Most of us have been in the situation where once we commit to working out every day, and change our nutrition habits, we start seeing results on the scale pretty quick........but then at one point we feel like we have hit a rock! Why is this? This happens when you have reached the so called "weight loss plateau". What is this, you might ask? Once you start losing weight, your metabolism declines, which in turn is causing you to burn less calories than your body used. The result is that when your calorie intake is the same as the calorie you burn, you hit the so called weight loss plateau. But the good news is that there are ways to move past that plateau:
- nutrition choices - I have never been, and probably will never be a fan of calorie counting! I personally don't believe that this is healthy. But what I do believe in, is that we need to be smart about our nutrition choices. Keep your food intake to a lot of green vegetables, as clean as possible (meaning no processed food), and as lean as possible (chose the good and healthy fats). There is a lot of information out there on what healthy nutrition is, but I always try to follow one simple rule - listen to my body! Start listening to how your body reacts to different foods, listen if it is really hungry or not, listen to when you and your body feel at its best......and this is when you will figure out what is the best and healthiest nutrition for you and your lifestyle.
- snacks - what is extremely dangerous are all the small snacks here and there in between meals. We might be eating very healthy at the main meals, but opt for some not so healthy options when it comes to our in between snacks. A lot of times we don't even realize this! So, one thing that is extremely helpful in this situation is to start journaling your meals throughout the day! You might laugh and think that you don't need it (this is how I always felt about this idea), but the truth is that if done properly (really writing down every bite you have) it can really help you see just how healthy you really are eating. I would even take it one step further, and record also how I feel (mentally and physically) after each meals or snack......this helps you realise really easy what foods give you energy and make you feel at your best.
- workout - are you doing the same type of cardio every time? Or keeping your workout routines the same? Then maybe it is time to mix things up a bit - try new workouts and classes. Include a HIIT workout (more on that in the coming weeks) couple of times a week. The point here is to keep your body guessing and keep mixing up different workouts each day.
- muscle mass - try to increase your muscle mass......I am not talking about gaining huge muscles, but about toning up your body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day, which in turn results in leaner you.
- hydration - I am sure you have heard it many times before, but it is extremely important to stay hydrated throughout the day. In between meals, when you feel hungry, have a glass of water.....what we don't realize is that a lot of times we feel hungry, we are actually not hungry, but thirsty instead. Very often we confuse dehydration (even if very minor) with hunger, because the symptoms are so similar.
- sleep - not getting enough sleep will prevent us from losing weight (especially in the mid section). This is because when we don't get enough sleep our body produces more of the stress hormone called cortisol. In addition, we might feel more hungry than usual throughout the day
When you feel frustrated that you are not losing weight, or you feel like you are stuck in terms of achieving your fitness goals, try implementing some (if not all) of the above mentioned aspects. Again, we are all different having a different lifestyle, so along the way make sure you listen to your body to create the best possible solution for yourself and your lifestyle.