If you’re reading this, then you already know that those last few pounds are your worst enemy. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones whose weight seemed to fall off in the beginning. You stopped drinking soda and lost a few pounds. Or you started walking, running, or hitting the gym and lost a few more. After cutting carbs and increasing protein you may have started thinking the end was in sight. Five pounds doesn’t seem like much and by now you’re a pro at this whole weight loss thing. Right? Unfortunately, many struggle with a weight-loss plateau when they get near their goal.
If a battle is what they want, it’s only fitting that you come prepared with a few weapons of your own. Forget about cutting out cupcakes or skipping that second helping, you’ll need to bring in the big guns to get past a weight-loss plateau.
1. Switch up your workout
Your body is smarter than you give it credit for. If since the beginning your weight loss plan has been to hit the elliptical a few days a week, then you desperately need to switch it up. After a few weeks of doing the same activity over and over, your clever body will find a way to use the least amount of energy to perform the task. This means that as time goes on, you will see fewer results for the same amount of effort.
If you’re a cardio devotee, do intervals rather than a longer, steady paced workout. Add strength training, if you haven’t before. Try Pilates, kickboxing, jumping rope, or running. Focus on continually surprising and challenging your body with each workout for quicker, more noticeable benefits.
2. Judge your drinks
You may be exercising like Channing Tatum in preparation for Magic Mike and eating less than anyone you know, but it’s time to get real about your beverages. Do you down a tall glass of OJ every morning, hit up Starbucks for a flavored latte, or guzzle beers like a frat boy? This is one habit that needs to stop. You get an estimated 22% of your daily calories from sweetened drinks that pack in hidden calories. Combat this by drinking water (always calorie free), skipping sugary syrup in your coffee drink, and decreasing your alcohol intake. With these changes, your weight-loss plateau doesn’t stand a chance.
3. Processed? Trash it
This can be a tough one, as dieters love the ease and accessibility of 100-calorie packs or fat-free and reduced calorie snacks, but processed foods like these may be keeping you from reaching your goal weight. These items are made from cheap, low-nutrition crops like corn, soy, and wheat. They get their delicious taste and addictive quality from chemical flavors and sugar substitutes. These diet-friendly foods shouldn’t be classified as food at all. They will unleash havoc on your body and slow your metabolism. Eat smaller portions of real food for a happy body and long-term results.
4. Blend away
There is always one meal a day where we’re a little lax with ourselves. Maybe you add a little extra to your plate or have trouble resisting something sweet. Substitute this meal with a fiber rich and protein packed smoothie made from veggies, fruit, nut butter, and dairy. Smoothies are a great way to get in your dark, leafy greens without having to stomach an entire kale salad. Let the fruits mask any veggies you traditionally steer away from. Plus, fruits and veggies that have been blended or juiced are easier to digest making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients and take full advantage of the good stuff.