Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

Weight Loss Plateaus: How to Breakthrough

February 5, 2009

weightloss1Weight loss plateaus are one of the most frustrating things a person can experience, especially when you’ve been sticking to your diet and keeping up with your exercise routine. I know how difficult it is, because I see it etched on my clients’ faces everyday. You’ve kept up with your fitness regime and you workout on a regular basis, so why did the weight stop coming off?

The reason weight loss plateaus happen is, in a word, adaptability. Our bodies are amazing machines and they are built to adapt to any situation, and this adaptability includes caloric intake. So, if you started a fitness routine and put yourself on a diet lower in calories, you’ll see results in the beginning because it’s a change and your body needs time to adjust to it. But, once your body gets used to living on a restricted diet and adjusts to your exercise schedule, it will stop burning these calories, and in fact, it will begin to horde them in order to survive. That’s how a weight loss plateau happens, and it becomes especially problematic when you workout a lot. Because our bodies need calories for energy, it stands to reason that you need a bit more if you exercise. The good news is that it only takes a few minor tweaks to kick start your body and begin to lose weight again.

Add Calories to your Diet

Believe it or not, you want to add approximately 200-400 calories, depending on your body weight, a day for 2-3 days to your diet, in order to jump start your weight loss once you’ve hit a plateau. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but you have to fool your body into believing it doesn’t need to hold on to every piece of food you put into your mouth in order to survive. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should go off and grab a meal of burgers and shakes; you can easily add these calories by eating two small snacks a day. The healthiest way to go about this is to eat 10 nuts (any variety) and one piece of fruit twice a day. But it doesn’t stop there, because you will need to make a few minor adjustments to the types of exercise you do and the way you go about your workout, which is a good idea anyway because it helps keep your fitness routine from becoming stale and boring.

Adjust your Fitness Routine

Again, we are talking about fooling your body into losing weight, so you want to metabolically adjust your heart rate by changing the type of exercise you do. You only have to do this during the same 2-3 day period you are adjusting your diet, so don’t worry if you think you aren’t keeping up with the workout schedule you like, you can go back to it after this period of time. The easiest way to switch things up is to incorporate walking into your exercise routine. When you are going on these walks, you want to go fast than slow, than fast again than slow. This keeps your metabolic heart rate from staying at one level, and each time you speed it up, your body kicks into high gear. Remember, our bodies adapt to any situation, so if you stay on a constant pace, your body will adjust and stop burning as many calories.

it’s also important to keep in mind that you don’t want to severely limit your caloric intake on any diet. You may think you’re doing the right thing because you see results, but all you’re really losing is muscle weight, which is disastrous because muscle burns more calories than anything else. Of course you want to look at your diet and make sure you are eating healthy foods that aren’t too high in calories and fat, but that doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Maintaining a regular workout routine will help speed up your metabolism, so if you are incorporating exercise into your fitness plan, you need to eat more calories as well. But again, you don’t want these to be empty calories; your body needs the good stuff like protein and good carbohydrates, in order to keep up.

So, how about you? What have you done in the past to breakthrough a weight loss plateau? What have you found that does and doesn’t work? Please leave your comments, questions and suggestions, so we can all learn from each other.

If you want anymore information on how to start a new fitness and nutrition program, please visit us at

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