It happens, results slow or stop. But why? What can we do?
First, plateaus are very normal. In today’s world, we want fast, linear results. Unfortunately, these results are rarely sustainable, and when they are accomplished, they are often obtained with unrealistic means and methods.
Every time you diet down, and gain back up, it makes it harder to lose weight in the future. This is because losing weight quickly stresses your body, and the faster you lose, the more stress and rebound potential.
Now this is a sort of chicken vs. the egg scenario because, is it the fact that someone loses a ton of weight fast, or is it because of the means that are usually required to lose weight fast that set you up for failure?
The ways people usually lose weight fast include:
- Very low calorie diets/low carb diets
- Tons of cardio
Why are these bad ideas?
One, low carb essentially is just low calories because you are cutting out a huge chunk of calories. But also, you are losing water weight because your glycogen stores get drained, you end up looking flat, but hey, you’re lighter!
The following picture is an example of this: the image on the left (green) represents a lighter weight, through high cardio and super low carb – while the image on the right (same girl) was with more lifting, smart balance of carbs, and her body weight was HEAVIER.
Which would most ladies prefer?
Tons of cardio isn’t the worst thing, but when you neglect weight training and just do cardio and “toning” weight exercises, you are not stimulating your muscles for growth and strength. (Ladies, you won’t get huge – I PROMISE)
Without training your muscles heavy, you may not end up getting the “look” that you desire. Also, weight training and having strong muscles helps keep your metabolism up, which makes fat loss and maintenance easier in the long run.
So what about my plateau? How do I get out of it?
First, give it time. Sometimes we will hit some long plateaus, but don’t give up!
What you can do in the meantime:
Check On Your Recovery
Are you sleeping enough? Are you allowing your body to recover? Sometimes a little recovery is all we need. Major changes happen overnight when we sleep – and if you aren’t getting enough, your body may be holding back.
Maybe it’s a weight loss plateau, but not a fat loss plateau (this is the best!) I’ve said it before, the scale is overrated.
Measure your areas that you normally carry more fat. Measure to the nearest centimeter. Monitor these areas once per week, and watch for changes.
Re-Check Your Nutrition
If you have lost a big amount of weight, you may need to adjust your calories from where you first started. I recommend adjusting your calories if you hit a plateau for more than 3 weeks, and for about every 10-15 pounds you lose.
Also, get back on track. Sometimes we slowly start to let more calories sneak into our diets. This is normal, but I always go back to tracking for a few days every month – just to keep myself honest and make sure I’m not letting extra stuff creep in.
Progress – Not Confusion
Are you working out with purpose? Or just going through the motions. I recommend that every single person is tracking their workouts. Muscle confusion is overrated and proven to not work (out muscles don’t have brains, and cannot be confused).
Progress in the gym means progress to your body. This is a great way to help motivate you during fat loss plateaus as well. Take your focus off the scale weight, and focus on hitting a new PR in the deadlift, or running a quarter mile faster.
Stronger and faster are two pretty nice improvements that don’t involve the scale 🙂
Give your plateaus time, but while stuck, make sure you are checking on a few of the things previously mentioned and monitor them.
Chicken Fajitas – makes 6 Fajitas – 2 fajitas per serving
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
- 1/2 medium green pepper, julienned
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 6 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
- In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice and seasonings; add the chicken. Seal and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
- In a large skillet, saute peppers and onions in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Remove and keep warm.
- Discard marinade. Either in the same skillet, or ON THE GRILL, cook chicken over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink. Return pepper mixture to pan; heat through.
- Spoon filling down the center of tortillas; fold in half. Serve with cheese, taco sauce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Yield: 6 servings.
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Stay healthy my friends,