One of the most common frustrations in weight loss is when all progress halts and your weight levels off. The one-month milestone can be particularly challenging — as the newness of a diet has worn off, people tend to loosen up on the reins. In other words, calorie intake tends to sneak back up and we unintentionally scale down on exercise. What’s more, as you lose weight, you may need to adjust your caloric intake to a lower level. That’s because your metabolism typically slows down in response to an initial weight loss. Simply put: The smaller you are, the fewer calories you burn. If you’re diligently sticking with your original plan and your weight is at a standstill, consider trimming 200 daily calories.
Here are four simple strategies for breaking through a weight plateau:
Boost your metabolism
Since your metabolism naturally slows down as you lose weight, exercise is the obvious way to keep it stoked. Try adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes of cardio exercise to your daily routine. You'll burn at least 50 additional calories. Also, add two to three days of strength training. As your weight goes down, you not only lose fat but also a small amount of muscle. Since muscle is critical to keeping your metabolism revved, losing it can reduce your metabolic rate and hinder weight loss. Strength training helps to preserve and build muscle to get your metabolism humming again.
Check portion sizes and get rid of extras
After following a diet for a few weeks, we often loosen up and begin to grab this and that. It’s amazing how much extra food we can munch on without realizing it — so try to eat mindfully and consider keeping a food log for accountability. Also, pay attention to your beverages (alcohol included), as well as what’s going into your coffee and tea. And get out your measuring cups and food scale again. Most dieters routinely underestimate portion sizes.
Remove all starchy carbs with dinner
You'll save a few calories when you omit pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, corn and peas from your dinner. Instead, fill up on lean protein and lots of plain (no fat added) nonstarchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, peppers, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini and lettuce.
Don’t eat after 8 p.m.
Try to eliminate nighttime snacking for a few weeks (even though it's typically allowed on my plan). When you're through eating dinner, put closure on food by drinking an herbal tea or other decaf tea. You can also try flossing and brushing your teeth; this is a good thing to do after ALL your meals, in fact. You may even want to try the Crest Whitestrips after dinner —you have to keep them on for 30 minutes and you probably won't WANT to eat after you take them off. If you must have something in the later evening, stick with low/no-calorie options like sugar-free/fat-free Jell-O.
For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy’s Web site at www.joybauernutrition.com