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Published on July 25, 2018

Unique Solutions to Try Today When You’ve Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

Unique Solutions to Try Today When You’ve Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

In a parallel universe, dieting might be easy. In our sphere – it’s sadly not.

I’ve done plenty of short and long diets in my life, successful and not-so-successful ones. What do all of these attempts have in common?

In every single one of those endeavors, I’ve hit a weight loss plateau after a certain period of time. How I reacted to that weight loss plateau determined if the diet was turning out to be fruit-bearing or not.

In this article, you will learn how to overcome these guaranteed setbacks on your journey and how to come back stronger than before.

Why you hit a weight loss plateau

Our bodies do not like to give away our energy storage.

It’s very unlikely that we had an ancestor that was happily exhausting himself, in an environment where food resources were scarce. Instead our hunter and gatherer predecessors have evolved to shun energy loss.

That’s why the first few minutes of exercising are always a pain in the neck, even for the most advanced of athletes. David Goggins, Ex-Navy-Seal and finisher of multiple continuous 100-mile races, said this about running:

I hate to run. — David Goggins, experienced ultra endurance runner and probably the toughest man alive

What Mr. Goggins is telling us with that thorough statement is that excess energy usage for no apparent survival-related gain, produces negative feelings in his brainstem.

What I want to get across is:

Hitting a plateau is normal. Our genomes have evolved to store energy instead of being energy wasters – and that’s a good thing.

But first we have to find out if we’re truly hitting a plateau or our mind is tricking us into believing so.

Are you objectively stuck?

In the fitness center I manage, a young and ambitious lad once complained to me about his lack of weight loss results.

After 2 months of being on a strict and sustainable diet, his weighing scale still showed him a rather small decline of 2 kilos. He strictly followed the advice of me and our trainers yet couldn’t see the results he hoped for. He felt cheated on and even asked for a refund.

Promptly I inquired if the weighing scale was the only way he measured his progress. It was.

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It turned out that the frequent gym-goer in fact did see results. He was extremely satisfied with the view in the mirror and even got compliments from his friends and family.

But he based the results of his success solely on the reduction of his body weight, which means he based his happiness of an irrelevant number on a weighing scale.

This is not the way to do it.

When starting a diet, try to get at least 2 variables that you can measure. For example:

  1. Your body weight and before and after pictures.
  2. Before and after pictures and circumferences of your body parts.

This way you make sure if you’re truly hitting a plateau or your mind is simply playing tricks on you.

How to break through the weight loss plateau (Step-by-step)

Once you’ve determined that you’ve indeed hit a plateau. Here are a couple steps that you can follow to break through:

1. Take a look at your goals and your why

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. — Seneca

This is an old saying yet so massively true in our day and age. You have to know where you’re going, to be on the right path. That’s why it’s so crucial that you’ve written down your goals before committing to this weight-loss journey.

If not – this is the time to do it. Reassess what you’re trying to reach and why. Humans are reasonable creatures – for the most part – we need a reason why we do what we do.

Action:

Take at least 10 minutes out of your day, sit in a quite corner with a pen and paper and get this step sorted.

Do this right now. It’s the easiest step and probably the one that will create a big change in your life.

2. Readjust your habits accordingly

If we’re following a diet long enough, we often let our habits slip without even noticing it. We unconsciously increase the portion size, decrease our effort in the gym and buy unhealthier foods.

Just recently I did a diet for a short vacation to Italy and hit a weight-loss plateau. I struggled to find the reason until I noticed that I started to eat two reasonably-sized breakfasts every morning, instead of the usual one. One before the morning workout and one after.

This is quite common on a diet. We’re deluding ourselves and then rationalizing our behaviour. “It’s just a one-time thing”, we say. Or: “I’ve earned that donut – it’s the way I treat myself.”

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As weight-loss is going against our ingrained nature, our brains are great in leading us subtly yet surely off-path. That’s why we need to reassess our goals and our why in step 1, to now readjust our habits accordingly.

Action:

Take a picture of all the meals and beverages that you put in your body during the day. Are these aligned with your goals? Are you happy with what you put in your body?

Be honest with yourself. Our goals are not our goals if we don’t back them up with the right actions.

3. Be urgently patient

Once you’ve readjusted your nutrition and workout habits, the chances are pretty high that you’ve broken through the plateau already.

It’s the time to be urgently patient. This is a term Gary Vaynerchuck uses regarding to the business world. Meaning: On the bigger scale you should be patient, on the smaller, minute-to-minute scale, you should act urgently.

Action:

Follow the proven steps noted before for at least 2 weeks and give it your best effort.

If you’ve seen a difference, go to step 1 and reassess your habits and goals.

If you haven’t seen a difference, proceed to step 4.

4. Add one of the seven plateau-breaker strategies

After you’ve made sure that you’ve certainly hit a plateau, you can implement one of these seven plateau-breaker strategies.

This is the last step of these 4 because it can be used to break through future plateaus. Let’s proceed with caution:

We may not be blessed with the best genetics, but if there’s one thing we can control, it’s our effort. Work hard, friend!

Following are 7 unique solutions which helped me and countless of our clients to reach their dream bodies, by obliterating a plateau. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Caffeine Is Your Friend

There are numerous studies on green tea and its effectiveness on weight loss and health.

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While green tea is an antioxidant rich beverage that has been shown to slow down aging, it can also decrease your satiety and increase your overall weight loss.[1]

Implement 2 cups of green tea every single day to break through the plateau.

The mysterious seeds

Chia seeds

are your friends. They have been shown to be effective in helping you lose weight. Even in studies controlled for fiber levels.[2]

Add a handful of chia seeds to your breakfast.

The high calorie food for weight loss

Nuts contain a lot of calories yet they’ve been shown to increase your weight loss by raising your calorie expenditure at the same time.

In fact nuts, in addition to its dietary fiber, have been shown to be negatively correlated with weight gain over time.[3]

Add a handful of nuts to your breakfast to increase your satiety over the day.

Get your heart working

Burning more calories by upping your work-load is one of the easiest ways to break a weight loss plateau. Yet also one of the hardest ones.

In addition to breaking through a weight-loss plateau, this can help you have more energy and decrease your recovery time. I had to learn this the hard way.

Add 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio 2 times a week to boost your weight loss.

Extra accountability leads to extra progress

We’re social creatures. A lot of the things that we do on a daily basis is to increase our reputation in the tribe that we live in.

Use this fact to your advantage. One of the easiest actions to exploit this natural human tendency is to post your progress pictures on Facebook.

To put your accountability on steroids, train with a friend or best: hire a coach .

Hire a coach for 3 months to kick-start your weight loss success.

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Decrease obesogenic chemicals in your food

Animal foods have been shown to be correlated with weight gain. But is it because vegetarians eat more plants, or less meat?

There was a study in 2012, observing over 3900 men and women, that found the group with increased meat consumption to experience more weight gain. Even when both groups were controled for fruit consumption, vegetable consumption, grain consumption, physical activity and even calorie intake.[4]

Chicken was the meat most closely related with obesity. Decrease your intake of animal foods by substituting 3 chicken-based-meals per week with beans or legumes.

Take the stairs

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I stress sustainability and consistency.

If we truly want to keep the weight off long-term and avoid the Yo-Yo effect, we need to adjust our habits.

Implement basic, physical activity in your day. You don’t need to run a marathon in the morning at 4am. But try to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the supermarket instead of using your car.

Little changes go a long way. Avoid the elevator for the next 7-days.

Summing it up

Hitting a weight-loss plateau is normal when doing a diet to get to the best shape of your life. The question is just how you react to these setbacks along your journey.

We have to first make sure that we truly hit a weight-loss plateau and our mind is not playing tricks on us. To do that, we have to reassess our goals and readjust our habits accordingly.

Only after we’ve been urgently patient, we can then use one of these effective 7 Plateau-Breakers to increase our diet success:

  1. Green Tea
  2. Chia Seeds
  3. Nuts (Beware of Cashews)
  4. Cardiovascular Training
  5. Accountability or Coach
  6. Less Animal Products
  7. More Activitiy in Your Day

Dieting is not easy, it’s hard. But if it’s easy, everyone would do it.

We may not be blessed with the best genetics but if there’s one thing we can control, it’s our effort.

Work hard, friend!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

More by this author

Florian Wüest

Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worse

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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