Homeostasis. That is a fancy way to say equilibrium and that is what your body craves. We are very adaptive creatures, and our body's work to maintain homeostasis. This is really no big deal, unless you are trying to lose weight and then it really just translates into the word the dieter dreads - PLATEAU.
When you hit a plateau, meaning the weight, fat, and inches are no longer coming off, you need to change. Mix up your exercise plan; mix up your eating plan. Your body has acclimated to your current program - it knows your number.
Here are a few ways to change your exercise plan:
- Try a new form of cardio exercise. If you walk, try biking. If you bike try running. If you run, try swimming.
- Try interval training. Instead of climbing on the elliptical and keeping the resistance and strides per minute the same, do the hill routine, or add sprints every 2 to 10 minutes and sprint (anaerobic exercise) for 1 to 3 minutes.
- If strength training is not part of your exercise plan, adding it now could be the boost you need. It builds lean muscle mass, helps to strengthen bone tissue, and can help raise your metabolic rate.
- Conversely, if you are spending 3 days a week on strength training and only 2 days doing cardio workouts, try upping the days of your cardio regimen.
I have some more ideas for you, so
Regarding caloric intake; here are a few ways to play 3-card monte with your metabolism.
- If you eat a lot of low fat food and carbs, try to eat healthy fats and lean proteins. You need to vary your diet the way you vary your exercise routine.
- Vary your caloric intake daily. Maintain the same caloric intake over the week, but eat 100 calories more one day, followed by 100 calories less the next day. I have heard this referred to as the zig zag method.
- Alter your eating habits. Replace 3 meals a day, with 6 small meals. Keeping the daily caloric intake virtually the same.
Increase the amount of vegetables and fruits in your meal plan. Many dieters decrease daily calories but manage to not eat a healthy diet. Focusing on eating healthy might make a difference.
If it sounds like you are trying to confuse your body, well...you are. By changing up your routine you might break your boredom with your workouts and your meal plans.
Remember: 3500 less calories a week equals 1 pound of fat lost. Vary your caloric intake and/or vary your exercise plan, just make sure you are sticking to your ultimate caloric intake versus energy spent goal. To determine this number, check out the FitSugar Calculator - it will help you figure out how many calories you can consume to maintain your current weight, then figure out how you want to decrease your caloric intake.