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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 March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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