How to get past the frustrating weight-loss plateau

Even if you’ve been losing weight slowly and steadily, you’ll probably hit a plateau at some point. During weight loss, it’s common to lose lean muscle mass, especially if you’re on a diet with too few calories and protein. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, losing muscle mass slows your metabolism. To keep losing weight, you’ll have to either work out more or eat less.

But should you really do either of those? There are other ways to get out of a plateau besides shimmying. Let’s dive in.

1. How stress affects losing weight

If you want to lose weight, stress is your worst enemy. Being stressed all the time can make you eat more and take in more calories, which can make you gain weight. It also makes your body make more cortisol, which has been shown to make you store more fat in your belly.

Deep breathing and meditation are both good ways to deal with stress, and they could also help you lose weight.

So, the last thing you want to do if you’ve hit a weight loss plateau is worry, and for more than one reason.

2. Get some shut-eye: Sleep and weight loss

Getting enough good sleep is important for a healthy body and mind, but it can also affect how much you weigh. When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones get all messed up, which can make you hungrier, store more fat, and slow down your metabolism.

Try to sleep 7–9 hours a night, but not less than 5 hours a night. This will protect your metabolism and is good for your health in a lot of other ways as well.

3. Consume plenty of fiber

Getting enough fiber is good for your health in a lot of ways. It can help you feel full and lose weight. But not all fibers are the same when it comes to how well they help you lose weight.

Viscous fiber is a type of soluble fiber that is only found in plant foods like asparagus, oats, Brussels sprouts, and flaxseed. When viscous fiber meets water, it turns into a thick gel-like substance that slows digestion and may make you feel full for longer.

4. Eat a lot of vegetables that aren’t starchy.

Mom was right. It is a good idea to eat your vegetables. Studies show that healthy diets that include a lot of vegetables may help people lose weight. This makes sense, since vegetables that don’t contain starch are low in calories and carbs and high in fiber and other nutrients.

You can eat non-starchy vegetables at any time of the day, even for breakfast. The more green a vegetable is, the better for you it is.

5. Increase the intensity of your workout.

If you want to keep losing weight, you should move around as much as you can. Remember that it’s important to keep your muscle mass when you’re trying to lose body fat. Your metabolism runs on lean muscle mass, so it’s important to keep as much of it as you can.

When you add resistance training to your workout, you can rebuild and keep what your mom gave you. Don’t forget cardio either. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be especially good at helping people lose weight.

6. Eat a lot of protein.

Protein is the only macronutrient that speeds up your metabolism more than any other. Part of this is because of the thermal effect of food, or TEF. Proteins take more energy for your body to break down than carbs and fats.

Protein also makes your body make more of the hormone PYY, which makes you feel less hungry and fuller after you eat.

Bottom line: Cutting calories isn’t the only way to eat to lose weight. Getting enough protein will also boost your metabolism and may help you get past a weight loss plateau.

7. Spread out your protein.

It’s great to eat protein, but it’s even better to spread it out among your meals. Eating protein makes you feel fuller, so eating it for breakfast and throughout the day might keep you from eating too much at meals.

When it comes to snacks, this is especially true. Even though it’s not a full meal, you shouldn’t cut back on protein. Several studies have shown that having a snack like Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, may help you feel less hungry and eat fewer calories later in the day.

8. Consult your doctor about fasting on a regular basis.

Some research has shown that short-term fasting or intermittently limiting your calories is more effective at helping you lose weight than limiting your calories all the time. It may also be less harmful to your metabolism. But newer research suggests that intermittent fasting (IF) is just as good for weight loss as restricting calories all the time. In either case, it’s clear that intermittent fasting can help some people lose weight.

Some people may find IF safe and helpful, but it’s not right for everyone. If you want to try IF to lose weight, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about it. You should stay away from it if:

  • I have diabetes
  • Reacting to low blood sugar
  • are pregnant
  • Every day, do a lot of hard physical activity.

9. Reduce your carbohydrate intake

Cutting back on refined carbs is another way to get past a weight loss plateau.

People lose more weight with eating plans that focus on cutting back on refined carbs than with more traditional methods like cutting calories.

As with IF, not everyone can follow a low-carb diet, and the long-term effects are still unknown. Before making changes to your diet to cut down on carbs, talk to your doctor or a registered dietician.

10. You booze, you don’t lose.

Don’t drink any more pinot noir. Most of the time, drinking alcohol is not going to help you lose weight. Research has shown that some people eat more when they are drinking and after they have been drinking. Also, drinking alcohol has been shown to stop your body from burning fat and may make you gain belly fat.

How alcohol affects the body is different for everyone, but since it has no real nutritional value, it’s best to stop drinking.

11. Get some tea or coffee.

Coffee and tea can help you lose weight in many ways, starting with the caffeine they contain. Caffeine, which is found in coffee and some teas, may help people lose weight and body fat.

If coffee isn’t your thing, green tea may help you lose weight because it has caffeine and EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant.

12. The scale doesn’t lie, but it can be misleading.

Getting too caught up in the number on the scale won’t help you lose weight. Even something as simple as holding on to water after a salty meal can make the number go back up, but that doesn’t mean you’ve really gained weight.

And if you have a period, the hormones that move around your body at that time of the month can also stop you from feeling like you’re losing weight.

Instead of focusing on a specific goal weight, try to pay attention to how you feel or even how your clothes fit. Sometimes the way your jeans fit is a better indicator of your weight than the scale. This is especially important if you work out your muscles a lot.

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