You were happily losing weight eating right and exercising, but with five more pounds left to go, the scale stopped budging. Find out what can cause weight loss to hit a wall and what you can do about it.
- I'm all about breakfast, lunch, and dinner: When counting and restricting your calorie intake, it makes sense to eat fewer times a day. The problem with this is it can make blood sugar levels rise and fall like a roller coaster, which slows down metabolism. Keep that metabolism going strong by eating throughout the day, every few hours. Keep those three meals, but sprinkle 150-calorie snacks in between.
- I'll just have a salad: Just as eating too many calories can cause you to hit a weight-loss wall (or even gain weight), not eating enough calories can also prevent you from slimming down. If your body senses that it's not getting enough, your metabolism will slow down and hold onto fat. So be sure not to skip meals or go below 1,200 calories a day.
- I eat 1,200 calories a day, I think: If you've figured out a set number of daily calories with a nutritionist, you're one step closer to dropping pounds. It's easy to underestimate calorie amounts, or forget about those handfuls of M&M's you innocently grab off your co-worker's desk, both of which can contribute to going over your daily calorie limit without you even realizing it. Keep yourself honest by writing everything down in a food journal. We're talking every single sip, lick, and nibble you take. If you have a hard time not cheating, share your food journal with a friend.
- Oh, let's try that new restaurant: Eating out while trying to lose weight is possible, but it's much harder. Since you're not preparing the food yourself, you really have no idea how many calories you're consuming, plus you tend to eat more than you would in your own kitchen. So keep the meals eaten out to a minimum of once a week, and follow these tips to save calories when you do dine out.
- I'm heading out for another run: Yes, running is a wonderful workout that burns calories and strengthens your muscles, but doing the same exact workout every single time you exercise is a surefire way to hit a weight-loss plateau. Your muscles need to constantly be challenged in order to keep your metabolism from slowing down. You can keep running, just beef up the intensity and mix it up with hills and sprinting intervals. Also include other forms of cardio such as biking and swimming to work other parts of your body. It's also important to include strength training three times a week since lean muscle burns more calories than fat.