Q: How can I bust through a weight-loss plateau? I've been working really hard and have been having success; however, the scale hasn't budged for the past two and a half weeks.
Let me just tell you this, a weight-loss plateau is an integral part of weight loss. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! It is your body's way of protecting you for survival purposes. The weight-loss plateau occurs because your body thinks there is a famine and has slowed your metabolism in order to conserve calories. This will happen periodically throughout your weight-loss odyssey.
That said, a plateau will usually break on its own after about three weeks, but here are several ways to help get your metabolism back on track quickly!
1. Variety: Often we fall into an exercise routine — meaning that we do the same workout regimen for weeks at a time. Think of it like this: if you do 10 push-ups after not working out for months, you will be sore, but if you do 10 push-ups a day for 10 days in a row, you will no longer be sore. This is because your body adapts to your exercise program, and as it adapts, the workout becomes less challenging — and, unfortunately, less effective.
The solution is variety. You have to mix up your exercise routine in order to consistently shock your system. Here are a few different ways to mix up your workout:
Alternate the weight — one week lift heavy, and the next week lift light.
Change the number of repetitions. This usually goes hand in hand with the amount of weight you are lifting: one week heavy weights, low reps; the next week light weights, high reps.
Change the exercise: One week do a chest press, the next week a chest fly, and the next week push-ups.
2. Intensity: The best way to speed up your metabolism is to boost the intensity of your training. By picking up the intensity, you'll burn more calories, challenge your body, and literally force your metabolism to burn a little brighter because of all the energy your body needs to complete your exercise regimen.
1. Eat more: Ninety percent of the time plateaus are caused by your body's survival mechanism of protecting against famine, which is triggered by calorie reduction. The best way to fix this quickly is to give your body a little more food so it feels secure. Varying your calorie intake is my best advice for keeping your body from plateauing: For the next three days vary your calorie intake between 1,800 and 2,400 calories. I know this may sound crazy, but trust me...I know what I'm doing. Then, after three days, drop back down to the calorie allowance that I have set for you through this program.
2. Reduce your sodium and DRINK LOTS OF WATER: Keep your sodium under 1,500 mg a day at most for as long as you can manage. You can achieve this in part by cutting all processed food out of your diet for two weeks.
I promise you that if you follow these tips to the letter, your plateau will be shattered by the end of week 2!
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