My mom always used to say “Why is it so easy to gain weight but so hard to shed those unwanted pounds?” (rhetorical question, she probably never wanted an answer)
I feels ya momma Guzman!
Many of us have been down the road of getting our asses back in gear and getting in shape. We put together a plan, map out our diet and set course towards a leaner/fitter us.
But then PLATEAUS. The proverbial wall hits us and our progress just comes to a screeching halt.
You’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s … So what gives?! Well unfortunately I’m not sure there is one answer that fits all.
I want to provide some tips/suggestions/advice as to what the issue may be and get cracking on breaking through that plateau.
You ever just reach into the peanut M&M bowl at the office and just grab a handful. Figure it’s better than just having the whole bag (guilty!). Well technically yes. However, consuming just 6 little minuscule, albeit incredibly delicious, peanut M&Ms will run you for 3.5g of Fat. Multiply that through the course of a full work week and you’re looking at an additional 17.5g of Fat for the week or an additional 157.5 calories. For a month that will increase your total calorie intake by 630 calories.
My point here is not to scare you away from enjoying a little treat here or there. It’s just to highlight that small repeated actions can either have massive positive results or hinder your progress.
Few M&Ms here, couple of chips there and that will start to tip the calorie scales against you.
Be mindful of what you’re putting in your body and be sure that it fits into your plan.
I’m Eating Less — What Gives?!
~ Many of us think that just by simply eating less is the key to success in a weight/fat loss journey. Even the equation for weight loss says that calories out must be greater than calories in.
Regardless, this is not always the case. Our bodies are incredibly intricate, efficient and intelligent machines. They learn to adapt relatively quickly to new surroundings, stresses and outside forces. So when we’re on a low calorie diet for a while, our body will learn to adapt to these levels and will essentially learn to work at capacity with these new levels of fuel. Essentially, your metabolic rate will drop.
What do I do?!
Just because you’re dieting, doesn’t mean you need to be afraid to eat more. If you’re following a proper resistance training program, then you should look at either introducing a refeed day maybe once every 2 weeks or incorporating some high carb days into your diet during the week (essentially doubling your carb intake on those days).
~ You just spent months and perhaps for some years, neglecting not only your diet but your body. You got comfortable (just in case you want to read up on comfort zones) with being a little or a lot overweight, eating quick and nutrient-less meals and walking from the kitchen to the couch was your version of exercise.
Our internal systems have adapted to that way of living and now we’re shocking our body to change, to adapt and bring about the new you. Well unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen overnight. It might take a couple of weeks to get you back to neutral.
Don’t get discouraged if the scale doesn’t move. Trust the system and believe that what you’re doing is going to benefit you in the long run.
~ Short for High Intensity Interval Training. If you’re slowly becoming a cardio bunny and wasting countless hours on the treadmill — please stop. Unless you’re training for a running event — in which case please continue.
For those not training for any sort of aerobic event, there is no need for you to be doing countless hours of cardio. Dieting for the most part isn’t fun so lets not compound it.
HIIT is as efficient as you can get with your time. It should never take more than 30 minutes and the amount of effort you expend during a session will carry lasting benefits well into the hours after you’re done.
A simple 3:1 ratio of sprinting on the treadmill should do. Sprint for 30 seconds (and this is all out effort) and then walk or jog for 1:30. Do 10 rounds of that maybe twice a week and then thank me for all the time you just saved to be able to do other things
~ This one sort of goes without saying, but sometimes you actually need a reminder. As we get older, life gets a little harder. Work, social life, relationships, side jobs, etc all make it hard to find time. So in order to create more time, we choose to sleep less.
The thing with sleep is that it is where our body has the best chance to recover (we thin it’s so important we dedicated a whole post to it). Our body recharges while we sleep and takes all the hard work from the previous day and uses it to make us better.
I understand the concept of working hard but every now and then, you need to recharge the battery and get yourself back to neutral. I’m not saying you need to hit your 8 hours every night. However, I am saying that if you’re running on 2, 3 or even 4 hours of sleep a night, well then you might see progress slowed or even halted.
~ Saved the best for last 😉
Building muscle is essentially one of the driving forces behind your metabolism. By increasing your muscle mass you are essentially increasing the capacity at which you can burn more calories. Burning more calories can lead to being able to eat more food. See where I’m going with this? WIN – WIN
Eating more food aside, adding muscle mass to your frame help reduce injury risk, enhance your appearance and provide you with increased self-esteem & confidence.
And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Hope these tips help you down the path to a fitter, healthier you.