Pat yourself on the back: Youíve lost weight! Or, at least you had lost weight, but for the past few days or even weeks, the scale hasnít been budging. You donít feel like youíre doing anything different with your diet. Youíre keeping carbs low, eating the appropriate amount of protein, and youíre moderating all of it with a consistent exercise program.
For most people attempting to lose weight, there comes a time when they reach that inevitable plateau where their motivation is soaring but theyíve stopped seeing results. If youíre nodding right now, donít worry. What youíre experiencing is totally normal. Plateaus, whether they relate to weight, to your job, or your closest relationship, are a call to charge things up again, refine your strategies and keep moving forward.
So rather than give up and maintain your current weight, or worse yet, drown yours sorrows in a half dozen donuts, there are numerous actions you can take to reignite your program.
Here are our top 5 picks for breaking through your weight plateau:
1.) Consider Intermittent Fasting
Although Conventional Wisdom tells us that fasting forces the metabolism into slow motion causing your body to cling onto fat stores, recent scientific studies have suggested otherwise. According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, alternate day fasting may result in an improvement in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, as well as decreases in fat mass. While science is still unearthing the precise mechanisms for why and how this occurs, the previously-held idea that you have to eat six meals a day or more in order to keep your metabolism stoked to lose weight simply isnít true.
Lucky for you, intermittent fasting (IF) can be done in a number of ways. From daily fasting, by only eating during a 5-hour time period, or setting aside one to three days a week to fast, the combinations are virtually endless. The important thing is to know is what kind of intermittent fasting technique will work best for you and your lifestyle, and this can only be determined by a little experimentation. As long as IF is done correctly, it can kick your body off of its weight plateau in just a matter of days. And keep in mind that IF is not about starving yourself. Itís about eating in a manner that mimics the natural irregularity of Grokís eating patterns.
2.) Write it Down (Tracking calories/macros)
A slice of bread here, a handful of tortilla chips there Ė it all adds up. When we start to lose weight, we might be inclined to loosen the reins on what we can eat. Even though occasional indulgences should be enjoyed guilt-free, when youíre still trying to lose weight, those seemingly benign snacks still count.
So for one week, write down everything that you eat. Everything. From the sugar packet you dropped into your coffee to the two bites of of Cherry Garcia you snuck from cousin Salís dessert bowl at your nieceís sweet 16, write it down. A food diary is an honest look into what youíre actually eating, not what you think you are eating.
Need more convincing that you might not be being honest with yourself? According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who kept a food diary in a 20-week study dropped double the weight of the dieters who did not chronicle their food choices. Keeping a food diary makes you accountable for what you eat because it forces you to consider your actions before you take them. This is an effective safeguard against mindless snacking or emotional eating.
If youíre looking for an online food journal, check out the one at FitDay.com. Itís free and super easy to use.
Side Note: The Primal Eating Plan is meant to be intuitive and easy. One of the great things about Primal eating is that you donít have to count calories and track every bite of food you consume. This is why we only recommend the food diary as a "temporary method to uncover any dietary indiscretions." Once youíve honed in on and refined your behaviors we say ditch the journal and get on with eating Primal in a natural way that requires little to no effort.
3.) Switch Up Your Workouts
They say variety is the spice of life, and this holds true when it comes to your workouts. Without change you might find yourself dreading the monotony of regular gym sessions and simply lose motivation. Additionally, your body can become used to to the same caloric burn and muscle exertion as it becomes more efficient at completing regular movements. Give your brain and brawn the wake up call they need by shaking up your usual routine with some new additions.
Try increasing the speed as you exercise and do short bursts of intense exercises (such as sprinting) for one to two minutes followed by small rest periods. These short bursts of anaerobic activity will stimulate your body to release human growth hormone, which helps to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass.
If that doesnít do the trick, try getting super Primal by ditching the gym, shoes, and structure for some free form activity. If this doesnít keep things interesting weíre not sure what will.
Keep in mind that 80% of your body composition is a result of your diet. The remaining 20% is determined by how you effectively manage your sleeping patterns and stress levels, how you exercise and other lifestyle factors. Increasing your workout intensity is but one way to tweak an otherwise optimized weight loss plan.
4.) Reduce Carbs
Try reducing your carb intake to 50-100 grams per day to reduce insulin production and fire up your fat metabolism. Make sure that youíre eating enough protein for your weight (we suggest using the .7-1 gram per pound of lean body weight formula), eating the right vegetables and snacking on high-fat foods to keep you feeling satisfied.
5.) Keep on Keeping on
Remember that losing 10 lbs when you are starting at 300 isnít nearly as difficult as losing 10 when you are approaching your ideal weight (say, going from 170 to 160 for a male). Donít let this come to you as discouragement. Just recognize that changes might not come as quickly as they once had and resolve to stay the course.
Also, know that The Primal Blueprint lifestyle is about long term goals. Though you can lose weight quickly on the PB, keep your head straight and remember that the emphasis should always be on a healthy, Primal lifestyle Ė not a get-fit-quick routine. You can do it, but it may take time.
FINAL TIPS: If you havenít done it already (or even if you have!), consider taking the 30-Day Primal Health Challenge. It may sound daunting, but employing the ďact as ifĒ tips will be sure to get you through those tough moments when a piece of dry toast looks better than a killer omelet (does this really ever happen?).
If youíve tried all of these strategies and youíre still stuck, donít hesitate to hit us up with a comment. Our experienced Primal community will likely be able to help.
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