The dreaded weight-loss plateau – it’s something most dieters encounter around the six-month mark, research shows. Plateaus are so intensely frustrating that they often prompt people to quit their diet altogether. You can pass a plateau and become even stronger and more successful. Here’s how to do it.
#1 Get back to basics
If you’re used to track your food, exercise or weight, it’s time to restart that routine. Logging meals and workouts can help you see where you need to step up your efforts. If you’re already been keeping track of these things, take a look at your progress over time. Analyse the weeks or months that you were particularly successful, figure out what you were doing differently then, and go back to it.
#2 Cycle your eating
Calorie cycling is a fancy term for cutting back calories periodically rather than all the time, which can help you eat less without feeling deprived. Try eating just 1,000 to 1,200 calories of protein and vegetables for two days a week to get beyond a plateau, says Louis Aronne, M.D., the director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and the author of The Change Your Biology Diet.
#3 Go hard on protein
Eating fewer carbohydrates and more protein and fat could give your weight loss a jump start, Dr. Aronne says. He suggests cutting back on starches like bread, potatoes and rice and adding in more vegetables and lean protein. “Low-carb diets increase your metabolism and reduce your appetite because they’re high in protein,” he explains. “Plus, eating too many carbs raises your levels of insulin, a hormone that prompts your body to store calories as fat.”
#4 Do a workout revamp
Besides the obvious benefits, exercise makes your brain more sensitive to leptin, the hormone that triggers fullness. If you’ve been working out faithfully, a few small changes to your routine can have major payoffs. Adding fat blasting strength training or intervals to your session can help accelerate weight loss by raising your metabolism and keeping it elevated for hours after you leave the gym, research found. Try some new moves, because over time your body learns how to use less energy to do the workout.