10 Ways to Get Off a Weight-Loss Plateau
Week after week, you watch the number on the scale steadily slip lower and lower, then—stop. Days, then weeks go by and still, it doesn’t budge. You’ve hit the dreaded weight-loss plateau.
“We don’t know why weight-loss plateaus happen,” admits Jim Hill Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry. “It could be physiological, having to do with metabolism, or behavioral--it’s difficult for people to stay true to their weight-loss plan.”
So, what do you do when your weight has leveled off but your goal is 15 pounds away? “You have to shake something up,” says Hill, who is also a member of the Curves and Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board. “Start with exercise, and if that doesn’t help, then change something in your diet. What’s important is to do something different.”
Here are 10 ways, beginning with exercise, to shake up your weight-loss routine and help you come down off that ledge.
1. Bump up the number of times you go to Curves. If you usually hit the circuit two times a week, make it three or four.
2. If you are already going to Curves three or four times a week, good for you! Add more daily physical activity by increasing your steps: Walk while you talk on the phone at the office or at home. Skip e-mail and instead, walk to your colleague’s office when you need to discuss something. Take a walk during your lunch break. Park farthest from the entrances to stores and other establishments, and always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Try a different class. As you continue to exercise, your body may adapt and become more efficient, which means you use less energy (burn fewer calories) to perform the same movement. Try changing your CurvesSmart setting or check out the other class offerings at your center: the new Dance and Tone, Balance, the Core Class, or other specialty circuit classes.*
4. On the days you don’t go to Curves, do some cardio: walking, cycling, running, swimming, or play a sport with friends.
5. Re-check your calorie consumption. If you’re on Curves Complete, you should be following a customized meal plan and maintaining a record of what you eat. If you’re not using Curves Complete, be vigilant about keeping an honest, detailed food journal—write down everything you eat every day. After a few weeks, review what you’ve been eating as well as your daily calorie counts with your Curves Coach. If it looks like your calorie consumption has been quietly creeping up, make adjustments to your meals or snacks. Remember, the Curves snack bars are a delicious way to stay satisfied between meals if you find that snacking is sabotaging your weight-loss efforts.
6. Do you skip breakfast? Add it back into your daily meal plan. Eating a satisfying breakfast (including protein, whole grain carbs and healthy fat) could help you eat a smaller, healthier lunch as a result.
7. If you’ve been strict about how many calories you consume every day, shake things up by relaxing your vigilance--allow yourself to eat a little more than usual. If you’re on Curves Complete, this means jumping to Phase 3, in which you stop restricting calories until you’ve gained a few pounds and then cut back again. “When you stop restricting calories, your metabolism gets a little bump up,” explains Hill. And this might be just the thing to wake up a stalled metabolism so that when you return to a lower calorie intake, your weight starts moving in the right direction again—downward.
8. Those of you on Curves Complete, be sure to meet with your coach each week to review your progress. Being held accountable will motivate you to stay true to your plan, and if you have made a few slips in exercise or diet, your coach will help you find ways to get back on track.
9. Commit to weighing yourself every day. Doing so can help you stay on track if you notice a slight uptick.
*Scheduled at participating locations only.
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