Everyone has a healthy weight range. Sometimes we fluctuate within a few pounds of what we deem as our  “fighting weight.” If a mysterious two or three pounds seems to appear on the scale just as quickly as it disappears, it can probably be attributed to fluid retention. Hormones, stress, climate change, salty food or too much time on your feet are often found to be the culprit of those uncomfortable few pounds that are typically evident around the ankles (or should I say cankles?), fingers or cheeks.

There is a big difference between a little fluid retention that comes and goes and a stubborn weight loss plateau that has you stalled well above a healthier weight. Whether it’s ten pounds or 100, weight loss plateaus are extremely common – and very frustrating. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to jump-starting someone’s metabolism, there are a few things that can be done to help rev up a slow-burning internal furnace.

1. Change Your Workout I don’t mean make a change from running 30 minutes on the treadmill to striding 30 minutes on the elliptical, I mean throw your body for a loop.

  • If you’re normally a cardio person with a few weights peppered in toward the end of a workout, shift things around entirely. Make the focus of your workout strength-training, then finish with some cardio.
  • Try interval training. Nearly every one of my No Excuses workouts are interval-based. Interval training has a proven track record of burning fat like nothing else.
  • If all you do is high intensity workouts, try an ashtanga, vinyasa flow or hot yoga class. If you’ve never taken one, you’ll be surprised by just how challenging it is. Commit to this for a few weeks.
  • If you normally do a high-rep/low weight routine, reverse that. Go for a higher weight/lower rep workout. Sometimes all you need to do is add a few pounds of weight to really notice a difference.
  • If you normally lift heavy, heavy, heavy, shift your workout to very high reps/lower weights. I just took a few classes at The Dailey Method where the heaviest weight I lifted was two pounds. My shoulders, biceps, triceps and the big muscles of my back did hundreds or reps. It was exactly what I needed to do to feel invigorated and just a little bit sore…in a good way.

2. Change Your Diet Often times when people try to lose weight, the first macronutrient that goes out the window is fat. Sometimes this is good – particularly for bad fats, but don’t be so quick to eliminate all fats. If you do, I promise you will hurt your body more than help it. Some people need more fat than others…but we all need fat. Generally speaking, when people are on very low fat diets, a big chunk of their calories comes from carbohydrates, which your body then breaks down to sugar – which then gets stored as fat. After all, your body needs fat, so if you’re not eating any, your body WILL store fat in places you’ll probably find as less-than-desirable.

  • Eat eggs, avocados or raw nuts as a snack , or as part of a healthy meal.
  • Add healthy oils, like coconut, olive or even butter to meals that are naturally fat-free.
  • Pair healthy fats with protein and watch the starchy carbs morning, noon and night.

3. Sleep. As ordinary and boring as it sounds, sleep is that importantto regulating the hormones that are big players in weight management. A 2010 University of Chicago study looked at two groups of people, both on a low-calorie diet. One group slept 5.5 hours a night, and another group slept 8.5 hours a night. Interestingly enough, both groups lost the same amount of weight (7 pounds), but the sleep-deprived group lost mostly muscle in comparison to the rested group that lost mostly fat.

This study was only conducted over a two week period! Now, the participants were indeed overweight to begin with, so the fact that they lost weight on a low-calorie diet is not a shocker. It’s the huge disparity between muscle and fat loss that’s the real eye-opener. Sleeping has a way of regulating certain key hormones, including:
  • regulating cortisol levels (the stress hormone that is often associated with midsection weight gain)
  • regulating human growth hormone (a hormone closely related to appropriate fat metabolism)

 

I hope these tips are somewhat helpful. Remember that no plateau will recover overnight. Once you start with a change in your habits, stick with it and be patient. Some people see changes in a week or two, and others see changes in a month or two. Regardless, all healthy changes yield results. To get more tips like this, join my on Facebook page or subscribe to my blog. If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it!

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