Weight loss is 70 percent diet and 30 percent exercise. For any given dieter, making small changes in either area can get the numbers back in motion.
Beating the Diet Plateau
Try these tips for moving the scale in the right direction again — you may not even need all of them to start seeing a difference:
- Clean up your diet. There are four deadly sins of food: butter, cheese, fried food, and sugar. These things will keep you from making progress. Examine your diet to make sure you’re being honest with yourself. You can’t complain about your weight if these foods are part of your diet.
- Skip the alcohol. Alcohol not only adds calories- it effectively slows your metabolism and reduces your motivation to work out and eat right.
- Go low-glycemic. If you are still eating refined carbs, get rid of them, especially before a workout. Eating a meal containing low-glycemic carbs about three hours before a workout results in more fat burned than a meal containing refined carbs. I will explain more on this in a future post.
- Vary your exercise routine. If you go to the gym or head outside and do the same thing every time, change your workout. Run today, lift weights tomorrow, swim on the next day, take a group exercise class the day after.
- Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Working out at different levels of intensity is thought to increase weight loss. Try weight-training for about 20 minutes, exercise at 85 percent of their maximum heart rate for about 10 minutes, do more weight training for about 10 minutes, and then finish with moderate cardio exercises.
- Strength train. Use weight training to build muscle. Each pound of muscle burns about 50 calories a day at rest. According to a national survey of more than 6,000 adults, about 19 percent of people who were successful with weight loss included weight training in their workouts.
- Use a heart rate monitor. It keeps you honest about the intensity of your workout. Figure out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Target your workouts so your heart rate stays between 65 and 85 percent of your maximum most of the time. People tend to work under their capacity, the heart monitor will keep you working at peak efficiency.
- Drink water. If you are not drinking enough water during the day, your body may be retaining water, adding to the numbers on the scale. How much to drink? What is your weight? Divide that number in half. You should drink that many ounces of water each day.
- Exercise for more than 30 minutes every day. People who exercise at least 30 minutes every day are more successful with weight loss. Try to get in at least this much exercise — and increasing the time you spend working out every day will increase the caloric burn.
- Get the people in your life on board. Most people don’t sabotage your diet on purpose, but don’t let them convince you to eat bad stuff along with them. Overweight people tend to have overweight friends. Get them to join you in making changes-it might change their life!