How to End a Weight Loss Plateau

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weight loss plateau

It's a very common scenario: you're losing weight consistently, then all of a sudden, it stops for days or even weeks. It seems that no matter what you do, the pounds that used to come off regularly stubbornly hang on. It's known as a weight loss plateau, and here are some common reasons that it happens, and how to end it.

When people start to lose weight, there are two things that happen that they often forget about: as they weigh less, they require less food, and exercise burns fewer calories. Here is how to counteract these trends.

Watch Your Diet to End a Weight Loss Plateau

Your diet is very important when trying to lose weight. It's easy for old habits to creep back in. Here's what to watch for and what to change in your diet.
  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes. If you started out measuring food on your diet but stopped after a while, start doing that again every once in a while to make sure your portions haven't gradually gotten larger without you realizing it.
  • Drink more water. Often when people eat, they are actually thirsty. Drinking several glasses of water a day can keep you from eating when you're not truly hungry. And if you're increasing your exercise, you should be drinking more water anyway.
  • Eat food that is high in fiber because it can fill you up more. Foods to try include small portions of fruit, beans and whole grains, and plenty of fresh vegetables.
  • Include low-fat sources of protein. When eaten in small portions, protein can help fill you up without contributing to weight gain. It can also help increase muscles. Choose fish, chicken without the skin, and lean cuts of beef.

More Exercise Can Help You Continue to Lose Weight

Exercise can become a little too routine when you're trying to lose weight, and this can also mean it will become less effective. Here's how to get the most from your workouts.
  • Increase your exercise slightly every week. This is a good idea regardless of weight loss since the body becomes accustomed to workouts. Increasing your weights and increasing both the length and intensity of cardiovascular workouts will improve your fitness.
  • Focus on weight lifting. Increasing your muscle mass as you lose weight will increase the calories you burn while resting, since muscle burns more calories than fat does.
  • Vary your workouts. Since it's easy for the body to become used to any workout you're doing, try a different exercise to "shock" your body. If you walk, add running intervals for bursts of intensity, or try swimming or cycling instead.
  • Exercise with a partner for a little friendly competition, or set a goal such as running or walking 10 K or a half-marathon. Striving for a goal can help you workout harder, and that can keep your weight loss on track, too.
A weight loss plateau can be discouraging and frustrating. But if you know what to change in your diet and exercise routine, it can be easy to start losing weight again and reach your goal.

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