If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that you’re at one point or another going to hit a weight loss plateau. What you decide to do at that time is going to have a large impact on your success. The following 8 tips will help you out when you inevitably reach that sticking point.
This needs to be said, as even the most patient of people suddenly become impatient when it comes to weight loss. If it’s only been a week, or even just a month and your weight hasn’t changed, don’t stress out. Weight loss is a process, not an event. Getting fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life. If you’re consistently eating right and exercising, the body fat will come off. Notice I said body fat. It’s important to make that differentiation right now. The important thing is that you’re making progress. Weight is not the only determining factor.
This is one of my favorite eating methods for those people that are carbohydrate sensitive. You are able to eat just as many carbohydrates as usual, but instead, you mix up low carb and med/high carb days. Stick those high carb days on intense workout days, and use the low carb days for when you’re resting. In my opinion, there’s no better way to add muscle and drop body fat than carbohydrate cycling.
Increase Your Calories For a While
As our weight goes lower, so does our calorie intake. How low can you really go though? Your metabolism slows down as you lose weight, and rightfully so. Give your body a break and try increasing your calories to maintenance levels for a week. I think you’ll find that once you return to a hypo-caloric environment, your weight loss progress will pick back up. Let your body know that it’s not starving.
Try a Different Workout Routine
Nutrition is just one part of the fat loss equation, although it is the biggest part. Exercise also plays a large role. It’s not uncommon for your strength training progress to stall out when eating fewer calories. It’s imperative that you maintain your muscle mass as you lose weight, or else the weight you lose will be valuable muscle. If you find that you aren’t making strength progress anymore, but your nutrition is spot on, try changing up your routine. It might be all that you needed to get over your plateau.
Time Your Carb Intake
Carbohydrate intake and timing can make or break your weight loss. I am by no means a low carb advocate. Many people are very successful eating a high carb diet. That is something only experimenting can determine. However, a common denominator for success is when people time the intake of those carbs to around times when your insulin sensitivity is highest. When is that? Your first meal of the day, and the meals around your workout. Sometimes just shuffling your current carb intake to those times can break you through your sticking point. Give it a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised!
Cheat meals can be a tricky thing. You don’t want them to be an excuse for bad eating, and you definitely don’t want them to work against your goals. A cheat meal does not mean a binge-fest. You could very easily wipe out that 3500 week-long calorie deficit with one day of binge eating. Instead, plan out your cheat meal ahead of time. Try eating 50% more calories than you average the rest of the week. Doing so can “reset” your metabolism and many of the hormones (leptin, ghrelin) that have begun to make it difficult to lose weight. Try to keep the fat intake low on this day and focus on eating carbohydrates and protein.
Set-points are a tricky topic to write about because there’s no clear evidence they exist. On the other hand, there is plenty of real-word personal accounts of them occurring. Set-points are particular body weights that we tend to have a problem breaking through. They usually are a weight that you were fluctuating at for a long period of time in your life, and they tend to be the weight that most people end up getting stuck at. Is it mental? Physical? I’m not sure, but I do know that they can be broken through with a little patience, and you can create new set-points at lower weights.
Start Logging Your Food
It’s a tedious process, but one that becomes very helpful when you’re faced with stalled progress. Are your calories too high? Too low? What about your maconutrient breakdown? Maybe you could do better with fewer carbs, or maybe you aren’t getting the protein requirements that you need. While you can do a good job guesstimating once you’ve been doing this for a while, there is no substitute for tracking calories. The extra work will pay off in the long run.