Top 5 Tips to Move Beyond a Weight Loss Plateau

After weeks or months of successful weight loss, hitting a plateau in your progress can feel like you’ve been hit by a brick. This is also the time that many give up on achieving their goal. You may think you’re doing all the right things, causing you to scratch your head and wonder what’s wrong with your body.

While it may feel like you’re the only one in the world suffering from a weight loss plateau, that’s far from the truth, as most people with a large amount of weight to lose will experience it at some point. This is not the time to give up, and by following these tips, the odds are you’ll be back on track and losing stubborn pounds in no time at all.

Tracking your eating and exercise habits

If you haven’t been tracking all of your eating and exercise habits, start now. It’s easy to underestimate the calories you’ve eaten each day, and many of us tend to over estimate the amount of physical activity we get as well. If you’ve been writing everything down, analyze those records and see if you can spot an increase in eating and/or a decrease in exercise.

If you have room, cut back by 200 calories a day, but be sure you’re getting at least 1,200 calories each day; less than that can not only be unhealthy, but can backfire by slowing your metabolism. It can even put your body into starvation mode. Try adding healthy calories by eating fresh fruits and vegetables between meals, and make sure you’re eating some healthy fats which can actually help you burn more body fat over time. These include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats which are found in foods such as olive oil, almonds and walnuts, avocados, soy milk, tofu and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines).

Increase and/or intensify your workouts

Even if you’re exercising arduously,your body may have become used to your routine.  Try increasing the length of your workouts, from 45 minutes per session to 60 minutes, for example, or if you’re a jogger, try increasing your speed or adding hill running to your routine. Interval training is also an excellent way to boost the amount of calories you expend.  You can do this by incorporating lunges or sprints  into your running routine.

Add more activity throughout your day

It’s important to keep moving. Even those who exercise an hour each day can experience problems losing or maintaining weight if they’re sedentary throughout the rest of the day. By moving more, your metabolism will increase and you’ll burn more calories. If you sit at a desk most of the day, try to do some of your work standing up or get up and walk around the office as often as possible. Take the stairs whenever possible, and if you ride the bus or other public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.

Cross-training

During your “off” days, try adding a different form of exercise to complement your regular routine. Working other muscles that aren’t used as much during your normal physical activity is an excellent way to boost your metabolism and move past the weight-loss plateau. Weight-training, Yoga and Pilates can all help you improve your core and are excellent cross-training workouts for most everyone.

Stay hydrated and get your Zzz’s

Don’t allow your body to become dehydrated, or you could be causing your metabolism to slow down. Drink at least eight glasses a day so that your body can process calories effectively.

A lack of sleep can also cause a weight loss plateau. Inadequate sleep will encourage your body to store more fat and can also make you more lethargic during the day which will cause even more fat storage.

Most importantly, don’t give up!  By following these tips, you will ultimately achieve success.

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