Your daily non-exercise activity is a big factor in the number of calories you burn every day. If you are sedentary for most of the day, you’re not taking advantage of a major calorie-burning component. Quick fix: Boost your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) by adding movement to daily tasks. Stand up and work at your computer, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do easy household chores while you watch television. Small changes can have a big impact when you are in a diet plateau.
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