Nothing feels as validating as stepping on the bathroom scale and seeing the pay off for all your hard work. It’s as if you can hear the angels sing.

But what happens when that number stops going anywhere? And no matter how hard you work out or how healthy you eat, you can’t get those numbers to budge?

You’ve hit the dreaded weight loss plateau.

But never fear. You don’t have to let your plateau take control for long. Let’s look at several ways you can overcome a weight loss plateau.

Switch up Your Routine

Since your fitness routine started, you got into a groove on your stationary bike. You might even say you’ve become one with the bike.

But your weight loss plateau is telling you it’s bored and it’s time to mix things up.

As time goes on, your muscles begin to adjust and get used to a regular fitness routine. Making that time you spend cycling less effective.

Try something new! Join a boot camp class, or High Intensity Interval Training.

Whatever you decide to do, a new fitness routine will challenge your muscles. It will wake them up from the routine they grew accustomed to, pushing you out of that dreaded plateau.

Adjust Your Calorie Intake

Watching your calorie intake is a sure-fire way to lose weight. But one thing many people don’t think of is adjusting that intake as the pounds come off.

You should be re-evaluating your calorie needs after every ten pounds you lose. If you don’t, you may be taking in more than you need. And that will lead to a weight loss plateau.

Jump start your metabolism by adjusting your calorie intake according to your new weight. Then keep the plateau at bay by continuing to adjust as you go along.

Review Your Habits

Have your fitness rules become a little lax the further you’ve progressed into your routine?

It happens without many people realizing it. You’ve been doing good on your diet so what does a little nibble here or there hurt? You’ve been exercising like a maniac, you deserve one or two days off, right?

It’s easy to get loose on the rules little by little. But it eventually begins to catch up with you. And that could be causing your plateau.

Get a handle on your habits. Starting a fitness journal may help. Writing down your eating and exercise habits will make it crystal clear where your rules need a change.

Beware of How You Caffeinate

For many, your cup of jo is what gets you through your day, or at least your morning. But how many cups of coffee are you drinking? If it’s more than five cups, it could be your plateau culprit.

A study has shown that overdoing your coffee intake may lead to belly fat and increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

Plus, many of those fancy coffees pack more calories than you realize. Adding creamer and sugar only add to those numbers.

Switching out your cup for black coffee or green tea will turn your coffee troubles around, along with your plateau.

Up the Protein

Lean protein is the best friend of any weight loss diet. And if you’ve hit a weight loss stall, it could be the very thing to get it moving again.

That’s because protein is great at boosting metabolism. Plus, it helps your body keep muscle mass while it’s burning fat.

And better yet, it helps you feel fuller longer. Meaning you won’t get those mid-afternoon munchies, keeping your appetite in check.

To get the full benefits, spread your protein intake throughout the day. It will keep you feeling satisfied and your metabolism will love all the stellar nutrients it provides.

Throw in a Cheat Meal

It almost seems wrong to encourage you to cheat on your diet. But if you’re dealing with a plateau, it could be the deliciously naughty answer to your prayers.

As your body loses fat, sooner or later your brain will realize it’s getting low in fat storage and will try to conserve what’s left. It produces less of a hormone called Leptin, which puts your weight loss on hold.

Eating ONE meal rich in carbohydrates (yes, that includes a burger or pizza) will amp up your Leptin production. Thus, tricking your brain into thinking all is well and to start burning its fat supply again.

Now, don’t go overboard with this. You can’t cure a plateau with a free-for-all. But if things occasionally slow down, it’s ok to rev it back up with some carbs.

Increase Your Activity

Even if you’ve changed up your fitness routine, sometimes all you need is a little extra movement. And you don’t have to spend more time in the gym to get the job done.

Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from the store than you normally would. Or go on a cleaning spree and scrub down your house.

No matter how you do it, it doesn’t take a lot of extra movement to kick-start your metabolism past your plateau. All you need is that little extra push.

Drink More Water

Keeping well hydrated during any weight loss plan cannot be over-emphasized enough. Drinking water has more benefits than you might realize, but it’s the most overlooked part of any diet.

The symptoms of dehydration can mimic hunger. So when you think you’re hungry and are raiding the pantry, you actually need a simple glass of water.

Plus, it flushes your system out of any excess salt. And helps you power through those tough workouts.

And drinking a glass or two of water before every meal can help you eat less. It makes you feel fuller, preventing you from taking in too many calories.

So get out that reusable water bottle and pre-game every meal with a big glass of water. It may be the push you need to kick your plateau to the curb.

Show Your Weight Loss Plateau Who’s Boss

Don’t let your weight loss plateau be the boss of you. Using these tips will get those scale numbers heading back in the right direction… cue the singing angels.

Need some new tips on how to transform your body? Check out these 5 brilliant tips that you’ll be able to stick with!

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These Are The Most Unusual Ways to Work Smarter Instead of Harder

Millions of people work really hard. Everyday. But there is always a better or smarter way to accomplish the same things you have to do every week. And you probably have a productive routine that works for you. Most people do. You can still improve it though.

These are two of the most upvoted answers to this question on Quora: What are some uncommon ways to work smarter instead of harder? These ideas have worked for the productivity experts.

Answer by Nela Canovic, productivity hacker, writer, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur

Do your deep work (the hard stuff, the work that requires the most concentration) EARLY.

When exactly?

Many scientists say that the brain’s peak performance happens 2-4 hours after we wake up. If, for example, you wake up at 6, your peak times are between 8 and 10  a.m.

What are the benefits?

Doing your deep work early in the day allows your brain to focus fully on the problem at hand, with fewer distractions, less inputs from your environment, and with a lot of  energy that you’ve gained from a restful night. It’s the exact opposite of what can happen if you leave your hardest work for nighttime, after you’re done with all your daily activities and you are exhausted from the day.

How can I get into this habit?

1. For one week, keep a log of what you do during your peak times. Are you focusing on your important mental tasks? Are you learning new material, solving complex problems, reading, or writing? For most people, this time is usually spent commuting to work, checking email, making phone calls, watching or listening to the news.

2. Re-prioritize your peak brain performance time. Think of ways you could rearrange the things you do early that are less important to your personal and professional development. Like to stay on top of the latest news? Save this activity for your lunch break or right after lunch.

Emails are waiting in your inbox? Be careful of how much time checking email takes; it can seriously impact your day. Choose 2 blocks of time to go over your emails, one mid-afternoon and one closer to the end of your workday. It’s better to be proactive early (by doing your important work) and reactive later (responding to questions, providing input on discussions, etc.).

3. Create more space and time to your day by implementing a morning routine that can help you be productive. The benefit of a morning routine is that you jump start your day; you complete several tasks before moving on to work, school, or other responsibilities; you are more productive with your time; you feel more successful in what you do. I wrote a few ideas on developing a morning routine here.

Answer by Akash Sehrawat, Practices Kaizen ( act of continuous improvement ) daily

Here are 17 uncommon ways to work smarter instead of harder.

1) Find your passion: Life becomes much easier in the long run.

Sure, when you start out there will be doubts! No one will believe in what you are doing, but you need to keep moving no matter how much criticism you face!

All this doesn’t matter. What TRULY matter is the believe in yourself. Related post: Akash Sehrawat’s answer to How do you know if you’ve discovered your passion?

2) Passion is not enough. Find a purpose: Doing something which you are passionate is good. But is selfish. Nothing wrong with that. Now take a step forward and find a purpose.

For example: I am passionate about building muscle and becoming healthier. Good. Purpose: My mission is to help a million skinny guys gain muscle, and be healthy. Great!

3) Once you find your passion, and a purpose, Profits will come:

Passion: Baba Ramdev is passionate about Yog and Ayurveda.

Purpose: He propagated Yog on TV, through books and DVD and now through his company Patanjali he is providing natural ayurvedic products at reasonable prices! Patanjali’s Predicted Revenues by March 2017= INR 10,000 Crores.

Profits will come eventually. Just focus on helping lot of people.

4) Create, Consume, Communicate, in this order: Creating is the highest form of intelligence.

Here are few things you can create:

-A life that you want.

-Write a blog post on things that you are passionate about.

-Paint.

-Create a company.

-Create Products and Services that will make people’s life easier and so on and so forth.

Consume: While you are reading this article you are consuming. Reading fiction, non fiction, watching TV, etc are all forms of consuming.

Firstly, majority of us consume too much, just too much. But librarians are not smart or rich!

Idea is to consume the right stuff. It is to consume something which will help you reach towards your goals.

Consume biographies, consume awesome posts by great bloggers.

Secondly we consume mostly entertainment and not educative stuff.

We love watching Cricket, our favourite comedy shows, and reality TV. These things provide immediate pleasure or gratification but don’t provide any long term value.

I am not asking you to cut out completely on entertainment, limit it to 10-20% of the things that you consume.

And Lastly communicate: God has given us 2 ears and one mouth. HE wants us to speak less and listen more. In this age of wats up and Facebook, there is too much noise and mindless chatter going on! Just too many opinions about anyone and everyone!

My advice: Talk less, listen more and do more:)

5) Do something important: Before venturing into Tesla, SpaceX Elon Musk knew his odds to succeed were very less.

To this one interviewer asked him why did he still went ahead with it? His answer: “Coz its important and is the right thing to do”

6) Measure how much time you waste everyday, and then aim to reduce it: Watching TV, gossiping over the phone, chilling with friends, late night-outs, spending excessive time on Facebook are all time wasters and usually don’t provide any educative value. First step is to become aware about how much you are actually wasting on these activities everyday, every week. Then aim to reduce by 10% and then by 20% and then move upto 50%.

Just imagine the awesome things you can do with these many hours saved: like spending more time with your family, starting a blog part time along side your job, devoting more time to your hobby and so on and so forth.

7) Walk and burn: Do yourself a favour and buy a fitness band.

And set the target to 10,000 steps daily. This will help you burn roughly 500 calories daily which is equivalent to 3500 calories in a week or 1 lbs of fat loss a week, or 4 lbs a month, or 48lbs a year (21.8kg). Most of you don’t even need to lose this much in the first place!

8) Lift heavy weights: Weight training is concentrated work! Working out just few hours a week can provide you with immense benefits. Learn more.

9) Wake up early: Sure some people do their best work between 11pm to 3am. I was one of them long time back, until I become a morning person. I realised I am much more alert working early mornings. Usually after an undisturbed night sleep I can really focus and focus hard.

Whereas working at night was always erratic. Usually something or the other used to come up. Friends birthdays, family get togethers, movie etc. Majority of people in this world are asleep from 5am to 7am. You can do your best work at this time.

10) Build a routine that works for you: Will power is not enough. You plan 10 things the night before. You are all charged up and promise yourself that you will accomplish all the things in the list. What happens the next day? You snoozed and as a result you lost few hours of your precious time. You start to feel guilty and the whole day spirals downwards!

Don’t feel like writing, sit down, open your Mac and start typing. A rough draft is better than an empty page

Don’t feel like going to the gym. Stop your thinking, wear your shoes and just go. Once you are at the gym, you’ll be glad you came.

Successful people build routines, and not will power.

11) Start a stop watch before every task: Oh this one really works! When I know the clock is ticking, I am way more focussed.

12) Divide your day into small chunks: I don’t enjoy F1 races much! But what I have learned by watching is that the team who wins is the team who takes timely strategic pit stops! In the long run what really matters is that you have the right amount of fuel in the gas tank, your tires are not worn out too much etc.

The same can be applied to your work. I personally can focus intensely for 25 to 30 minutes. After which my mind and my body asks for break. Usually when I am excited or with my team I override that signal and make myself a cup of coffee and keep working! Not wise! After sometime my body starts to release stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline etc. This makes me anxious and jittery!

In order to work smarter, what I can do is to take a break after a period of intense work:

  • The break should be no more 5 to 10 minutes after 25 min of work
  • and 15 to 20 minutes is ok if you work for 45 to 50 minutes
  • During the break don’t check Facebook or chat with your friends.
  • Instead do these things: Go for a walk and take deep breathes simultaneously
  • Mediate
  • Listen to great music
  • Take a power nap

There’s an app for that: iOS – Be Focused by Denys Yevenkoy

Android – ClearFocus by ClearApps.xyz

13) First things first: Now, I am of the notion that if it has to happen, it has to happen FIRST. You see we have limited will power. Roy Baumeister’s experiment proves this fact.

If you complete all your important task before noon ( exercise being at the top of the list ) , chances are very high that they will get done!

14) Do Less: Less is more. Less is productive. 20% of the things you do will give you 80% of the results. Those 20% of thing are hard to do. Usually we try to avoid them! And choose to stay in our comfort zone. Majority of us are busy, but not productive.

15) Keep asking this important question: Is this the best use of my time? If the answer is “No”, then probably it is. Re-assess and stratagize. Figure what are things that you should be doing instead.

16) Plan Plan Plan: Abraham Lincoln said: ” If I have nine hours to chop a tree, I would sharpen my axe for 6 hours and cut the tree for 3 hours! Always plan the next day the night before! This habit has helped me saved me tons of time! Plan every hour , every minute. Its ok if things don’t go according to your plan. Just improvise:)

17) Reserve Sundays for Weekly Planning: Measure, analyse, progress. How can you improve on something that you don’t know? Keep a document detailing how you spending every hour of the day! I know it may seem like a big task initially, but over time, it builds into a solid habit. This way you have a clear idea where your spending your time.

Every Sunday you can take a look at the various things you have accomplished. You can then work towards improving.

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