When you’re trying to lose weight, plateaus can be frustrating — especially, if you’re exercising regularly, eating healthy, and following the right weight-loss advice. However, it’s important to note, plateaus are very common. In fact, the average person experiences two or three plateaus before they reach their weight goal.
But don’t let the frustration of not losing weight make you give up. It is possible to overcome any weight-loss plateau. Here are a few tips you can use to start losing again:
1. Make sure you’re on a REAL deficit.
Studies show that people tend to underestimate the number of calories they consume and overestimate the number of calories burned. You have to make sure you’re creating a real calorie deficit. And the only way to do this is by counting calories. This will give you a clear estimate of the number of calories you consume each day. Now, you don’t have to count calories for the rest of your life (it’s not advisable). Quit counting calories when you can accurately eyeball portions.
2. Eat nutrient-dense foods.
These are foods that have a lot of nutrients but are low in calories. Usually, they are foods that are still in their original state and haven’t been processed. Eating these whole, real foods prevents overeating and also curbs hunger since they’re rich in fiber. Add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to your diet.
3. Change your workout routine.
Exercises become less effective as the body gets used to them. If you repeat an exercise for a long time — you’ll start burning fewer calories doing the same exercise than you were before your body adapted to it.
The changes you need to make to your workout routine will depend on how you currently exercise. Increase the intensity and difficulty of your workouts if you currently exercise moderately. If you’ve been training vigorously, reduce the intensity of your workouts for a week to reboot, then start a challenging new workout routine after a one-week break.
4. Get enough sleep and get rid of stress.
Research has found that lack of sleep and stress can cause cortisol levels to rise. This slows down metabolism and causes fat to settle around the abdominal area. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress.
The amount of sleep a person needs varies, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults.
5. Adjust your calorie intake.
It will be hard to lose weight if you lose 10 pounds and continue to consume the same number of calories you were consuming before the weight loss. Recalculate your caloric needs every time you lose more than 5 pounds.
6. Avoid calorie-containing beverages.
Calories from beverages like fruit juice, soda, alcohol, and coffee with sugar can reduce or cancel your calorie deficit. Avoid these beverages. And if you must drink them, include them in your total daily calorie intake count.
7. Reduce sodium intake.
Studies show that high sodium intake causes water retention. This makes the body hold more water than it’s supposed to and consequently increases your weight.
Most of the sodium we consume is from table salt, so reduce your intake of table salt. It’s recommended that you consume less than 2.5 grams of salt per day (less than half a teaspoon). Also, avoid packaged foods since they tend to be high in sodium.