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Top ways to beat a weight loss plateau
Body Works Fitness Tips

Community Columnist

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Top Ways to Beat a Weight Loss Plateau

When you're trying to lose weight, the question isn't whether or not you'll hit a plateau, it's when. Plateaus are like bad weather on a long hike: it's inevitable that you'll run into it, but knowing that in advance won't make it one bit less frustrating or annoying when it happens. Cheer up! Since plateaus are as common as rain, we have a pretty good idea what to do about them. At least one of the following techniques should help you break through a plateau and start losing again.

Be Aware of What You Are Eating

When clients tell us they've stopped losing weight,one of the first things we ask is this: How many calories a day are you eating? Calories have a way of creeping up while we're not paying attention. Be brutally honest with yourself: How much are you eating? Using a food diary for a while is a great way to monitor this. And yes, sodas and alcoholic beverages count! As well as, salad dressings and condiments!

Change It Up

When you're not making gains in an exercise program you change your cardio routine. Try running a little faster or changing the terrain. If you aren't a runner, give it a try! Biking and stairclimbing are also an option! Your body's gotten comfortable, so it's time to shake things up.

Take Your Workout Up a Notch

Forget the ''fat burning zone.'' High intensity intervals -- 30 to 60 seconds -- are the wave of the future. If you're accustomed to level three on your cardio machine, ramp it up to level six for a minute then slow down, catch your breath and repeat. Ever see a sprinter with love handles? Training like a sprinter will lower your body fat faster than any technique I know of, plus it'll boost your metabolism and lower your weight.

Strength Training

If you're not strength training, start now. And if you are, ramp it up a notch. Muscle can be one of your greatest tools in breaking a plateau. Ladies; don't be afraid of heavier weights. They should be heavy enough that you can only do between 12-15 reps for most weight loss programs.

Take Inventory

Other things besides diet and exercise could be stalling your weight loss, such as stress, lack of sleep or medication. Take a look at what else is going on in your life that might need attention. Sometimes when you clean up the problems in one area of your life, problems in other areas just naturally take care of themselves.

Everyone hits plateaus during their weight loss programs. It is just a matter of figuring out where the problems lie, and fixing them. Try some of these ideas and you are sure to find something to help you ''break through the wall.''