Last night I was entertaining guests at my home for dinner. Now, when I’m with friends, I rarely talk about the subject of health, or metabolic enhancement, or longevity – why? Simply because I get so passionate about those subjects, and a friendly dinner is hardly the place for a heated debate over health matters. But one of my guests was telling me how she had began exercising for the first time in her life, about 6 months ago, and she was complaining and complaining about the ‘plateau’ that she was currently on.
This is the plateau that’s “going to be the one that breaks her down” as she puts it, because ‘everything’ she does to try to break this plateau just fails. I realize, from personal experience and from working with tens of thousands of people over the years, that plateaus are a terrible thing, but there’s a solution – and it’s usually very simple.
You see, getting yourself off most plateaus require only 1 of 2 things to occur:
Either you must change your “mind-set”, or you must add “variety” to your lifestyle (diet and exercise program) – that’s it, nothing else. That’s the plain truth – and the simple solution. But beware, the word ‘simple’ doesn’t mean that the journey is going to be ‘easy’, it just means that there is a step by step formula to fix the problem.
It’s never that easy to get off a plateau, because in order to get off of a plateau you must make one of those two changes, and the desire to avoid Change is one of the strongest subconscious desires that people have.
So here’s a step by step formula to get you off of your plateau…
1. Get clear on your ultimate weight-loss goal. Be sure that your weight-loss goal is realistic and that your expected rate of weight loss is reasonable. If you are on a health enhancing, nutritionally rich weight loss program you can expect to lose one to two pounds a week. Each body has its own ideal weight and size. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, but listen to your body and notice what feels best for you. A simple way to approximate your ideal weight is by referring to the Body Mass Index chart found at: http://www.Body-Mass-Calculator.com
2. Go high-protein, medium to low carbs. Unless you’re eating enough protein to maintain your lean muscle mass, you are likely to have lost weight already from both your fat stores and muscle. Women need to eat approximately 100 grams of protein a day and men 150 grams in order to preserve their muscle tissue during a weight loss program. If you have lost some muscle during your weight loss program so far, you need to focus on protein so your body can build and/or maintain muscle, which requires more calories to sustain, which in turn, kick starts your weight loss again.
3. Add resistance training to your program. A wonderful way to boost your metabolism and break through to the next level of weight loss is by incorporating aerobic exercise into your program, such as 30 minutes of walking three to four times a week. (If you are 35 years or older, or haven’t exercised regularly, begin with 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a week.) In addition, resistance training weight training with free weights or machines) several times a week can help increase muscle strength and density, which in turn allows you to burn more calories faster. Studies show that weight training can increase the rate at which your metabolism burns calories almost overnight by five to 10 percent. Working out can increase your metabolism for up to 21 hours after an intense workout. An excellent workout program can be found in The 2 Day Workout – which is a book that details a basic workout that can be followed 2 days per week, yet get you faster results than most of the 4 – 5 day per week workouts. Get a copy now at: http://www.2DayWorkout.com.
4. Look out for hidden carbohydrates. If your weight loss progress seems slow, look out for carbohydrates that might be sneaking their way unnoticed into your diet. Sugar can lurk in the most unexpected places such as ketchup, salad dressings, teriyaki and barbecue sauces. Watch out too for cornstarch, sugar or milk solids in many processed foods such as gravies, or sauces on frozen vegetables. Be careful of “low-fat” foods where flavor is enhanced by sugar and other carbohydrates. Try keeping a diet journal for a couple of days of EVERYTHING you eat and drink. You may quickly discover the hidden carbs that are keeping your weight-loss progress stuck and be able to eliminate them and move past your plateau.
5. Take the “refinement” out of your diet. Try eliminating all refined sugar and refined grains (like white flour products) from your diet. This includes white bread, pastries, pasta, white rice, white flour crackers, sugar-coated breakfast cereals, cookies and cake. This simple step can encourage a huge weight-loss breakthrough and leave you feeling more healthy and energized in the process.
6. Don’t go hungry. Cutting back on how often you eat can have a negative impact on your diet plateau. Many studies show that small, frequent meals are more satisfying and produce better weight-loss results than the same number of calories consumed in three large meals. Take advantage of healthy snacking and crunch on fresh slices of raw vegetables like celery, peppers, and cucumber when you’re hungry.
7. Drink to burn. It’s vitally important to replenish your fluids by drinking plenty of water on your weight loss program. An inadequate supply of water in itself can slow down your weight-loss. Carry water with you wherever you go throughout the day. For additional weight-management benefits, add a high quality “greens drink” to your water to help keep your metabolism healthy. Keeping well hydrated not only helps you burn fat efficiently, it also helps control hunger.
8. Keep your incentive strong. Remember the determination you felt when you first began your weight-loss program? Remember the excitement of watching the pounds drop one by one? Go back to whatever your initial motivation was and see whether it still works for you. It may have been the desire to lose weight for a particular event or to regain your figure after pregnancy. You may have been motivated by poor health or by the shock of just how much weight you had gained. See whether the same motivation still has juice for you. If not, choose a new one. Keep a picture of yourself looking great (or bad!) on your refrigerator as a daily reminder of where you are heading.