7 Days of Lifestyle Improvement to Overcome the Weight Loss Plateau
Have you been doing all that you possibly can to shed those last pesky 5 pounds? Are you still are unable to reach your weight loss goals? That’s what we call the weight loss plateau. Don’t be discouraged, though. This plateau can be overcome with some easy lifestyle hacks. Here’s my 7-Day Challenge to get you started to reach your personal healthy lifestyle goals.
Day 1 | Calories in, Calories out: Diet
There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat, so in order to lose that one pound, you must have a deficit. A healthy fat-loss is typically one to two pounds per week for the average healthy adult. This means that you need to eliminate 500-1,000 calories per day of food or beverage intake in order to lose the recommended weight loss by the end of the week. Beware that this depends on your normal daily caloric intake. So, if you are consuming less than 1,000 calories a day or if you wish to lose more than one pound per week, you should consult your Medical Doctor.
Tip to get started: Track your normal, daily caloric intake (anything with calories: food, drinks, vitamins, etc) for a week or two before you begin in order to better understand where you can cut things out. Slowly cut your calories down each day until you are able to maintain a consistent caloric deficit.
Day 2 | Calories in, Calories out: Exercise
The same principle applies as stated above in regards to a calorie deficit, but with exercise, you use your calories as energy in order to burn that fat. If you wish to reach your one pound of weight loss per week goal, it is time to increase activity. The way to do this is to increase your physical activity to more frequency, more time or to a level of higher intensity. A few examples:
- You are currently exercising three days a week. Increase your activity to five days a week.
- You normally exercise for 30 minutes a day. Great! Now add 15 more minutes until you are exercising for 60-90 minutes at a time.
- You are walking every evening after work for 30 minutes. Try jogging for a minute and walking for a minute until 30 minutes is up.
Tip to get started: Track your normal weekly activity for a week or two before you start in order to determine where you can improve based on your schedule.
Day 3 | Hydrate
Over 50% of your body is made up of water. Water helps you manage a healthy body weight, maintain an active metabolism, digest your food, regulate your body temperature and so much more. Moreover, the perk of choosing H2O over its sugary alternatives is that it’s totally calorie-free. It is recommended that you consume at least half your body-weight in ounces of water per day. This means if you weigh 140 lbs, you should consume 70 ounces of water or more daily.
Tip to get started: Once you have tracked your diet, you will know what your typical water intake is. If you are not meeting your recommendation, begin by adding 8 ounces of water per day into your diet until you are successfully meeting your recommendation consistently!
Day 4 | Muscle Up
Muscle burns more than twice the calories that fat can. For instance, 10 pounds of muscle will burn about 50 calories a day if the body is at full rest, whereas 10 pounds of fat will only burn about 20 calories. So exercising to maintain and gain muscle mass can help you lose fat and increase your metabolism.
Tip to get started: Include at least three days a week of atleast 30 minutes of body resistance exercises and/or strength training on top of your normal aerobic training regimen.
Day 5 | Eat a Balanced Diet
It is recommended that the average healthy adult should consume 10-35% of protein, 20-35% of fat and 45-65% of carbohydrates as a percentage of calories per day. To make this easy, you must know that both protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram while fat has 9 calories per gram and alcohol has 7 calories per gram. So for example, if you are aiming to eat 1,600 calories a day and want to consume 20% of protein, you will want to eat 80 grams of protein. Keep in mind that this balance of macro-nutrients often depends on various things like your activity levels, age, fitness goals, health status, etc.
Tip to get started: Time to measure! Your food log will reveal more, but the easiest way to improve this is to get comfortable weighing your food on a food scale until you have perfected the ultimate balance of carbs to protein to fat.
Day 6 | Switch it Up
A weightloss plateau can happen for even the most health-conscious individuals. That is when it is time to switch it up. And, moderate to intense cross training is one of the most effective weight loss strategies out there. For example:
- You have been running 3 miles a day for the past 6 months. Try out an interval run in its place a few times a week.
- Your routine is the elliptical and strength training 3 days a week. Try out the recumbent bike and some body resistance for a while.
- You go to Zumba class 5 days a week. Try Zumba twice a week and instead try a HIIT workout the other 3 days.
Tip to get started: Think outside of the box! Try something different. Perhaps you have been wanting to try that new boxing gym right down the road from your house or the cycling class at the gym. Welllllll do it! You have nothing to lose other than weight.
Day 7 | Never Give Up
Everyone has goals. Keep a positive attitude, embrace and love who you are every step of the way and never stop growing!
– Casey Edmonds, CHC