So you have hit the dreaded "weight loss plateau"?
It happens, and happens for scientific reasons as our bodies are smart and extremely adaptable. Every time you exercise your body becomes stronger and also a more efficient calorie-burner, causing a readjustment in metabolism. And the opposite happens during weight loss as every time you lose a pound your body requires fewer calories than it did before causing another shift in metabolism. This is a constant struggle of finding the right balance that works for you. Thankfully, there are a few ways to boost your metabolism and nudge the scale in the right direction.
Here are my top three ways to help battle the weight loss plateau:
1. Drink More Water
We all know drinking water is important for health. But what some of us don’t know is that adequate hydration is essential for weight loss. When we are losing weight, water is generated in the body as a normal part of fat metabolism. This can cause unwanted water-related weight gain. The solution is not less water, but more water to encourage our body to excrete more water and reach a healthy water balance. If we don’t drink enough water, then the toxins build up and may interact negatively with our hormones and cause increased fat storage. Drinking water also helps us feel full and regulate our appetite. As a general rule of thumb, take your body weight in pounds and divide that by two. This is about how many ounces of water you should be drinking. If you eat a lot of fiber or sweat a lot, water needs increase.
2. Eat the Right Amount of Calories
Yes, that’s right! It could be that you just aren’t at the magic calorie level for your body. Many times dieters cut calories too drastically. When your body is used to eating a certain number of calories (for instance let’s say 2,500 calories/day), and then that number drops to 1,000 calories/day, it is quite a shock to the system. At first glycogen stores are depleted, and some fat is lost, which accounts for some initial weight loss. However, your body starts to think it’s starving, and goes into starvation mode. At this time, the body slows its metabolism, trying to hold onto fat thus halting weight loss efforts. It is important for anyone trying to lose weight to consume at least 1,200 calories/day to keep metabolism up.
On the other hand, you could easily be eating too many calories. In the early stages of a diet, you might be unyielding about your calorie intake, measuring everything from milk to counting M&M's. This results in a precise caloric measurement. Once initial weight is lost, many dieters are not as adamant about counting calories. Slowly, but surely portions get a little bigger and calories are slowly added back into the diet. This happens so gradually that most dieters do not notice. Keep measuring spoons and cups on the counter at all times. Measuring daily isn’t necessary, but it’s nice to ‘spot check’ once in a while to keep portions in check.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Treat yourself to eight hours of shut-eye every night. Turn off the computer, smart phone, tablet and television and make time for sleep. Sleep deprivation creates havoc with your appetite regulation: Grehlin, the hormone that promotes hunger, increases – and leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite, decreases. The brains of tired people send out messages that say, “Eat a lot of starchy and sweet foods.” Make it a priority to get the 7½ and 8½ hours of sleep. This helps to regulate hunger hormones, thus aiding in weight loss efforts.
Hitting the plateau and losing hope? Don't get discouraged! You can still eat healthy and shed those difficult pounds! Check out Seattle Sutton's fresh weekly menus, filled with great summer foods like Turkey Sliders, Balsamic Glazed Chicken, Chicken Salad Sandwichs with a Twist, and much more! We also have Vegetarian menus! So, what are you waiting for?