Help! I've hit a plateau. Now what?
Plateaus can be very frustrating and sometimes discouraging! We've helped hundreds of people with their weight loss goals and we've put together the list of Must - Have's that will bring your body into balance and allow for weight loss.
1. Nutrition - Work on switching your mindset. Losing weight is NOT just about calories in vs. calories out. It's very important to focus on the QUALITY of the calories you get (not just QUANTITY or how many calories you take in) Some foods actually BOOST our metabolism and aid in losing weight (berries, beans, leafy greens, etc.), which is why it's important to not be focused on the amount of calories you're getting. Make sure those calories are coming from whole, unprocessed sources and that you're including lots of healthy, metabolism-boosting foods: all kinds of berries, all types of beans, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, good fats, and fuel with more plants. The standard American diet (S.A.D. diet) is characterized by an abundance of meat, dairy and eggs. To lose weight, we oftentimes need more PLANT foods. Plant foods (fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, etc.) boost our metabolism because they're packed with fiber and phyto-nutrients. Make sure the focus of your meals is plants. Check sugar and salt consumption!
2. Make sure you are properly hydrated! As a general rule you should drink about 1/2 your body weight in oz. of water daily. It's also helpful to drink 12 oz. of water BEFORE each meal to not only help you stay hydrated but to feel more full as well.
3. You need to incorporate resistance exercise - like weights, bands, or body weight type exercises like yoga. Resistance is what stimulates our internal calorie-burning machine (muscles). Not only does it boost a person's metabolism and help get over a plateau, but it's going to help RESHAPE our bodies too. Make sure when you're doing this, that you're reaching muscle failure and that you have soreness the day after completion (2 signs needed to know you're doing enough).
4. Sleep must be a priority - We all live busy lives that often keep us up late at night, but it's essential to focus on getting good quality sleep, consistently (at least 7 hours nightly). Turn off your phone, computer and TV an hour before bed to ensure you sleep well too! This is just as important as the food we eat or activity we get.
5. Get outside and get sunlight! Scientists have discovered that getting a good dose of early morning sunshine really does improve health by lowering body fat. Even just 20-30 minutes of morning sunlight is enough to keep off the pounds.
6. Emotions - For many people the physical side isn’t the issue. They get it – and they do it. It’s our emotional baggage that acts as the obstacle at some point (or points) along the way toward a healthier life. Maybe it’s a background of abuse, neglect, bullying, or depression. For some, food dulled some pretty harsh emotions in their histories, and the associations are hard to break. For others, there was something to the image of themselves itself that was protective: being overweight or sick was part of how they had defined their lives. For many, it could even be negative self-talk related to current stresses and circumstances. If you feel emotional issues significantly affect your daily functioning or progress toward reasonable health goals, the expertise of a professional counselor is advisable. Try to identify the roots of emotional issues at play and the current triggers that send you down the road of negative self-talk. Use your developing awareness to continually “catch” yourself earlier in the self-talk cycle and redirect your thoughts and activities before it even starts. Use whatever works for you: inspirational books, affirmations, close and supportive relationships, online forums, formal support groups, life coaching, and/or personal counseling. Social support is key to any life change, and it can be incredibly motivating whether or not you feel emotional issues figure into your health journey.
7. Toxins - Your body's ability to process toxins found in your food & environment, is a pervasive factor in your ability to lose weight and reach a healthy goal weight. Your body's defense mechanism to dealing with toxic overload includes storing the toxins inside your fat cells, and expanding the number of fat cells in order to store more toxins. This is likely done to get the toxic trash out of your circulation and away from key organs. It causes easy weight gain and complicates weight loss because your body does not easily give up the toxic fat it has stored as a way to protect you - because when you start to lose weight these toxins will be released back into your body. This is part of the reason WHY it's so important to take in enough water to help rid the toxins, and eat the right kinds of foods! Ultimately, it's a viscous cycle that is difficult to break out of. On the note of toxin elimination, you also want to make sure that you are having at least 2 bowel movements per day to help get toxins out!
6. Oftentimes a plateau can be absolutely normal. When your weight loss stalls, it's a good idea to come back to this list and evaluate each area, then make tweaks where necessary. It's frustrating and we all want to see a straight downward line with our weight, but we may need to just wait and trust that we're doing the right things. Losing weight always has bumps in the road and you may need to just hang on while your body adjusts to the changes you are making.
7. If you are experiencing a plateau and have evaluated each of the areas we've listed here, and are still having trouble losing weight, then quite possibly you have an underlying condition, most often a nutritional deficiency or hormonal imbalance. We recommend you seek the advice of a functional medicine practitioner in your area. Look for one here: https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/
While some things need to be consistent - if you are always eating the same types of things or doing the same type of exercise - you need to change it up a bit. Have a cheat meal to boost your metabolism. Change up your workouts frequently - for example walk further or faster, take a different route (up hills, down hills) or change up your activity, weights, reps. etc.
Besides implementing the changes on this list, we recommend incorporating Dr. Steve's tip from his article ----> What to do when the scale is stuck
Also, if you haven't already joined, we encourage your to check out our complimentary support group - Dr. Steve's healthy life club: