What is a weight loss plateau? This is the point at which you stop losing weight during the course of a weight loss program. Once most people reach this point they have a very difficult time losing any further weight. And this is the most frustrating part of any diet or weight loss plan.
It is also the reason that most dieters give up on their weight loss efforts. You fought so hard to lose a substantial amount of weight and then suddenly you hit a brick wall. You can’t lose another ounce, no matter how much you continue to diet or exercise. You feel disappointed, defeated and you surrender. Then you develop guilt feelings and a vicious cycle begins.
Well, what if I told you it doesn’t have to be that way at all. In fact, most people can overcome their weight loss plateaus with the right system – unless there is a medical reason that hinders their weight loss.
Because everyone has different metabolic rates and genetic make-ups, weight loss plateaus and the rate of overcoming them may vary from person to person.
Overcome Your Weight Loss Plateau in 2 Steps:
The first and most important thing is to eat less food on a daily basis. “That’s it?” you ask. This is so simple and trivial it sounds stupid. You were probably expecting some complicated diet plan that involved food combining, complicated meal planning, or excluding entire food groups – something of that nature, right? Sorry to disappoint you.
The fact remains, that weight gain and weight loss is directly related to input and output. And the first thing you need to do is reduce the input part. How many calories do you need? To see a formula that can calculate exactly how many calories you need for weight loss, see my e-book at http://www.nulife-weightloss.com/natural.htm.
The fact that you are overweight simply means you are consuming more calories than your body burns on a daily basis. Over time, these excess calories are stored as fat and before you know it you have a hard time fitting into your clothes. And you try to convince yourself that your clothes have shrunk (not that you have gained any extra pounds).
The other reason this factor is important to keep in mind, is that many diets out there falsely claim you can lose weight no matter how much of their foods you eat. And one of the arguments they use is that certain macronutrients are much less fattening than others. Or that a certain combination of foods has some magical or scientifically proven effect on weight loss.
In all fairness, however, it is true for example, that protein has a greater impact on thermogenesis than carbohydrate. In other words, you burn more calories during digestion and absorption of protein than you do with carbohydrate. At the same time, though, there are several important factors to remember here.
First of all, diet induced thermogenesis (DIT) has very little effect on weight loss (as low as 3% of the total daily energy expenditure - TDEE). For this reason, if you eat too much protein, DIT just cannot burn it fast or effectively enough. In other words, at some point your body will begin storing this extra protein as fat.
Secondly, your body naturally burns between 60%-75% carbohydrate during physical activity. It stands to reason then, that the same percentage should represent your daily intake of carbohydrate. The key is to cut down on refined carbohydrates and increase your consumption of whole and fresh carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole gains etc. REF
On the food combining issue, there hasn’t been any substantial scientific evidence that links different food combinations with weight reduction.
The second crucial factor for overcoming weight loss plateaus is participation in regular exercise. That is, healthy eating, that includes a proper amount of daily calories combined with an effective exercise routine will help you break your weight loss plateau, guaranteed.
Why people who exercise cannot break their plateau.
The main reason most people have a problem surpassing their plateau is because they use improper exercise methods. The theory that moderate exercise for 3 or 4 days a week is enough to lose weight is essentially not true. This method might produce a little initial weight loss, but is just not enough to get you passed your weight loss plateau.
Your target should be at least one hour of cardiovascular exercise at an intensity of 65%-85% of your maximum heart rate - in other words, at a fairly vigorous level of intensity. Exercises could include, cycling, jogging, cross country skiing (or machine equivalent), step climbing, power walking (that includes walking on inclines), etc. Furthermore, you must exercise at a frequency of 5-7 times per week.
One way to turn the fat burning process up a notch - to get even better and faster results - is to include high intensity training in your workout routine. This involves training near your maximum heart rate for shorter time periods. Examples of this are sprinting, skipping rope, walking or running up a hill, etc. One way to combine the two methods is, for example, to jog for 45 minutes and follow that with 10-15 ten-second sprints with 30-60 second rest periods in between.
Believe me, train this way and you’ll see those last 10, 20 or 30 pounds literally melt off. If you are not in the physical condition required to perform at this level then you can work towards this goal gradually. If you’re new to exercise or if you train at much lower levels you should get clearance from your doctor first.
Once you reach a body weight that you’re comfortable with, you can switch your workouts to the weight maintenance level. That is, you can reduce the exercise frequency to 3-4 times per week while training at the same intensity. That’s it.
So remember, eat healthy, get off the computer and get into the training mode. Unfortunately, they haven’t invented the magic weight loss formula we’re all dreaming about…yet. Good luck!
About the Author:
John Tiniakos helps make weight loss easier through proven weight loss methods using information and analysis from the worlds leading scientists. For more information and to subscribe to his free monthly newsletter that includes valuable, up to date tips on diet, weight loss and health visit http://www.nulife-weightloss.com/natural.htm (scroll down the page to find sign-up form).
http://www.nature.com, International Journal of Obesity: “Similar weight loss with low-energy food combining or balanced diets”, retrieved 26 June 2006 from http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v24/n4/abs/0801185a.html
http://www.findarticles.com, “Exercise, the cornerstone to weight loss - Tech Brief”, retrieved 27 August 2005 from http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is