Saturday, September 15, 2012

Overcoming Plateaus

To Plateau: To reach a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress. Sound familiar to anyone? I hear a lot about plateaus from a lot of people in regards to losing weight. A stint of progress gets halted and frustration sets in. There are many different reasons why people reach plateaus in weight loss. Usually it has something to do with falling into a routine of doing the same things exercise-wise, eating the same foods over and over, decreasing in focus, letting small bad habits sneak back in, etc.

The truth of the matter is that the body wants to be as efficient as possible. When a person does the same exercise routine over and over it becomes easier. The body becomes accustomed to what it is doing because it is becoming more efficient at it. This is why I believe that it is very difficult to run a great deal and lose weight. This is also why I am such a believer in interval and circuit training. By keeping the body constantly challenged and guessing you will never reach the point where the body is comfortable. Hence, you will fight reaching a plateau.

This can happen with food as well. However, I think more to the effect that people fall into a less strict place where they let bites, licks, chews, handfuls, and tastes of foods they probably shouldn't eat sneak back into their diet. While it may seem like little tastes and handfuls shouldn't matter or make that much of a difference, they are usually just the perfect amount of excess calories to keep you from making any progress. Think about it, a few hundred calories here and there add up.

NOW. If you relate to knowing what a plateau is, you probably would like to know how to get over that plateau and on with your progress. These tips may help you to shake things up and get losing!

1) Stop with the monotonous cardio. Make your cardio count. You can KILL some calories quickly if you do it right. Intervals and circuits are where its at my friends. Get your heart beating!
Here we have my darling mom and sis working at some KILLER circuits! 

2) Be perfectly consistent. Yep...I just posted all about how important it is to be consistent and here I am saying it again. This is because it makes all the difference. One week of solid effort is not going to do much for you, unless that one week translates into another week...and then another. Give your body a chance to adapt to your new way of living. It will respond.

3) Make your meals count. Eating Habits make all the difference. If you aren't seeing success in your weight loss, the chances are that you are not eating as well as you think you are. I hate to say it...but your sneaking bites here and there aren't helping you. They actually do count.

4) Go to bed. The body needs sleep, and not sleeping can be a big part of your reason for a lack of progress. Your body needs that time to recharge and repair itself. On top of the need for sleep, not having sleep can cause people to fall into some poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and will definitely sway a person to feel as if they "don't care" and will "start over tomorrow." That mindset will NEVER get you anywhere.

5) GET RE-MOTIVATED! One major part of overcoming plateaus is finding the motivation to get going! Once you see some progress, the progress itself helps increase motivation, but the initial boost to get going can be difficult! Set some goals, and DECIDE to make them happen. You really can do it. It is all about how bad you really want it.


Kara and Glen said...

How did you know I needed this. ;) Thanks so much for this. This week I'm changing up my workouts and food a little to see if it can get me over my 2+ week plateau. Trying my hardest to stay positive about it, but it's getting harder and harder not to get frustrated and depressed.

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