Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Plateaus or Stay Points

So it appears that I have hit a plateau or "stay point". They are basically the same thing. They occur when the difference between energy intake and energy expenditure gradually balances. The human body must restore energy balance in order to survive. Imagine the potential for human survival if we kept losing weight because we couldn't find enough food (energy intake) when roaming the land thousands of years ago!

Our body needs these natural physiological mechanisms to help maintain energy balance relatively quickly.

How to get past a plateau (article source - Weight Watchers website):

1. Change your routine
"Eventually, your body will become accustomed to the diet and exercise it's being exposed to," says Thomas Bruno, CSCS of Training Effects in Grand Canyon, Arizona. Trick your body with new movement patterns like two weeks on the treadmill and then two weeks on the bike followed by two weeks in the pool.

2. Challenge yourself
"A year into the program I decided I wanted to take up running," says Torry Bruce, who's lost 100.2 pounds*. "I started training for a 5K and the weight literally started to melt off." Set reasonable goals for yourself that you normally would never think twice about. You're more likely to stick to something if you have a big event, like a marathon, in your future.

3. Keep a food diary
After making progress, it's easy to let your food—and POINTS® values—get away from you. "I got back to consistently tracking my food," says Joe Adelantar, who's lost over 40 pounds* but hit a plateau after the first 30. "I had gotten lazy and just kept a general diet diary, but when I stopped loosing weight I started writing down everything to an extreme point."

4. Pump it up
In this case, "it" refers to resistance and frequency. Adelantar began a cardio routine seven days a week (instead of just a few days) and added weight training to his repertoire. Both are great, proven ways to stimulate calorie burning during down time.

5. Eat less
"The more weight you lose, the lower your caloric demand will be," says Christopher Leavy, CSCS of Human Performance Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As you lose weight, you'll need less calories. So, if you were eating 2,700 calories a day last month, you should try eating 2,500 calories this month.

6. Organize your life
Exercise is fantastic, but if you’re under stress, you may find it harder to lose weight. Maybe you’re subconsciously snacking more or forgetting to track. Make it easier on yourself by minimizing stress and improving your time-management skills.

7. Have realistic expectations
Of course you'd like your weight to melt off overnight but that's not going to happen and that's a good thing, too, because it's not healthy. Normal—and healthy—weight loss is about one to two pounds a week, says Leavy, so don't set a goal to lose 30 pounds the month before your high school reunion.

8. See a trainer
When you're desperate to lose weight it's easy to go to the gym and run yourself into the ground on the treadmill or weight machines but that might be the worst thing for you, warns Bruno. Instead, he suggests consulting a personal trainer who can create a workout plan that's right for you.

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