Experiencing a weight loss plateau can be frustrating, no matter how much progress you’ve made.
It’s not uncommon for weight loss to slow down or come to a complete halt. If you’ve reached a plateau, don’t give up hope just yet.
These top 10 tips can help you break through and speed up your weight loss progress. It’s important to note that not all of these tips will work for everyone.
Read through them and identify which ones will work best for your weight loss journey.
Remember, achieving long-term weight loss is all about dedication and staying motivated to give it your all!
1. Gradually reduce your calorie intake
People have devoted countless studies to figuring out the best weight loss diet. Whether vegetarianism helps you shed pounds, or if cutting carbs is the solution.
Opinions in the fitness community are mixed.
The effectiveness of a diet can vary from one person to another.
However, there is one rule that applies to everyone…
If you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight, and if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight.
One effective way to lose weight without slowing your metabolism is to gradually reduce the number of calories you consume. Every week cut out a hundred calories until you find a diet that works for you and sustains you at a healthy weight.
2. Strength train 3 times a week
Too many women focus on cardio when they want to lose weight. Cardio is important, but skipping strength training can slow your progress and lead to plateaus.
Strength training creates new muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fatty tissue, which means that building muscle boosts your metabolism. You can burn several hundred extra calories per day just by putting on muscle!
Remember, more muscle mass means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re just sitting on your couch.
3. Choose heavier weights
The main mistake women make while strength training is choosing the lightest dumbbells available. If your dumbbells are too light, you might not be seeing the results you want. You’re not challenging your muscles enough, which means growth is limited.
Instead of doing twenty shoulder presses with a 10-pound dumbbell, try doing 8-10 reps with 15 pounds. This is a more effective way to strengthen muscle.
4. Target different muscle groups
Another common mistake with strength training is always doing moves to target the same muscles. For example, you might be doing a lot of tricep exercises, but skipping biceps in fear of looking bulky. Or you might work on your thighs but forget about the calves.
To get the most out of strength training, it’s important to work all of your muscles. This helps you developed even, balanced strength and it prevents overtaxing particular muscles. Additionally, vary your workouts from one week to another to keep your body from getting lazy in a comfort zone.
5. HIIT up your cardio workout
Traditional cardio (running, biking, or swimming) keeps your heart rate steadily elevated. On the other hand High-intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is meant to push your heart rate a little higher, but only for a short burst of time.
HIIT involves doing an intense, heart-racing, calorie-burning exercise as fiercely as you possibly can. This quickly peaks your heart rate into the aerobic or anaerobic zone, where your body burns the maximum amount of calories.
Because your heart rate peaks so dramatically, in HIIT you don’t maintain a steady pace like you do in traditional cardio. Instead, you alternate with short rest periods that keep you from burning out too quickly.
One common format in HIIT workouts is doing an exercise for 40 seconds and resting for 20. So you’d do burps, going as quickly as you can, until the 40 seconds are up, then rest (or do some easy exercise) for 20 seconds, and repeat.
6. Substitute carbs with protein and healthy fats
You probably know about the three macronutrients: carbs, protein, and fats. We need all three to be strong and healthy.
Nevertheless, many diets include a lot more carbs than needed, and a lot less protein and healthy fats.
When we talk about carbs that includes bread, tortillas, flour, potatoes (even french fries), yams, pasta, hamburger buns, sugar, oatmeal, rice, starchy vegetables, and more. These foods are all around us. In fact, it’s often hard to think of a complete meal that doesn’t include some kind of carb.
One good way to boost weight loss is by eliminating excess carbs from our diets, replacing them instead with protein and healthy fats. Proteins are necessary for building and maintaining muscle, and, as we said before, more muscle means a higher metabolism.
Healthy fats such as those found in avocados, salmon, and nuts (no, unfortunately french fries are not made with healthy fats) are necessary for good health.
They keep your heart beating in top shape and research suggests they’re even necessary for optimal brain function.
7. Drink more water
Perhaps the easiest way to lose more weight is to drink more water. Water delivers a double weight loss whammy!
First, it fills you up so that you’re less likely to overeat at dinner or reach for the snack. In fact, according to this study, you could lose 44% more weight simply by drinking a full glass of water right before meals.
Second, water is calorie-free, but your body still uses calories to process it. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a study that found that drinking 500 milliliters of water burned about 24 calories. Talk about effortless weight loss!
8. Reduce stress
It’s not as easy as it sounds. Too many of us live under constant stress. Between work, school, and family, we barely have time to breath. We’re constantly stressed by financial circumstances and the pressure to be more successful.
The effects of stress on our bodies have been well documented. It’s bad for our hearts, skin, hairline, and even digestive health. It can also slow or hinder our weight loss.
If you’re stressed you might not sleep as well as ideal. You’re also vulnerable to cravings, reaching for the comfort food just to calm your rapid heart.
We all have our own ways of dealing with stress. Whatever your way is, it’s always worth spending some time on your mental health.
Try doing some calming yoga, go hiking in nature, or do a sweaty kickboxing workout or do what I do which is scream as loudly as I can in front of the ocean.
9. Be honest with yourself
One of the main reasons why weight loss progress slows or halts is because we’re not honest with ourselves regarding our bad habits.
We keep justifying our actions, telling ourselves it’s okay to eat ice cream every day because we snacked on baby carrots.
Be realistic about how your habits are affecting your waist line. Chances are baby carrots don’t undo a daily bowl of ice cream.
There are many ways you can adjust your habits to match your weight loss goals. First, you could limit dessert to once or twice per week, or if you’re always craving something sweet post-dinner, you could make portions smaller or keep single servings of chocolate around.
10. Get the sleep you need
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient and poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long and how deep someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain while ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry.
Without a properly functioning leptin and ghrelin, you’re constantly hungry and nothing you eat will ever make you full – double whammy.
So, sleep more and sleep well.