Break Through Your Plateau

Get on the ball and break through your plateau

You've laid off the starches and piled on the veggies. You've spurned dinners out with friends so you don't miss your 6:00 am hard-core bootcamp class. You can't remember the last time you had a drink. You were doing great, but now? The scale doesn't move. Here's how to bust out of a plateau. Check your portion sizes. If you've been eyeballing your serving sizes lately, it's likely that you've been putting a little more food on the plate than you realize. Be honest with yourself and go back to measuring cups and scales to make sure you're getting the right amounts. I'm also a fan of the portion plate, a no-brainer way to keep your diet balanced and portion-appropriate. Add 100 calories per day. You'd be amazed how many times it's not eating too much but eating too little! If you really are watching portion sizes then try adding 100 calories to your daily intake and see if that moves the scale. Switch to interval cardio. If you've been doing the same ol', same ol' cardio routine, mix it up to add intense bursts of all-out effort to boost your metabolism and shake up your fat cells a little bit. If you typically do a 30-minute cardio routine try adding four or five 2-minute bursts to your workout to goose your calorie burn and get the numbers ticking down again. Don't slack on weight training. You need both cardio and weight training to have an effective overall weight loss plan. Make sure you're doing a full body weight training workout at least twice a week. The routine should have a bare minimum of eight to ten exercises but a well-rounded routine will be in the neighborhood of 15 to 20. Adjust your calorie intake. Because there is more than one way to bust through your plateau, you may need to adjust your daily meals. As you lose weight, your body needs less calories to keep all systems running. You can figure out your calorie intake here. If you've lost significant weight then you're going to need to drop your calorie levels to keep the weight coming off. It is, I think, one of the most unfair things about being successful with weight loss. Overdoing exercise, burnout happens. You want to lose the weight so badly you get in the mindset of more, more, more and then your body decides to mutiny on you. It happens. If you've been doing hard workout after hard workout ease up. Either add an extra rest day per week (watch the calories on that day) or switch to a mind/body workout like yoga or Pilates. Let your body rest and repair itself so it can stay healthy and find it's new happy weight. Read the list honestly and think about which idea is the best one for you to start with. You probably already know if you've been sneaking extra food or working out too hard. Try one or two things first to see if that gets the scale moving again. If not, tweak your program again and try another idea. Let me know how you do. :-) L--

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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4 Responses to Break Through Your Plateau

  1. RunToTheFinish August 11, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    totally guilty of not eating enough at points…even at 2000 cals I was doing so much exercise for training that really wasn’t enough and didn’t allow me to push harder either

  2. Lisa Johnson August 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    it’s funny how often that’s the problem and people are so frustrated because they’re working so hard and nothing is moving! I tell ’em to eat 100 calories more per day and they look at me like I’m insane. But it works a lot … my little secret weapon … thanks for sharing your story. L–

  3. Kris O'Connor August 26, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    So interesting – I’m trying not to be discouraged by the scale, because over all I’m stronger and fitter and I have dropped a few (literally) pounds. I can do things today, easier, that I couldn’t have done a month ago. But it’s hard to not shake the “gosh – I’d really like to be below x lbs”. Portions are a big deal for sure, and for me, I was so out of whack, just trying to eat better, get rest, drink water, and get regular strength/cardio activity.

    It’s odd because I’m SO much better than I was 6 months ago in terms of health & activity, I would have thought that would have been reflected on the scale. Hmmmmmmm – as always it’s probably an input/output issue.


  4. Lisa Johnson August 26, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Kris it’s almost always a calorie issue. Either too few or more often than not too many … keep your cardio focused and work on the food and you’ll be fine.

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