If you’ve ever tried to lose weight before-you may have hit a plateau. You didn’t change anything, but suddenly your numbers stop going down. The human body is incredibly adaptive, and will do its very best to maintain equilibrium (homeostasis).
The plateau effect is the biggest motivational killer there is. Strangely enough, most popular diet books are quiet on the issue unfortunately. I suppose the concept doesn’t sell well.
The best thing you can do when you run into a plateau is to make a change. Don’t make the mistake and hinder your chances at reaching your target weight by doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (Ben Franklin’s definition of insanity).
So, what changes can you make?
1. Zig-Zag Your Calorie Intake
Zig-zagging is the process of fluctuating daily calorie intake, while leaving your weekly intake unchanged. For example, if you typically consume precisely 1800 calories each day – you could mix it up. Eat 1200 calories one day, and 2400 calories the next. This can be as simple as halving then doubling a portion size, or adding a post-workout shake into the plan. It will keep your body guessing.
2. Change Your Exercise Routine
If you typically walk a lot then try jogging, or swimming, or even cycling! Anything that will change the way your body is working. If you are doing a low intensity cardio workout, then try something a little more intense.
3. Strength Training
If you are not doing this as part of your program or lifestyle, then it’s time to start. Working your muscles will help to strengthen bone tissue, increase lean mass, and ultimately boost metabolic rate. The higher your metabolism the better!
4. Alter Macro-nutrient Intake
Although it sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Once again, the idea is to change what you are eating. For example, If you are eating a moderate diet that is higher in carbs – try eating less carbs and more protein. If you have a carbohydrate snack every day during breakfast change it to a protein snack. Whatever you are doing consistently – try to mix it up.
5. Change Meal Frequency
If you are eating three square meals a day – start eating five meals a day with smaller portion sizes. Eating more often can not only help you to eat less, but it can also increase your metabolic rate.
Many dieters work diligently at following a fairly rigid diet, having three strength training sessions per week, and as many as seven intense cardio sessions a week. After 3-4 weeks – the fat simply stops coming off. The frustration is enough to make anyone take their meal plans, crunch them up and throw them away in disgust. Furious and disappointed many dieters give up thinking “it’s pointless”. Why put yourself through a rigid diet with intense workouts if you aren’t benefiting with lost weight?
The plateau effect is the biggest motivational killer there is. The best thing you can do when you run into a plateau is to make a change. Don’t make the mistake and hinder your chances at reaching your target weight by doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You have to roll with the punches; hopefully the tips provided above will help you do just that.