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Health/Fitness Blog: The Battle of Stubborn Pounds — Overcoming Weight-Loss Plateaus

You’ve been hitting the gym hard, eating healthy, and watching those sweets, but suddenly those pounds that were easily lost have almost come to a complete halt. You have hit a weight loss plateau. However, this is normal and once you get back on track, the scale’s numbers will continue to decrease.

“A weight-loss plateau occurs when you no longer lose weight, despite continuing with your exercise and healthy-eating habits,” according to MayoClinic.com. This inevitably happens to just about everyone who is trying to lose weight. A rapid drop in weight is common during the first few weeks of your new workout and healthy eating regimen. During these weeks, calories from foods are reduced, allowing the body to release its glycogen stores to use for energy during your workout. When these stores are released, water is also released because glycogen stores also hold onto water, commonly known as “water weight.”

Water weight is the easiest to lose, but once you’ve gotten rid of all the excess water weight you usually hit your plateau. This occurs because your metabolism slows. Weight loss comes with the loss of both fat and lean tissue. Your body develops a new equilibrium with a slower metabolism. So how do you get additional stubborn pounds to vanish?

Photo – Body Mass Index (BMI) Chart

Evaluate your habits. Look back at your food and activity records (there are TONS of apps that allow you to record food intake and exercise easily). Make sure that you are sticking with a high protein, low carb diet and that you haven’t been slacking in the exercise department. It is easy to underestimate how much food you’ve eaten if you don’t write it down. Take time to think about the time of day you usually get cravings that cause you to binge eat. Also, recognize the kind of “eater” you are says Thomas R. Pryzbeck, PhD—impulsive eaters must get rid of any temptations in the house/apartment/dorm, oblivious eaters need to watch how much food they consume while watching TV or studying, uptight eaters tend to be anxious or nervous and feel the need to eat, in order to calm themselves, tenacious eaters have a “stick-to-it” attitude and tend to lose weight easily, and sociable eaters tend to monitor food intake better than others.

Cut more calories. Never put yourself below 1,200 calories, but if you haven’t reached that point, decrease calorie intake by 100-200. Also, be aware of “creep calories” that you normally don’t account for, such as condiments, pop, butter, snacks, and bread.

Rev up your workout. After a while, your muscles get used to the routine and become efficient at whatever workout it may be. Either increase the amount of time you spend in the gym by 15-20 minutes, increase the intensity of your exercise with intervals, higher resistance, hills, or running faster, or switch up your entire exercise. Any additional exercise or increase in difficulty will result in more calories burned.

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Be aware that some weight-loss goals are unrealistic and may become dangerous to someone’s overall health. Don’t become discouraged if you only drop ½ a pound a week—you also gain muscle during workouts! Stay motivated and realize that making the first steps to eating healthy and exercising regularly will have you looking and feeling your best no matter what the number on the scale says.

For a more accurate reading of your Body Mass Index (BMI), information regarding your appropriate calorie intake, target workout heart rate and more, visit WebMD.

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