Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weight Loss Stalled? Don’t Give Up

For most Americans, their New Year’s resolution list includes “lose weight”. Whether you have a little or a lot to shed, it’s important to stay motivated. Some people give up a few months into the year, but for those die-hard fans of a better body, you keep at it day after day waiting for the first glimpse of change.

Funny Smile You Are Losing Weight Fitness Cent...
(Photo credits: www.mydoorsign.com)
When it happens, not only do you notice, but so do family, friends, and co-workers. This reinforcement along with the dropping numbers on the scale, spur you on to victory.

Then, one day, the numbers stop falling. You are still thirty pounds from your goal and the scale refuses to budge. What should you do?

One thing you definitely should NOT do is give up. Look at it this way: You aren’t losing weight, but you aren’t gaining weight either. Plateaus are experienced several times over the course of a weight loss program. In the beginning, weight loss is steady because it’s new to the body. Your increased metabolism and decreased caloric intake work to shed those pounds. Water loss accounts for at least the first ten pounds of weight loss. As your body works to adjust to your physical activity, more calories are burned which translated into more weight lost. Plateaus come when the body has become accustomed to the routine. Don’t stress. Giving up will put you right back at square one.

First of all, throw out the scale (if it was expensive, just pack it away in the back of the garage). You may have heard this before, but it’s true: Muscle weighs more than fat. If weight training has been a component of your weight loss program, then as the muscle mass increases so will your weight. You may still be losing fat, but the weight of the increased muscle balances everything out. But you're still getting healthier. Increased muscle mass also means an increase in metabolism, which keeps you burning fat longer and on a more consistent basis, even when you're not working out.

weight training
weight training (Photo credit: midwestnerd)
To jump off of your current plateau, examine your diet and exercise program. If your fitness routine hasn’t changed since the beginning, consider making a few changes. Try a new activity. If you’re used to aerobics five times a week, switch to the treadmill or an elliptical trainer, try Yoga, Pilates, or weight lifting. Muscles need to be challenged on a regular basis in order to grow, and switching up your routine is one of the best ways to shake your body out of that rut - plus it's more fun when you have a wider variety of activities to choose from anyway!

Also consider what you are eating. If you’ve been having a free day more than once a week you could be taking in too many calories. Go back to what you were doing at the start of the program. Keep journals for a couple of weeks to track what works for you and gets the scale moving again.

Remember, change one thing at a time. When you change something, give the change a full thirty days, and then check the results. Weight loss isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding to reach your goal, and will give you a healthier body and a healthier life.

For some tips for staying motivated and having fun with your workouts, be sure to visit this blog regularly, and also check out this website for some helpful resources: http://www.newholisticliving.com/exercise.html

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