You’ve been working your butt off—literally! Exercising regularly. Eating well. But you just can’t get rid of those last few pounds. Frustrating? Absolutely. Hopeless? Absolutely not! Sometimes weight loss stalls because your body’s metabolism slows down as it learns to function on fewer calories, and sometimes you might be missing an important piece of the weight loss puzzle. But fear not, here are 5 ways to break out of a weight loss plateau.
1. Watch portion sizes.
You may have been able to lose weight initially by exercising more and choosing healthier foods, but are you eating the proper portion sizes that will help you start breaking a weight loss plateau?
2. Record everything you eat or drink. Everything.
It’s easy to underestimate how many calories you’re consuming, especially outside of regular meals. Swiping a couple of fries from the kids’ dinner plates, popping “just a couple” chips in the afternoon, licking peanut butter off the butter knife after making sandwiches—every calorie adds up. Keep a food journal to find hidden calories and make adjustments.
3. Ditch “diet” foods and beverages.
Research suggests that artificially-sweetened diet products don’t satisfy the desire for sweets, which can lead to a higher likelihood of choosing high-calorie alternatives later.
4. Add weights to your workouts (heavy and challenging ones).
As your body adjusts to its new normal, your metabolism can change as well, especially if you’ve dropped muscle instead of fat. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, so build muscle by adding weights to your regular exercise routine. Worried about looking like an oversized green superhero? You won’t.
5. Boost activity throughout the day.
Even if you’re eating well and working out several times a week, you may still need to increase daily physical activity. Start by assessing how active you are; use a simple pedometer or a high-tech fitness tracker. Then, get active! Take the stairs, walk the dog for an extra turn around the block, or replace the riding mower with a push mower.