Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau

Last week I only lost 3 pounds. It looks like I have encountered another weight loss plateau. Plateaus are very common in weight loss strategies as you probably already know. Plateaus are more common but not exclusive to people who use calorie restriction as the only means to weight loss.  There are only so many calories you can reduce in a single day. A plan that includes both diet (in many cases not calorie reduction but changes in diet) and physical activity is much more effective for weight reduction.  However, even with these programs people may encounter weight loss plateaus. What can you do to overcome such weight loss plateau?

First, let’s talk about why the combination of diet and exercise in a weight loss program is more effective than just a calorie restriction plan. If you’re using only calorie restriction for weight loss you will definitely come to a weight loss plateau, as you can only go to a certain level (calorie reduction) beyond which can be unhealthy and even dangerous. The other thing is that to do it properly a calorie restriction diet must be done over a long period of time with a weight loss goal of 3-10 pounds per month (often this can be accomplished simply by making more sensible food choices). Why? Well, crash diets for instance are designed for the short term and will work for many people but have only temporary results. This is because the person will eventually return to previous eating habits and gain back all the weight that was lost in the first place. The other problem with this extreme type of dieting is twofold: 1. When the person loses weight she also loses valuable muscle mass. And what type of body mass burns most calories? You guessed it: muscle mass! 2. Unfavorable body composition: when the diet is over and the person gains back the weight the muscle mass that was lost does not return. It is replaced with fat mass. As a result the person is at a bigger disadvantage now than she was before the crash diet began.

So you can see why it is wiser to follow a weight loss program that includes good nutrition and sufficient physical activity. In my case, what I have do now is work on my physical activity component. Up to the present I have concentrated on cardiovascular exercise but at a fairly low resistance levels combined with weight training. I will stay with the same strength training routine but I need to turn the cardio up a notch. As I said in the previous post I use the stationary cycle to warm up and then continue with the treadmill, combining walking and jogging. The cycling part will stay the same – 15 minutes at a pre-set program which includes a warm-up session and then automatically and randomly increases resistance. The treadmill session is 45 minutes long and consists of brisk walking and adding a 1 minute jogging interval every 5 minutes. What I will do is simply increase the jogging duration from 1 minute to two and a half minutes. Let’s see if we can climb over this plateau. Talk to you next week!

By John Tiniakos

Categories: NL Natural Weight Loss Program

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Lost Another 8 Pounds: Total of 19 Pounds in 3 Weeks

As I said earlier, I had just started going to the gym after a long layoff. My workout is about an hour and a half long – give or take - and consists of 45 minutes cardio and 20-30 minutes strength training.


First I start with the stationary cycle for the warm-up and then I slowly increase resistance for a total of 15 minutes. I choose one of the pre-set programs that are available on the bike’s computer. Then I go on to stretching for 15-20 minutes. Immediately following that is the treadmill. This consists of mostly brisk walking with a few bursts of jogging in between lasting for about a minute each – every 5 minutes.  

Weight Room

Here I like to do 2 body parts each time. I do 3 exercises per body part – 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise. The object is to do a different workout each time you go to the gym. You want to sort of surprise your muscles by changing your routine as opposed to doing the same exercises and training the same groups of body parts each time. The main body parts are back muscles, chest, shoulders, stomach, arms (biceps, triceps and forearms) and legs (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves). You’ll notice that because of the time I’ve allotted to weight training I have to really rush through the workout. You don’t want to rest too much between sets and exercises; you want to keep the muscles working.


I made a few changes to my diet but not huge changes like drastic calorie reduction, meal replacement plans, etc. I am not necessarily eating less now but let’s say I’m eating healthier - keep in mind that the introduction of physical activity to my schedule increases calorie expenditure. Basically I did a mental inventory of what my meals consisted of. I realized I was eating too many bad carbs and often combining bad carbs in meals. Instead of combining 2 or more carbs per meal (rice, potatoes, bread, pasta), I went strictly with 1 carb per meal and added a vegetable.  I also switched white rice to brown rice, chose yams instead of potatoes and included whole grain bread and pasta with meals – no white flour products. I also realized that I was having too many snacks. I switched 2 of my snacks to liquid form. For example after the gym I would take a low calorie protein shake or drink. I know I shouldn’t be eating late night snacks at all, but for now I changed them to consist of only fresh fruit or fruit juice (low in sugar).
So over the last 2 weeks I lost another 8 pounds for a total of 19 pounds so far. From now on it will get increasingly difficult to lose weight at this rate but I must continue in my quest.

By John Tiniakos