So you’ve hit the dreaded weight-loss plateau? Don’t worry, it’s perfectly natural. Since you’re eating fewer kilojoules than you used to, your metabolism has slowed down to conserve them. According to experts, as long as you stick with your workouts and healthy eating, you’ll typically start losing weight again after about three weeks.
But if you don’t want to wait for the plateau to end on its own, there are some things you can do to jump-start your losing streak again:
In the kitchen:
1. Go back to basics
When you’ve steadily been losing weight, it’s easy to become a little more relaxed and forgiving toward having ‘cheats’. Allowing yourself a glass of wine or two, dishing bigger portions again, and saying yes to dessert as a reward for being so ‘good’, could be part of the problem. Tighten the reigns and go back to what worked from the beginning to pick up the progress again.
2. Protein up
Protein is extremely important for fat loss. It not only helps you retain your muscle when you’re eating less, it also boosts the number of kilojoules you burn during the day because it takes more energy to digest than carbs or fat. It also helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to overeat or snack in between meals.
3. Eat more healthy fats
To lose more weight you have to eat more healthy fat. Fats like real butter, coconut oil, nuts and avocados actually make you leaner and more muscular, while keeping you full and maintaining your good testosterone levels. Eating more good sources of fat also means you will crave fewer carbohydrates, which will help you get back to losing weight.
4. Embrace the cheat meal
Besides giving you a boost to help keep you happy, motivated and more likely to stick to your diet, eating a cheat meal can also boost your metabolic rate by between 3% – 10%. When your body is in a kilojoule deficit and you lose body fat, your leptin levels drop. This, in turn, causes your metabolic rate to slow down, your appetite to increase, your motivation to wane, and your mood to sour. When you have a cheat meal and give your body more energy than it needs, leptin levels are boosted along with fat oxidation, thyroid activity, mood and even testosterone levels.
In the gym:
5. Lift heavy weights
A study by Greek sports scientists found that men who trained with heavy weights increased their metabolic rates over the following three days, burning significantly more kilojoules than the men that trained with lighter weights. Compound lifts like squats and deadlifts burn the most post-workout calories, but any heavy weight workout will help jack up your metabolism and speed up fat loss.
6. Change up your workout
Over time, your body adapts to any type of exercise. As you get used to a type of exercise, it becomes less challenging and, as a result, less effective. That’s why it’s so important to mix it up. Alternate the amount of weight you lift — go heavy one week with fewer reps and lighter the next with more reps. Change the type of exercise you do for each muscle. One week, do push-ups, then chest flies, then chest presses. They all work the same part of your body, but in very different ways.
7. Add one extra HIIT session
While a long jog on the treadmill has its own great benefits, high-intensity interval workouts burn more fat than steady-state exercise. Add an extra day to your workout schedule of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where you give maximum effort for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this about 10 times on an Airdyne bike, rowing machine, weighted sled, exercise bike, etc., for a great boost to your metabolism.