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So you’ve been on cloud 9 for the last 6 months, watching your diet like a hawk and working out most days of the week. You’ve been seeing a steady weight loss each week but now it seems to have stalled.
Never fear, not all hope is lost! Let’s bust through that plateau so you can ditch the last little bit of excess body fat
Take my tips on board but understand these may or may not apply to you (and you’ll see in my tips) you may need further referral to a health professional
- Have a rest week. Sounds crazy but sometimes the body is just tired. If you’ve dieted it down and given it a thrashing, it may just need some rest. I recommend always programming into your routine a recovery week or regular active rest. Say you workout 5 times per week (pretty intensely too!) you need 2 days as active rest (light stretching/yoga/swimming/something fun) or every 5-6 weeks have a week off from your regular training plan and opt for a light activity week.
- Drop your cardio time down but increase intensity. Your body may need a good shake up. If you’ve been plodding along on the treadmill or cycling (the typical kind of steady state cardio work) add some high intensity interval work into your program. You’ll only need to perform this 2-3 times per week for a max of 20-25 mins. It involves work periods combined with rest periods. A good start is Tabata timing 20 secs hard, 10 secs complete rest for 8 sets.
- Make sure you are including weight training into the mix. Full body workouts will keep the fires burning even when you have finished your workout. You are also going to improve posture, your strength and your body confidence.
- Add more variety to your plan to a) give your mind some stimulation and b) give your body a little reality check. Too often people coast through their workouts- fine in the first 2-4 weeks but you’ll have to gradually and incrementally aim to increase the difficulty and intensity of your workout’s (time/reps/kg’s/sets)
- Rethink your end goal. Did you start your journey with an image of perfection in your head? Did you possibly set an unrealistic expectation of yourself? Did you expect a full transformation in 6 weeks? That’s cool if you did but you need to rectify that and do it fast before you end up in a frenzied dieting/exercising mess. Steady weight loss of half a kilo each week is great and when you get your body easily doing that then pat yourself on the back.
- Don’t lose faith. I found my weight loss journey so horrendous at times. It was just fucking hard. I simply wanted to say “fuck it, I’m done. If anyone needs me, I’ll be eating 500 cheeseburgers”. These fuck it moments need a “talking yourself down from the edge” intervention. You know like in the movies- the guy’s about to jump off the bridge, all is lost and then someone appears out from the darkness and says “Hey buddy, what’s up, take my hand and let talk about it. I journaled A LOT when I felt like this and it definitely helped me. You can also talk to a trusted friend (and not someone who is an enabler). I even would talk to myself (in my head) about why I was feeling like this and I would ask myself it would be worth giving up etc. I was my own counselor and it worked for me.
- Over or under eating. This is a common problem at either end of the spectrum. It’s best to speak with a dietician about your food intake and your dietary intake. A simple “trick” can be just to track your food intake (calories etc) and this will give you a overview of where your at.
- Refer out. You may have food intolerance’s, inflammation or hormonal disruption and that’s going to involve a visit to a health care professional. A nutritionist, naturopath or holistic doctor who understands your condition (and well!). It’s rare that those particular problems will just go away and rather than cause long term damage to your body, do sometime about it.
Have you busted through a plateau? What worked for you?