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A New Year A New Beginning with Losingtogether
Plateau Help

Here you will find some helpful hints and tips and articles to hopefully get you through your plateau.

Make sure your eating at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies. Believe it or not this can hamper your weight loss efforts.

Make sure your drinking your 5 glasses of water or more per day. this helps flush your system.

Exercise if you haven't been. If you have been, then change your routine. Your body may be in a rut. If you walk a mile a day increase your distance and your speed. Or do some aerobic tapes, just something different to throw your body into a new loop.

Alot of people that have hit plateaus highly recommend the Wendis plan. They say it throws your body off guard because it was used to x amount of points per day and now your changing them causing your body to wake up and realize it is time to lose weight again.

Also if your working out now and you haven't been, it is a good chance your gaining muscle and not weight, since muscle does weigh more than fat. This is especially true if you have been working out and added weight lifting into your workout.

Break Through a Plateau

The Problem
My weight loss program was going well, but lately I haven't lost a pound. What can I do to break through this frustrating plateau?
The Solution
1. Be patient and stick with it
It takes your body several months to adjust to your new routine. Stay consistent and don't give up. --puddles
Keep going -- it is a slow process, but a healthy one. --Jennifer
Don't be so hard on yourself. Give it time. --Sandra
Keep focused on the bigger picture. Be proud of the fact that you've made some healthy positive changes for yourself. Your body is going through an adjustment period right now and needs some time. --iVillager
2. Smile
Be happy. A good mood promotes weight loss. --iVillager
3. Don't overdo the calorie restriction
Make sure you're following the food pyramid for a balanced diet, and make sure you're eating enough. You should take in about 1,200 calories a day to lose weight. If you eat under that for too long your metabolism will slow. --iVillager
You may have restricted your calories back so far that you have slowed down your metabolism. --iVillager
4. Water, water, water
Drink water. --iVillager
Overhydrate yourself with water. Water will give you a sense of fulfillment. --chad
Drink tons of water. --GymKim
5. Avoid snacks at night
Limit your snack intake, especially sweets. Do not eat after dinner, and never eat before you go to bed. --chad
Don't eat any starchy carbs after 7pm. --GymKim

6. Lift weights
Start a weightlifting program. --chad
If you start working out with weights (dumbbells), you'll gain muscle, which increases your metabolism. This doesn't mean you'll bulk up. Women can't naturally do that. Just make sure you use low weights and high repetitions. --Sandra
I saw pounds shed once I incorporated one hour of weight training daily into my routine. I've always done aerobics, but weight training increases your metabolism and muscle burns fat, so it's a win-win situation. --GymKim
I started doing toning exercises -- Hooked On Classics, a beginner total-body toning video. I began to see results almost immediately. The weight started coming off, and my body was shaping up. --Aubriell
7. Ignore the scale
Throw out the scale! It means nothing. A fit 150 pounds looks and feels better than a jiggly 150. --Stacy
Your biggest challenge is changing your mindset that the scale is a good source of measurement. Re-evaluate your means to the end, and continue to be persistent. --Susan
8. Maintain variety
Never do the same workout two times in a row. Everyone's body is different and reacts differently, so treat it differently daily. Bike, walk, jog, swim -- anything that gets your heart rate up. You can even try blasting music and dancing in the living room. --Stacy
9. Say no to soda
If you drink pop, even though you cut down on everything else, you will have a hard time losing weight. --southvalley
10. Somersize
Stop dieting and start "Somersizing." Pick up the books by Suzanne Somers: Eat Great, Lose Weight and Get Skinny on Fabulous Food. Diets are based on deprivation. On Suzanne's plan, you eat balanced meals based on food combining. You don't measure portions, and you eat until you are comfortably full. Sugar is your villain, not fat. Like you I used to eat a Weight Watchers-styled diet of deprivation and too many carbohydrates. I've been Somersizing since July 5 and lost 18 pounds. --Mary Etta

Beat the 10-to-Go Plateau tina in wny
Nov 27, 2001 05:17 PST

Beat the 10-To-Go Plateau
Entering the restaurant's ladies' room, I stumbled on one of those scenes that happens so often it's become a cliche: three well-coifed and well-dressed young women standing in front of the mirror, talking to the others' reflections about their weight and how much they needed to lose. In movies and television, this exchange is usually played for laughs. But in real life, it's no joke.
What I overheard represents a dilemma that I'm asked about as often as any other in the health and fitness arena: After working out for months and months, altering their lifestyles and changing their diets, a lot of women (men, too) seem to get permanently stuck on a plateau that leaves them in sight of their target weight but unable to hit the target. Feeling depressed and defeated, certain that they've achieved the limit of their physical potential, they ask, "How come I'm not losing weight? And how the heck do I lose those last 10 pounds?"
The answer to the first question is that most people become locked into, and comfortable with, their everyday routine, the one that they used to reduce their weight and improve their cardiovascular health. But the truth is that since beginning their workouts their bodies have changed -- become more efficient -- so the routine that once seemed like a killer now burns fewer calories. At best, that level of activity helps to maintain current weight and fitness levels. But it does nothing to move the exerciser off the 10-pounds-to-go plateau.
This brings me to "How the heck do I lose those last 10 pounds?"
The good news is that there's an easy answer. The bad news is that the easy answer means some hard work.
Studies show that losing those stubborn remaining pounds requires a significant increase in exercise intensity, one that enables you to reach and maintain 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate once or twice a week. When you reach that level, you give your metabolism an additional boost; moreover, the benefits of that boost last longer, so you burn more calories and fat at rest, not just during the workout.
While the idea of working out harder or faster or longer than you've become used to can be daunting, the process itself can actually be pleasurable if you approach it correctly. I like to incorporate "interval" training, which means picking up the intensity of the workout for short bursts, then recovering by continuing at normal speed. So if, for example, I'm walking for 30 minutes, I'll alternate three minutes of sprint-like (not really sprinting) intervals with three minutes of my ordinary pace. (Keep in mind that interval training can be applied to any aerobics activity, from swimming to jogging to cycling.)
If you're working out alone, try getting into a class, where you might be inspired to work harder by the other people around you. You can also try working out to faster music than you're used to; your body will probably want to keep pace with the rhythm all on its own.
Then, too, consider incorporating into your daily life some other ways to increase the calories you burn, like parking your car farther from work and walking briskly over that distance, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. And when the phone rings, don't necessarily reach for the closest extension. (One study I read concluded that the average person would walk an additional 17 miles a year if there were only one phone in the house. This sounded fishy to me until I did the approximate math. Now it seems possible.) The point is to find any way at all to raise your caloric output.
I also recommend keeping a food and activity diary for a week or two. You (like many of us) may actually be underestimating the number of calories you eat and overestimating the amount of exercise you get. You need some way to keep yourself honest. By jotting down everything that passes your lips, you'll be able to see whether you've inadvertently settled into some counterproductive eating habits. (One woman I talked to about this told me she'd been shocked to find that a few too many baked goods and "healthy" energy bars had sneaked into her diet when she wasn't looking.) And by logging how often and how long you work out, you'll be able to validate your exercise regime. Through these reality checks, you may discover that the diet you thought you were adhering to is really not quite as moderate as you'd believed, or that your four workouts a week is really only two.
All in all, this is a sure-fire prescription for losing those last 10 pounds. But before you begin, please be certain that you really need to shed the weight. Like those three women I came upon in the ladies' room, who probably didn't have 10 pounds to lose between them, don't succumb to the false notion that one can never be too thin. Ask yourself whether you're trying to lose the weight because you want to look like, say, an actress or model. Are you hoping to please yourself or someone else? And once you lose those pounds, will you be satisfied?
Just recently I saw a greeting card that depicted a frantically exercising woman over the caption, "I'm desperately trying to get to the weight I was when I thought I was fat." Though I laughed, I couldn't help thinking how many women -- whether they're in the bathrooms of upscale restaurants or confronting their reflections alone at home -- would fail to get the joke.

More Weight Loss Rut Busters tina in wny
Nov 27, 2001 05:20 PST

More Weight-Loss Rut Busters
You, my friend, have hit the proverbial plateau. This often happens after you've been working out for a few months. You were making significant, steady gains for a while, and then bam! your progress screeched to a halt. One of the main reasons this happens is that your body has in effect grown accustomed to the exercise you're doing and sees no reason to further adapt.
One way to get rid of the weight-loss blues is to change your workout. For instance, if you've been doing slow, steady jogs every day, try one or two interval training sessions a week. That's where you do a brief warm-up, then alternate periods of fast running with slow jogging or walking. A sample interval routine includes a five-minute warm-up at an easy pace, two minutes at a challenging pace, and one minute at an easy recovery pace. Repeat these 2-minute, 1-minute cycles 5-8 times and finish up with an easy cool-down and a stretch.
Another good rut buster is circuit training. It involves moving through your weight-training routine rather quickly, with only enough time in between exercises to move to the next one. A 20-minute circuit-training routine can burn more than 400 calories.
Besides changing your workout routine, look at your diet. Make sure your calorie intake hasn't crept up in the past few weeks. (It's tempting to give yourself an edible reward for a workout well done.) Keep a food diary to help you identify eating patterns. In fact, keep a diary of your activity, too, at least for a couple of weeks. That will help you figure out the things you need to change in order to keep losing weight and improving your fitness level.
As for your question about muscle weighing more than fat, that's not as much as a "pound of nails vs. a pound of feathers" as it sounds. Muscle is a denser tissue and thus takes up less room than an equal weight of fat. That's why it's possible to lose inches but show no changes in scale weight. Having more muscle means you have a more desirable body composition, or fat-to-muscle ratio. You may still weigh the same, but your body will look different, smaller, better and tighter. Though it may take you a few weeks to see measurable changes, you begin to put on muscle and burn calories from the moment you start exercising.

Six Reasons Why Your Diet Isn't Working tina in wny
Nov 27, 2001 05:22 PST

Six Reasons Why Your Diet Isn't Working
I can certainly understand why you are discouraged, but take a deep breath, relax, and let's "rethink."
You formulated what looks like a very good strategy. It ought to be "working". For some reason it's not. So acknowledge your disappointment, and now let's roll up our sleeves and go back to the "strategy drawing board."
Several things could be happening:

With such an ambitious workout routine you undoubtedly gained some muscle. You probably also lost some body fat. Even though the scale may not reflect it, chances are there is a small but measurable shift in body composition, which you're not seeing on the scale. I know that's not a lot, but wait, there's more.

If you haven't weighed yourself in three months, you don't have a good reliable indicator of what's going on. There are all kinds of fluctuations from day to day. If you're going to use the scale, pick one specific scale, decide on whether or not to wear clothes (I suggest not), pick a time of day (I prefer early morning before eating) and then consistently weigh yourself under the exact same conditions with the same scale every time to determine whether things are moving in the right direction. Different scale, different time, different anything makes the comparison like comparing clocks in the bank with clocks in the subway with clocks on the street -- they're all off by a minute to three minutes, so you can go nuts if you're making comparisons.

You didn't gain that 50 pounds overnight; you need to look at this as a long-term strategy. There are many reported cases of people who worked out for many months before finally getting their sluggish metabolism to respond, at which point they finally began to see results.

I wouldn't completely trust that thyroid test. Low thyroid is one of the most misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed conditions, and many traditional doctors simply don't catch it. You can do an at-home test to see whether this is worth pursuing further. Take your underarm temperature upon arising two or three days in a row, not on menstruating days. If it's consistently below 97.8, make the doctor check again with a complete panel including TSH.

Rethink the food strategy. You have started a very heavy exercise program at the same time as a very big reduction in calories. Your body may be reacting by "conserving" energy and slowing your metabolism down somewhat. Also, I want you to consider that you may not be getting enough fat, especially the right ones. So I want to make sure you're eating enough to fuel these hard workouts and that you are not on a "no fat" diet. If you're comfortable with the concept of counting calories, try to aim for 1,300-1,500. A good place to start is with 40 percent from carbs, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fat. This is a very good beginning template. You may need to adjust the contribution from carbohydrates down a bit if nothing continues to happen. My colleague Ann Louise Gittleman reports that she has seen women move off of the kind of stubborn "plateaus" you're on just by adding supplemental fats of the right kind, such as flaxseed, fish oil and evening primrose oil.

Consider supplementation. If your body is not getting optimal amounts of the right nutrients, the metabolism may be performing sluggishly since it may not have all the nutrients it needs to break down food and fat stores for energy in an optimal way. Some people have had good results with, at the very least, extra B vitamins and definitely chromium picolinate. And a number of nutritionists theorize, with good reason, that many overweight people are not getting enough carnitine in their diet, so supplementation with carnitine might be worth a shot.

The point is this: Keep checking your strategy. There's no need to be desperate. You may feel as if you're looking at a locked door right now, but believe me, there is a key on that key ring. It's just a matter of finding it.

Assess Yourself tina in wny
Nov 27, 2001 05:24 PST

Assess Yourself

by Gina Allchin and Liz Neporent
It's irrefutable: Your body's blueprint is pretty much determined on the day you are born. Although you can change your body composition (the amount of fat versus the amount of muscle you hold on your body) with exercise and diet, your basic structure will always remain the same.
At first, this may seem like bad news. However, it should be a welcome relief from the pressure of endlessly trying to achieve a body for which you are not designed. There are three basic body types: the ectomorph, the endomorph and the mesomorph. Whatever your type, follow a workout that's designed to make the most of it.
* Ectomorphs are long, wiry and narrow. They generally have delicate bone structures and shoulders and hips that are approximately the same width. Accomplished long-distance runners, ballerinas and basketball players are often ectomorphs. (Michelle Pfeiffer, Whitney Houston and Heather Locklear are examples of in-shape ectomorphs.)
Weight training strategy: Build up muscle with 2 to 4 sets of weight training exercises per body part. Use a moderate-to-heavy weight that you can lift with good form for 6 to 10 repetitions. Consider doing a split routine where you work some parts of the body one day and then others the next.
Cardio training strategy: Your goal is to up your stamina and whip your heart and lungs into shape, so include cardio exercise 3 to 5 times a week. Aim for 20 to 40 minutes per session at a moderate-to-intense workout level.
* Endomorphs are soft, curvy and often "pear-shaped" -- that is, their hips are often wider than their shoulders. Although this body type holds onto fat a little more tenaciously than the other body types, many famous actresses and singers are wonderful examples of how sexy and curvaceous endos can be. (Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey and Cindy Crawford are examples of in-shape endomorphs.)
Weight training strategy: Emphasize those glorious curves by adding muscle tone. Perform a total-body weight training routine three times a week that consists of two sets of weight training exercises per body part. Do 10-15 repetitions per set using a moderate to light weight. To improve body symmetry, you may want to double up on upper-body exercises.
Cardio training strategy: Do 30-60 minutes of cardio work 3 to 6 times a week for maximum fat and calorie burn. Your cardio workouts should generally be done at a moderately intense level.
* Mesomorphs have big bones and tend to muscle up easily. Their shoulders are often wider than their hips, and they are often described as having "medium" builds. Think sprinters, soccer players and tennis players. (Madonna, Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner are examples of in-shape mesomorphs.)
Weight training strategy: Light-to-moderate weight training done 2 to 3 times a week will help enhance tone, not size. Complete a basic strength workout 2 times a week, performing 2 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions using light to moderate weights for each major muscle group. You may want to try circuit training (moving quickly from one exercise to the next without a break) because it promotes strength and stamina without building bulk.
Cardio training strategy: Three to five cardio workouts a week done at a moderate to fast pace should help keep you looking lean and trim. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes per session.
The biggest thing to keep in mind as you evaluate your body type and proceed with your workouts: Do not compare yourself with anyone else or to earlier versions of your old self. You're striving to be the best you can be right now. And you're pretty terrific.