- Keep up the motivation, but tone down the tension.
Keep up the motivation, be patient, and try to change your focus for a short time. Sometimes, too much focus and concentration will make one more stressed. This will slow the body down. Just tell yourself to let go, do some meditation or enjoy some yoga classes, and you will progress just as you are supposed to in time.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that by exercising daily, eating well, and maintaining your emotional health, you’re on the right path , and living by the LEAN principles. This is a LEAN lifestyle you are committed to, not the "4-day diet" or the "15-day miracle plan." Temporary efforts produce temporary results. With our Program, you’re in a process. Plateaus can happen. But you’ve made healthy living your way of living, which means all realistic goals can and will be achieved.
The really good news is that most plateaus are temporary and short-term.
- Always remember one basic rule: Weight loss happens when we take in fewer calories than we burn.
Don’t let anybody fool you ….If you’ve been stuck in a plateau for weeks, it usually indicates that calorie input (what you’re eating) is equal to calorie output (what you’re burning through physical activity). The only way to break through a weight-loss plateau is to cut calorie intake further and/or burn more calories through exercise. What you’re aiming for is input that is lower than output.
The following checklist can help you pinpoint the specific steps needed to forge past stubborn plateaus. It makes sure you’re eating plenty of foods that curb hunger, keep you satisfied, and keep calorie input low.
If you answer "no" to 4 or more of these 12 questions, breaking through your weight-loss plateau may depend on your turning these "no’s" into "yes’s."
- Are you eating 5 (preferably more) servings of vegetables a day? Optimally, you want vegetables taking up at least half of your lunch and dinner plates.
- Are you avoiding dry, highly processed foods like chips, crackers, candy bars, cookies, pretzels, dried cereals, bagels, breads, and dried fruit? All dry foods pack a lot of calories into very small packages. One fat-free cookie, for example, has the same number of calories – 60 – as one whole cantaloupe. Yes, that cookie may be fat-free, but it’s dense with calories. And who can eat just one?
- Are you avoiding calorie-containing beverages like soft drinks, alcohol, milk shakes, and fruit and vegetable juices? Liquid calories do not register with your satiety center the same way that calories from solid foods do. I’d rather you eat your calories –not drink them. That means you don’t compensate for the calories you’ve drunk by eating fewer calories later in the day. So unless you’re that rare person trying to gain weight, you want to seriously cut down on liquid calories – or cut them out altogether.
- Do most of your complex carbohydrates come from unrefined, water-rich sources like hot whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, and corn?
- Do your meals consist of foods prepared without added fat, salt, and sugar?
- Do you begin most of your meals with a salad (using a very low-calorie dressing) or veggie-rich soup?
- Do you limit your animal protein to 4/5 ounces or less per day, including when you dine out?
- Do you dine out fewer than 4 times per week?
- Are you listening to your body’s hunger and satiety cues? Eat only when you’re hungry. That doesn’t mean you wait till you’re famished and grabbing everything in sight. Rather, listen for those little hunger pangs that tell you it’s time to eat. Stop when you are full, not stuffed.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, are you limiting your intake to no more than 4 drinks per week?
- Are you doing cardio exercises at least 5 days per week? And are you including at least 1 (preferably 3) bouts of interval training?
- Are you including strength (resistance) training at least 2 to 3 times per week?
Did you say "yes" to at least 9 of the above 12 questions? If so, CONGRATULATIONS! But now, let’s dig deeper. Here are more suggestions for getting past your weight-loss plateau.
- Shoot For 90 Minutes of Cardio.
To overcome a plateau, increase your cardiovascular exercise time to 90 minutes most days of the week. You don’t have to do all 90 minutes in one bout. In fact, you’re better off doing two bouts of 45 minutes each. That’s because it’s easier to maintain a higher intensity (and therefore greater calorie burn) in two 45-minute bouts than in one 90-minute bout. Intensity wanes with long periods of nonstop exercise.
I would not recommend more than 90 minutes of cardio on a daily basis. You’ll burn out! And if you can’t fit two full 45-minute workouts into your day, break up one of them into several 10- to 15-minute interludes. Whenever you’re sitting, ask yourself, "Can I do whatever I’m doing on my feet, such as walking while I’m talking on the telephone, or hitting the treadmill while watching TV?" All these mini calorie burners can add up to major weight losses.
- Change Up Your Routine.
Try new movement patterns, also called cross-training. When we move differently, the body recruits more muscle fibers and heart rate generally increases. The workout becomes more challenging, even for the same period of exercise time. We burn more calories than doing our old ingrained movements, and we boost our metabolism, which means more calories get burned even when we’ve stopped exercising.
There are all kinds of ways to switch it up. If, for example, you’ve been using a treadmill and elliptical for your cardio workout, try stair climbers, swimming, cycles, and/or rowing machines. Also try spinning, kick boxing, or Zumba dancing.
If you’re currently using machine weights for your resistance workouts, try free weights and/or body weight movements. Mix it up even in the same exercise session.
Another great way to ramp up your calorie burn is to try a new sport – or resume one you’ve enjoyed in years past. Love tennis? Sign up for a tennis league at a local club. Love skiing? Get out on the slopes.
Love spending time with the kids? Make after-work hours "fun ‘n fitness" time. Shoot hoops in the driveway. Knock around a volleyball or soccer ball. Rollerblade together. Try out the get-fit video games. The more you move, the more calories you burn…… and the more fun life is.
- Don’t Forget Your Strength Training.
That’s a major slip up because its strength training, more than anything else, which maintains and increases muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more calories you burn, even at rest. Lean body mass uses five times the calories as fat mass. Yes, muscle mass turns you into a lean mean calorie-burning machine.
Throw away the scale. Now, do keep in mind that gaining muscle mass and losing fat mass may cause delays in actual pounds lost (because muscle is more dense), but that’s okay, because you’re losing inches. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. That’s why we see people at our facility who lose two dress sizes or two pants sizes with just a five-pound weight loss. Size is more important than the number. What they’re achieving is far more important than what the scale says. They’re building a body composition that makes them leaner, fitter, more toned, and much healthier.