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Hitting a weight loss plateau when you’ve been working so very hard to lose weight is one of the quickest ways to discourage you and derail your efforts. But you’re not the first to deal with such a thing. It is a common experience for most dieters and anyone trying to lose fat. You feel stuck no matter how hard you push yourself. You’ve already cut your calories and intensified your workouts, what more is there to do? It’s time to really dissect your daily habits and get to the root of the plateau and kick it in the behind.
Take a moment and write down your day-to-day activities from workouts to meals. Are you ‘cheating’ more often than you realize? There are many ways that calories sneak up on us that aren’t as apparent as eating a big, juicy cheeseburger or downing a half-gallon of ice cream. Just a little thing like the type of milk you use each day in your coffee can make a big difference in your estimated daily calorie intake. But if you still can’t pinpoint the culprit in your eating habits, look at your workouts. Our bodies need adequate rest to build muscles. If we over-train, our muscles become tired and aren’t able to work as efficiently. Make sure you have a day or two of rest each week. Some find that when they struggle to continue to lose weight, they resort to supplements to help get them up and over the plateau they have reached. Many of these products are either temporary fixes or a complete waste of time. Do your research before starting any kind of supplement routine. Remember, eating right and exercising is really the best way to kick those pesky few pounds.
Still not sure what the problem is? Then it’s time to change up your weekly routine. Doing the same workout day in and day out will cause your muscles to adapt and stop working as hard. During the initial stages of a new routine, the energy expended is increased because the body is unfamiliar and must work harder to regulate the changes. Push your body to the limit and try new exercises. Look into a class you are not familiar with at your gym or a studio. Break out of your zone of comfort and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Hot yoga and pole dancing classes are growing in popularity and are something new and fun to try that will help give you a boost.
You’ve taken a moment to glance at your eating habits already, but did you take into account any weight that you’ve lost? When the pounds start coming off, it can be easy to be less diligent. Your portion sizes slowly begin to get bigger again and more ‘treats’ find their way into your day. And as you lose more and more weight your body requires fewer calories to thrive, which must be taken into consideration when determining a healthy calorie range for you to strive for each day. Take the time to recalculate your body’s caloric intake needs and start a food journal to keep track of each day.
Even if you do not seem to be losing weight according to the scale, be sure you are keeping accurate measurements. Muscle is more dense than fat, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. Chances are if you’re eating healthy, balanced meals and getting enough exercise, you are losing inches of fat. As frustrating as it is to not see the numbers on the scale go down, don’t be discouraged. Hitting a plateau can be viewed as a good thing, believe it or not. How? It means that your body has less fat to lose. And it means you’ve come a long way from where you began. Continually make adjustments as needed with your activity level and push your body past your comfort zone and you will reach your physique goals.