Weight loss is never easy and what makes it even more frustrating is trying to figure out what to do when you’ve stopped losing weight (and it feels like you’re doing everything right!)
The main reason why weight loss is so difficult in the first places is because to successfully lose weight, you’re required to change your habits. Most of the time, those habits have been a part of our lives for years, and changing them can be incredibly difficult. And often, it is easy to get started but hard to follow through.
If you’ve started your weight loss journey but you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, here are a few tips that’ll teach you what to do when you’ve stopped losing weight so you can begin climbing towards the top of the mountain once again.
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Stopped Losing Weight? Here’s What To Do
First, we need to take a look at the underlying causes of why you’ve stopped losing weight.
When you begin to lose weight, one of natural responses of your body is to start slowing down your metabolism. This decreases the rate at which calories are burned, which isn’t good for those who are trying to lose weight (because as we all know, a calorie deficit is required to lose weight.)
Give Your Body a Break
Studies have shown that people who periodically take a break from dieting are better able to lose weight than those who diet constantly.
Why is this the case? Simple. When you lose a lot of weight in a relatively short time, your body thinks that it is starving. This triggers a metabolic slowing as your body tries to conserve its remaining energy. When you only diet for short periods of time, your body does not have time to respond in this way. Thus, your metabolic rate remains more constant.
However, this approach may not work for everyone. Some people find it much easier to stick with a constant routine. Thankfully, there are other options. We already know that as you lose weight, the metabolism will slow itself. When this occurs you can simply work to speed your metabolism back up.
Give Yourself an Added Incentive
We all know how important it is to have a WHY that’s bigger than your WHY NOT when it comes to achieving your weight loss goals (or any goals, for that matter.)
But sometimes even the strongest why isn’t enough to keep your motivation up. If you can convince your friend, relative, spouse, or partner to a friendly competition, it helps to have someone accompany you along your weight loss journey. And if you’re “in this together” you are both more likely to succeed!
Rev Up The Exercise
The surest and simplest way to speed up your metabolism is exercise. Numerous studies have conclusively shown that an intense workout has a substantial effect upon the body’s metabolic rate. In this study, we see that intense exercise can increase the body’s rate of fat consumption by up to 75%! The same study also finds that the metabolic increase can still be observed two hours after the workout.
These studies also consistently show that short and intense bursts of exercise are better for weight loss than long-term continuous exercise. This particular study addresses the issue specifically by comparing only those two factors, and it found that two minutes of intense (“sprint-interval”) exercise is equal to 30 minutes of continuous exercise in terms of fat consumption. What this means is that your body will burn its reserve fuel (which is all fat really is) more quickly when you engage in short bursts of intense activity.
Incorporate Weight Training
Another good idea is to incorporate some weight training into your workout if you haven’t already done so. Studies show that this kind of training will not only prevent the metabolic drop associated with weight loss but will also keep you from losing muscle mass along with the fat.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
This might surprise you, but getting a good night’s sleep will help you to lose weight. This is actually a fairly important factor. Various medical studies have repeatedly shown that sleep deprivation is linked with the body’s metabolism. If quality sleep is an issue for you, it’s worth investing in sleep tracker like this Withings Sleep Tracking Pad. Plus if you have an iPhone and/or Apple Watch, it integrates very well with those devices and also with the Health App on your phone. That makes for really easy, automatic sleep tracking!
Increase Protein Intake
You should also consider adding more protein to your diet. Studies have shown that proper protein intake is essential for losing weight because a large dose of protein will increase the body’s metabolism for at least a few hours afterward. This is why many people find it useful to eat eggs before a workout. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you should have no problem finding alternate sources of protein such as beans, peanut butter, nuts, or tofu.