You’re not sure what’s been happening to your weight-loss progress — or the lack thereof. It makes no sense. You were on a roll just a week before, so surely your weighing scale must be deceiving you. Or perhaps someone has been tampering with it by playing some sort of particularly cruel joke on you. Alas, your weighing scale is likely working just fine. Weight-loss plateaus actually very common and can happen to most people. Multiple factors may be behind your own individual case, but in most cases, it could be down to muscle loss. When you lose weight, your body may be burning both your fat stores and muscles to make up for the lack of its preferred energy source, carbohydrates. Muscle usually sparks your metabolism, the rate at which your body consumes energy, so if you lose more muscle, your metabolism can begin slowing down, too. Here are some steps you could take to push yourself past that weight-loss plateau.
Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Fitness Regime
Since muscle loss is a major cause of this setback, rebuild all that muscle you just lost by adding strength training to your fitness regime. Compared to your typical cardio, strength training focuses on increasing muscle strength and tone. Many women worry about becoming far too bulky if they begin strength training. But chances are, you are probably never going to gain as much muscle as you think. Women just lack the physiological capability to build muscle. Unlike men, most women lack testosterone, a hormone that plays a major part in muscle growth. You are only going to get as buff as the men you would typically catch, pushing their limits by pumping iron until they drop at the gym if you do more than one of the following:
- Complement your fitness regime with steroids
- Eat massive amounts of protein
- Lift extremely heavy weights every single day
But if that still hasn’t convinced you, try starting with really low weights at the gym or perhaps join a beginner yoga class. Yoga offers you a more balanced approach to strength training, helping you build leaner muscles while calming your mind all at once.
Consider Taking Up High-Intensity Interval Training
If neither traditional resistance training nor yoga tickles your fancy, consider a bit of high-intensity interval training. As the name suggests, high-intensity interval training involves alternating periods of low-effort and extremely high-effort periods of exercise. You should easily be able to access a wealth of high-intensity interval training routines from the internet, so you could very easily work out at home if you so desire. In fact, studies have shown that, over time, these short bursts of high-intensity cardio sessions are more effective at encouraging fat loss than your typical 45 minutes of steady cardio on the treadmill. Furthermore, high-intensity interval training may also lead to greater production of catecholamine and growth hormone levels, both of which are instrumental in fat-burning. They also make you less likely to binge on food by encouraging the release of hormones that are responsible for suppressing appetite.
Keep A Food Diary To Keep Track Of Your Dietary Intake
While you’re at it, try re-assessing what you’ve been eating by keeping a food diary. This will help you become more aware of everything you’ve been eating, right down to the reason why you’re eating, how much food you’ve been eating and the times you tend to eat. It may be all too easy to indulge in excessive snacking in between healthier meals you’ve set as part of your weight-loss program. Food diaries can also help you be more conscious of sneakier high-calorie bombs such as those high-sugar beverages you’ve been drinking whenever you feel thirsty. Sometimes, the need to go through the trouble of recording every single thing you eat can even make you think twice about eating too much.
Assess Your Stress Levels
Stress can be a real killer in every sense of the word. Whenever you’re stressed, your body releases higher levels of the hormone cortisol which tends to accelerate fat production. Furthermore, plenty of people tend to stress-eat since higher cortisol levels stimulate higher levels of insulin, causing your blood sugar level to drop, and making you crave fatty, sugary food. This can interfere with your weight-loss goals, thus extending that plateau. One easy way to keep your stress levels low is to make sure you’ve been getting enough sleep. If you’ve been trying out more strength training or high-intensity interval training, you’re going to need all the sleep you can get to recover from the soreness you may feel afterwards.
Hydrate Yourself More Often
One can never emphasise strongly enough on the importance of remaining hydrated. Studies have shown that drinking water stimulates your resting metabolism rate. If you don’t like water, try hydrating yourself with more cold water instead — cold water burns more calories than lukewarm water anyway.