Getting Past the Plateaus
If you started a New Year’s resolution to get to a healthier weight and have reached a plateau, I have done some research to find a few tips that might help you get back on track. I’ve always felt that when you hit a plateau, it’s time to find another mountain to climb.
Review your habits. Make sure you haven’t slowly reverted back to some of your old habits, like eating larger portions, stopping at the coffee shop for a mocha grande and a muffin, or deciding to skip your exercise routines. An honest review may help you understand why the weight loss has halted.
Eat lean proteins at each meal and snack. Protein foods suppress ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite. Foods high in fat actually raise this hormone, causing increased hunger, and eating meals or snacks that are mostly carbohydrate often make people feel hungry shortly after eating. It’s the protein foods that really help to keep people feeling full. One of my go-to protein snacks is cottage cheese with blueberries.
Step it up. To burn more calories, increase your workout by 15 minutes, add another day to your weekly routine, or increase the intensity of your exercise. Try alternating intervals of high and moderate intensity. Add strength training to increase your muscle mass which will help burn more calories even at rest. And to give your muscles a new challenge, vary your type of activity. (Try Healthy Body Project with Michelle LeComte at Healthy U, see Service Directory on A-4.)
Think outside the gym. Increase your activity throughout the day by walking more, using your car less, taking the stairs, doing more gardening and yard work and cleaning your house. When I am working in downtown Cave Junction, often I will walk to the post office and bank to increase my daily steps.
Use an activity tracker to track your steps. 8,000 -10,000 steps a day is the goal for overall good health, but you may need to aim for 12,000-15,000 for weight loss. Most smart phones come with an activity tracker app, and they are fairly easy to use.
Be careful about cutting too many calories. Lowering your caloric intake is important for weight loss, but make sure you’re not going below 1,200 calories if you’re a woman or 1,500 calories if you are a man. Keep your metabolism active, so it doesn’t want to hold on to those stubborn fat cells.
Get 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night. Believe it or not, a good night’s sleep even aids in weight loss. A regular bedtime can help and turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before bed.
Manage stress eating. Use a distracting activity like drinking a cup of hot tea, going for a walk, calling a friend, writing in a journal or doing a craft like knitting or coloring.Cravings usually only last about 45 minutes, so if you distract yourself, you should find you’ve gotten past them.
Watch restaurant overeating. Share food with a friend or order a takeout container with your meal; put half your food in the container before you start eating and you have lunch for tomorrow!
Reassess your weight goal. If you’ve tried all these tips and you still are unable to lose more weight you may want to revisit your weight-loss goal. Celebrate the success you’ve had and the weight you have lost. Is the goal you’ve set for yourself realistic? Consider consulting with a registered dietician or health care provider to discuss your concerns.
Getting Past the Plateaus