Wellness Wednesday: Battling the Weight Loss Plateau

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You’ve been diligent in your diet and exercise, and have been rewarded with better overall health and a loss in both inches and pounds. Now, however, the scale seems to be stuck and isn’t moving despite your continued hard work and dedication. You have entered the dreaded weight loss plateau.

Don’t be discouraged. Weight loss is seldom a straight and steady line, and it’s completely normal for your progress to slow and even stall completely. This eventually happens to everyone who has tried to lose weight. Here’s why: during the first few weeks of weight loss, you cut calories and your body gets its energy by releasing glycogen- a form of stored energy found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen is partially composed of water, which means that when glycogen is burned for energy, water weight loss occurs. This is temporary, however, and soon the water weight comes off.

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As you lose weight some muscle is lost along with the fat, meaning that your metabolism also drops slightly, since your lean muscle mass is basically a metabolic engine for burning calories. This slow-down in metabolism also means a slow-down in weight loss. When the number of calories you eat is approximately the same as what you burn, your weight loss slows. To continue loss, you’ll need to either increase the number of calories you burn by increasing activity or reduce the number of calories you consume. If you’ve decided that you want to continue to lose weight, try the following tips to push past the plateau:

Check Yourself:

Reassess your habits. Have you gotten lazy in your meal prep? Lax in your portion control? Have you slacked off at the gym? If you haven’t been as diligent as you were in the beginning, the slump you are seeing in weight loss might be the result.

Trim the Edges:

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 Trimming your calories by another 200 should help jumpstart your weight loss again. Just don’t drop under 1200 calories per day. Eating this little makes you more prone to the type of insatiable hunger that makes you more prone to overeating

Rev the Engine:

If you don’t feel like you can trim more calories, try revving up your workouts instead. Increasing the total duration of your workout by 15-30 minutes or increasing intensity translate to more calorie burn and a better shot at weight loss.

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Lift:

Say it with me now. Weight lifting builds lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is a calorie burning engine. Therefore, increasing your lean muscle mass translates to more calorie burn. So go pick something up and put it back down.

Take It On the Road:

 Don’t think that all your activity must be within the confines of the gym. Walking an extra 10 blocks instead of taking the subway, carrying your groceries and your kids instead of pushing the stroller, and carrying your own golf clubs all count as more activity. So get on it!