Thursday, January 31, 2013

Avoid A Weight Loss Plateau-Advice To Beat Back The Plateau

Losing weight can be difficult enough the way it is, but early success is often enough to keep you motivated for a while. However, at some point it seems as though you just can't lose any more weight, but you haven't reached your goal yet. That's right, you have reached the dreaded plateau. While it can be discouraging when this happens, there are things you can do to avoid a weight loss plateau.

The more you can do to prevent this plateau from happening, the more motivated you will be to keep losing weight. At the same time, if you have already hit a plateau, then you can use that as a source of renewed motivation to work even harder at getting rid of your excess weight. Don't take it lying down...take action!

You may be wondering why these plateaus happen at all. One reason is that we tend to get lax in our habits once we start seeing results. We start off really strong and stick to our plan faithfully. Then a few pounds come off and we make little exceptions here and there, but stick to the plan for the most part. The problem is that "the most part" isn't enough to continue losing weight so we get stuck. The other main reason plateaus happen is that the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn when exercising. So, as you lose weight, you actually decrease how many calories you burn during physical activity.

At first it seems like a paradox--burning more calories when you weigh more. However, the truth is that this calorie burning only applies when you are engaged in physical activity. For example, someone who weighs 250 pounds will burn about 400 calories when they jog for 30 minutes, but someone who weighs 200 pounds will only burn 315. This makes it a little harder to burn more calories for doing the same amount of exercise.

Here's the catch, if you build muscle along with losing fat, you will burn more calories while at rest. That doesn't mean you can just coast long assuming that you have built up enough muscle to compensate for lower calorie burning due to reduced weight. Not only do you need to keep exercising when you reach plateau, you also need to increase the intensity to burn even more calories.

The other way to avoid a weight loss plateau is to look closely at your diet. Your priorities should change as you lose weight. At first you will be most concerned about losing weight quickly, but as you progress, you should try eating the foods that will provide the best fuel for exercise. Fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats are all good choices.

By doing all of these things you will be able to avoid a weight loss plateau and continue shedding pounds until you reach your target weight. It may take a bit of effort and a lot of commitment, but you're going to love the end result!
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