Plateau Busting Ideas
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I've been researching ideas for how to bust a stubborn plateau and get the scale moving again when it gets 'stuck'. Most of us have heard these before,but sometimes, an old idea might feel 'new' when we hear it again or it just might 'click' when our memory is jogged a bit. Here are some of the ideas I've found in random order:
Take time to re-enter your information into the set-up area of Sparkpeople - depending on the amount of exercise you are now doing, or how much you've lost, your calorie range may have changed. This should be done about every 10 pounds.
Check out what you are drinking - cut out coffee creamer, sugar, coffee syrup, soda and juice - empty calories can add up quickly here!
Have you started to 'eyeball' food - pull out those measuring spoons/cups/scales and make sure your 5 oz of meat is really 5 oz! Or your 3/4 cup of cereal isn't actually a full cup.
Watch out for 'extra bites' while cooking or cleaning up after meals.
Shake up your workouts:
Type - what you do
Time of day - when you do it
Duration - how long you do it
Intensity - how hard you do it
Frequency - how often you do it
Change resistance levels - add incline/weight, etc
Increase your water
Add fresh lemon juice to your water - it's a metabolism booster
Decrease carbs, increase protein.
Add in some 'activity bursts' - 10 minutes of walking, bike riding, dancing, etc - try to throw one in every hour, or at least two or three here and there throughout the day. It adds up quickly and keeps your metabolism revved high all day.
Eat often - divide your calories into 5 - 6 small meals a day.
Drink green tea - a drink that speeds metabolism and helps to detox your organs.
Drink a cup of warm water with lemon juice before bed - same reasons as above.
Eat a little MORE - have a "free" meal on Sat and/or Sunday (not all weekend, though). Letting your hair down a little relaxes your body, can settle cravings and cause your metabolism to speed up again. It can break a 'starvation' mode if your body has settled into one. But, get right back to it. It's a planned 'free' meal of something you really like/want, but it's not a 'binge'. Stop as soon as you are satisfied.
In the same train of thought, have a 'rest' day once a week from exercise - so your body can regroup, refresh and not put you into 'starvation' mode from too much exercise.
Make changes to your workouts every two to three weeks - some people even said every day! Do something totally different to keep your muscles challenged and confused as to what you might ask next of them!
Make a chart or graph, a paper chain to cut links off of, or something 'visual" so you can 'see' the progress you've made already, and get excited about adding to it. Make losing weight a game and it becomes more fun, and will ignite enthusiasm by adding a new perspective to the process! (I have several pictures of my own charts and motivators in my picture gallery if you'd like some ideas)
Alternate calorie levels within your range - from low end to high end.
Cut out evening eating - or stick to fruit if you just have to eat after 8 pm.
Here is an odd one - donate blood! One woman said when she hit an unshakeable plateau, she would donate blood and it seemed to get her metabolism going to have to generate new blood to replace it!
Reduce or eliminate foods with sugar - they cause your body to produce more insulin, which tells your body to store fat. Even artificial sweeteners play havoc in your system. Satisfy your craving for sweets with fresh fruit. Cut the sugar and watch the pounds drop!
Try a spin class for a week or two. You will literally melt off pounds with this intense workout, which is fun and makes an hour fly by like nothing else, as you follow the instructor and pedal to some great heart pumping music!
Stay positive - when you look in the mirror, say encouraging things to yourself! Progress and new excitement is just around the corner! But, not if you get depressed and feel hopeless!
Add intervals - repeating 5 minutes at your normal pace, then a minute of increased pace while doing your cardio session really boosts metabolism and calls on your body to burn fat.
Get your addiction out of the house - whether that be chips, chocolate or peanut butter, get rid of it so it's not calling your name all day.
One woman’s remedy: increase cardio by 10-15 minutes, eat fresh pineapple (a natural diuretic) and stay off the scale for a week or two.
Remember that 30 days stuck at your new weight is way better than 3 days at the weight you started at!
Stick with it - exercise and eat right just as hard or harder on a day you feel extra lazy or hungry - ESPECIALLY on those days, because that is usually when your body is about to drop new weight and when you will see the most results.
Look for 1 small thing to change in food (such as what salad dressing you are using) and 1 small thing to change in exercise (adding intervals, or adding a new exercise video). Just 1 small change in each of these two areas can get things moving again.
Add some good fat – like olive oil, avocados or almonds.
Plan ahead - don't just 'fly by the seat of your pants'. Having a plan in place beforehand makes it easier to win over whims and temptations that come along almost daily.
Work with a personal trainer every few months for new challenge, motivation and ideas. Too expensive? Ask for a training session or two as a birthday, Christmas or anniversary gift.
Eat 'Clean' - cut out processed foods. Stick to fruits/veggies, lean protein, whole grains, lowfat dairy, healthy fats and nothing else! The 'Eat Clean Diet' by Tosca Reno is a great book on how to do this, and there is also a magazine called Clean Eating that is excellent!
Dance! Take a class in zumba, salsa, square dancing or line dancing
Confuse your body - eat more, eat less, eat more carbs, eat less carbs, eat more protein, eat less protein, drink more, drink less....you get the idea. Confusion is the key to keep it moving!
Make sure you are getting enough rest!
Last, but not least, realize that plateaus are a healthy and normal part of real weight loss - it takes TIME for your body to adjust and make changes. It's working hard for you, but you can't rush the process. Enjoy and relish each new pound, no matter how long it takes to get to the next one!