Plateauing?

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Health, Healthy Tips, Nutrition

Losing weight used to be SOOOOO easy. When I was 20 I wanted to lose 5 lbs, I ate a little less for a few days and boom! 5 lbs gone. Well, gone are those days! As we get older our metabolism slows down and changes. These changes work against us by way of maintaining a slim and trim figure. If you are having trouble losing a few pounds, there may be a reason why. Good news is you can do something about it!

Did you know that our sneaky little bodies adapt to our workouts? Even the hardest routine you can think up will eventually lose its efficacy as a fat burner as we continue down the road towards a healthier people. Muscles adapt to movements and compensate by regenerating themselves in nifty ways that make the movements that you do a regular basis “easier” to preform. Look at a speed skater. Overtime, a speed skater develops large, powerful leg muscles that help the athlete preform to his or her highest potential. A gymnasts body is built completely different because that sport demands different movements from different sets of muscles.

So your muscles get stronger as you perform your workout, and then, as if it isn’t hard enough to lose those pounds… your metabolism begins to freak out. You are eating less calories than your “normal” diet that it has been used to. You are also putting great stress on your body systems as you increase your exercise level. The result is your metabolism telling your brain to hang onto fat, the very thing we want GONE. Your body hangs onto those fat cells because it is preparing for a famine. Food has become scarce (even though you aren’t starving yourself; your cells can’t seem to progress passed the cavemen frame of mind….) and workload has increased. Your body goes on strike. Hello plateau.

How do we resolve this?

Change up your workout routines. Don’t rely on running, weight lifting, or pilates alone to get you where you want to be. Mix it up often.

Alternate your calories. Give your body a “rest” day (I am not a fan of “free” or “cheat” days. A lot of people have a tendency to really lose their grip on an otherwise stable eating plan due to that delicious mac n’ cheese they ate on their cheat day). If you normally are calculating your calorie intake to be 1500 calories, your rest day should have 200-300 more GOOD calories, not empty ones. Eat the normal healthful foods you do on your work days, but just fit in an extra snack or protein shake. It is also important to not workout at all on this day of rest. All systems will hopefully readjust themselves back to “A-OK” and your plateau will be no longer.

Sadly, to compensate for the +200 calories on a rest day, you must -200 calories somewhere else in the week. So you would eat 1500-200 calories on another day that week, or split up over two… The point is to allow your weekly calorie intake to remain unchanged.

Be sure the calories that you are consuming on a day-to-day basis have enough proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to fuel your body. If you aren’t getting enough protein, your muscles won’t be able to repair themselves effectively. If you aren’t getting enough fat and carbs in your diet, your body isn’t going to have the fuel it needs to get up and get moving during your work out and as a result will tap into your muscles for “gas”. Less muscle means less burning power and a slower metabolism. We want to break down fat, not muscle.

If these don’t help you jump start your weight loss and get back on track, then I suggest talking to a nutritionist or your doctor. It is possible that you are lacking in a vitamin or nutrient and as a result your pesky cells are sabotaging your weightloss plan. Those little stinkers!

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Comments
  1. wartica says:

    That is exactly what my kung-fu instructor says; you have to change up the workouts to shock the body. Your body will get used to the same movements, which makes no room for any change in your overall weight. I hope you had a great new year’s and I look forward to reading more from you:))

    jonwatersauthor.wordpress.com

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