Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus:“So I’ve been dieting and exercising for what seems like forever…some of the weight has come off, but now I feel like I’m just stuck!”

“ I don’t seem to be budging…just bulging!”

“The scale just stays the same!! One day it’s down and the next day I’m right back where I started.”

“I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, and nothing seems to be working!!! What the heck am I doing, or not doing, to get over this hump?!??!”

    If these statements sound even remotely like how you have been feeling lately (maybe you’ve even blurted a few out), then this article is for YOU! I’m going to be covering 10 strategies you can use to really break through that PLATEAU of stubborn weight loss to achieve true victory.
    So without any delays, let’s go to strategy 1…
Strategy 1:
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

The crazy thing about all those honesty jars you see at local Mennonite produce stands is that no-one is there standing around to make sure you’re being honest with what you put in it. You could take a whole bag of fresh peaches priced at $4.00 and leave behind a nickel. The sad thing is, that many people do just that…and I’m not just talking about produce stands. That’s right, I’m referring to our weight loss program–nutrition, exercise, and all. This may well be the most crucial step for most of us…an honest-to-goodness soul-searching reality check. Any person who only puts a nickel in the jar for a $4.00 bag of peaches is completely wrong if they honestly think they got away with something. There’s an internal compass that just won’t let them; it’s called our conscience. Every time they look at another Mennonite, they’re going to be thinking about those darn peaches.
How about you? How many “nickels” have you been putting in the “jar?” Some of us may think that $3.50 is close enough. Is it? The price is $4.00. When it comes to weight loss, the amount you put in is what you get back. How many of the following statements can you toss into the honesty jar?
1. I am honestly tracking everything that I’m consuming into Vitabot… even down to the little lifesaver I had this afternoon.

2.  I always enter accurate information and never “guesstimate” or substitute foods that are similar. 

3.  I never completely blow my diet on the  weekends and I am honestly expecting the scale to be down on Monday?

4.  I am working out consistently (@ 5 times a week), and I always  show up to class for each appointment–not just occasionally or when I feel like it.

5. Am I eating 4-5 small meals a day (including breakfast) and I never skip large chunks of time without food. I never eat greasy fast food or consume just 1 or 2 big meals a day.
Now don’t feel like this is a guilt trip. I don’t want you to think that we have to be perfect every day with diet and exercise. That would be impossible. Besides, what kind of life would that be anyways? We all need a little relaxation from time to time. No, I just want us to honestly identify the areas of our life that need the most work and then proceed to take little steps to improve them. An occasional meal or drink out with friends is fine…it may even be just what you need; it’s when it turns into a trend that it becomes a problem.  Now be honest with your evaluation of “self.” Only you know how well you have been adhering to the program. Only you know how much you put in the “Honesty Jar.” What you put in is what you get out. The fact of the matter is that good nutrition and regular vigorous exercise WORKS when it comes to losing weight. When these two elements are mastered simultaneously, you can’t help but shed pounds!
    Now with that being said, there are certain individuals who honestly feel as though they’re doing everything right and still can’t get that darn scale to move…at least not down. There are certain circumstances that occur in our lives that can make losing weight especially difficult despite our good nutrition and exercise. These include, but are not limited to: increased stress, certain medications, under active thyroid, injury, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, disabilities or illnesses, etc. In addition to unplanned circumstances, many of us experience obstacles that we feel make our exercise and good nutrition nearly impossible. These include, but are not limited to: poor time management, cravings and urges, the cost of healthy food, eating out temptations, late night snacking, inadequate knowledge or the improper application thereof, etc.
Although I cannot address every concern and obstacle to weight loss in this article, I have tried to list some of the most AWESOME and SUCCESSFUL strategies/steps I have discovered and utilized personally, as well as with the numerous clients I have trained with over the years. These strategies are not to be taken lightly! They are powerful tools you can utilize to break through those stubborn plateaus and experience victory over the pounds.
    Now I could spend a whole lot of time trying to convince you of the science and validity of each strategy/step, but I’m going to let the experts do it for me. I’m just going to give you the basics. If you really want to get more of a detailed scoop on the science and validity of what I’m about to tell you, please enjoy watching (videos) or reading (articles) the related links I have attached with each strategy/step. I am excited about those of you who are about to utilize these steps to propel your weight loss results to a whole new level!
We’ve already covered number 1– Be honest with yourself. Lets go on to step number 2…
Strategy/Step 2:
THE STRATEGIC USE OF FIBER

 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Yup, you heard me right–the “strategic” use of fiber. I’m sure your thinking, “What in the heck is that supposed to mean?!?” Well, let me explain: The fact of the matter folks, is that fiber is one of the most potent and affordable weight loss tools you could possibly imagine. Cultures that have the highest intakes of fiber in their diets are consistently the leanest and healthiest people on the planet. Incidentally, they have the least incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity (the four big killers in America).
The best sources of fiber will come from vegetables, fruits (whole raw fruits), seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. If these vegetables have been tampered with in any way, it’s likely that a lot of the fiber has been removed. Another source of fiber comes from supplements like psyllium husk powder (commonly found in products like Metamucil and Citracel). Supplemental forms of fiber do not carry with them the many nutrients found in whole foods, but there is a place for strategic supplementation.
    But what does the “strategic” use of fiber mean? Well, this is where it gets really interesting. Let me tell you three strategic ways you can use fiber to lose weight.
    1. Soluble Fiber consumed 20 minutes before a meal will begin to swell and expand causing the stomach to expand. This in turn sends nerve signals to the brain that cause the hypothalamus to turn off our hunger drive. Before our meal even arrives, we begin to feel full. Why is this helpful in weight loss? Because there are few to ZERO calories in fiber. This means we subsequently consume fewer calories with each meal as well as reap the additional benefits of added fiber.
    2. When soluble fiber mixes with the food contents of a fatty meal, it does an amazing thing in our small intestine (where fat from a meal normally absorbs directly into our bloodstream). I’m putting this in Caps because this next part is absolutely ASTOUNDING! IT BLOCKS FAT FROM ENTERING THE BLOOD STREAM!!! That’s right…soluble fiber prevents a large portion of the fat you just consumed from being absorbed in the body. I don’t know if you fully comprehend the the implications of this discovery!! We are talking some major fat loss here. Think about it this way. Imagine that you are just about to sit down to meal (one you probably should avoid) of pizza and chicken wings (lots of grease–uh-oh). Let’s say that you typically consume around two slices of pepperoni pizza and
average around 6-9 chicken wings.
                 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
I hate to say it, but that’s a lot of calories…and a lot of fat. 181 calories for each slice of pizza and 7 grams of fat apiece. Six to nine chicken wings comes to about 159 calories each at 10.7 grams of fat apiece. That comes out to a grand total of 1,634 calories and 99.6 grams of fat. Most of that fat will end up being pumped directly into your blood…that is if it is eaten without soluble fiber. Let’s see what happens if fiber is consumed around 20 minutes before the meal arrives: If mixed in a large glass of water, fiber begins to swell in the stomach subsequently triggering the “full feeling.” When the food finally arrives, you’re not quite so hungry as you once thought–instead of consuming 2 slices and 6-9 wings, you opt for 1 slice and 4 wings. You just dropped the total calories consumed by half!! Were not done yet…As that food mixture enters the small intestine, that sticky soluble fiber binds bile acids and prevents a large portion of the fat you consumed from being absorbed. Of the 49.8 grams of fat you consumed, your body may only be able to absorb 25. Now you just cut your fat absorption in half as well!! A meal that had the potential to be 1,634 calories and 99.6 grams of fat has just been reduced to just 817 calories. And of the 817 calories consumed, only around 592 calories are actually absorbed in the body!! WOW!!
    3. If these benefits are not enough, soluble fiber does even more! Soluble fiber not only prevents fat from entering the blood stream, it also delays emptying of the stomach contents. This turns out to be a real benefit when we consume sugary meals. Instead of getting a whopping dose of sugar flooded into our bloodstream, soluble fiber causes sugars to be released slowly into our bloodstream. This in turn leads to stabilized blood sugar levels and steady energy throughout the day. Do you want to avoid those sleepy, almost drug induced stupors you have after a starchy meal? Well make sure your meal is full of soluble fiber.
    I don’t have enough time to tell you here of all of the additional benefits of high fiber diets…I haven’t even brought up all the benefits of insoluble fiber. I will say, however, that if you’re not eating a lot of high fiber foods on a day to day basis, you are really sabotaging your potential weight loss goals…let alone your health. Now before you go out and start jamming down fiber powders and pills, be an informed consumer. Many fiber supplements contain sugar, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and drug like laxatives. Ideally, fiber should come from food, not from a powder. If you do purchase a fiber supplement, aim for natural organic plant based fibers such as psyllium or oat bran. Better yet, eat a large Salad before the main course and wait 20 minutes or so before digging in. Fiber products should not be used daily as they can cause dependence and even mineral deficiencies. Fiber is so potent at stripping out fat that excessive use can deplete the much needed fat soluble vitamins we need to obtain in our diets. If taken excessively, it can even block calcium, iron, and other minerals from being absorbed. Supplemental fiber should never be taken with medications, fish oil supplements, or vitamin and mineral supplements. It should only be used under the careful guidance of your physician or family doctor. Those who eat a high fiber diet shouldn’t need a fiber supplement except for rare occasions. Use it strategically and use it safely.The fact that fiber is found in virtually all plants, is kind of a key that we should be eating lots of plants. The more we get away from mother nature, the more we mess up our health. The best source of fiber should come from FOOD, not from a powder. It is the nutrients that come along with these foods that fuel and nourish our cells.
To learn more about the science, safety, and health effects of high fiber foods and supplements, visit the following links (these links are not meant to promote, endorse, or otherwise recommend any particular supplement and or product/plan):
Strategy/Step 3:
EAT BY THE CLOCK
             Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
One of the biggest things that gets in our way when dieting is just knowing when to eat. Some times we just don’t feel like it. Other times we just can’t stop the munchies. Some days we just don’t have time to stop and prepare something. Maybe you wrestle with determining if you are really hungry or just feeling another craving.
    All of this can be resolved with a little time management, former planning and a little know-how. In addition, we can supercharge our metabolism by using a simple little device… you guessed it– the clock.
    To explain this better, I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine…okay, I’m kidding; I wish he was a friend of mine…He feels like a friend of mine. He feels like a friend because I think he is right on the money with his weight loss strategy of eating by the clock, and I’ve kept an eye on his teaching over the years. He even just released a new book that he co-authored with Dr. Oz. His name is Jorge Cruise. I first discovered Jorge several years ago while flipping through the stations on a cable channel at a friend’s home. I came to this one channel where this guy was talking about his new book called “The 3 Hour Diet”… on the Oprah Winfrey show. I was so intrigued by his presentation that I remained glued to the set. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing–this guy was a genius!! Why was he a genius? Well, because he had discovered a way to repackage an ancient and well known truth (at least in fitness circles) into an amazing and lucrative “Diet Book.” I had to give him Kudos. I wished I had thought of it. The diet plan was simple: Just have people eat every 3 hours. Each meal should be set up with just enough calories to last around 3 hours and the hunger feeling should kick in. Jorge was presenting with fireworks and glitter what many of us had been preaching for years…and he was doing it better, I might add. The concept is pretty simple to follow: Eating by the clock helps control cravings and urges because you know that you aren’t allowed to eat anything until 3 hours elapse. You also know that you aren’t allowed to skip meals. The portions are balanced and the discipline is easy to follow because we Americans are all about schedules. By eating five to six equally spaced and portioned meals a day, we essentially turn our metabolism into a fat burning machine. Blood sugar levels stay normalized and cortisol levels go down. It’s a no-brainer.
The only area of Jorge’s diet where I disagree a little is in the fact that he allows dieters to eat pretty much whatever they want as long as they eat every 3 hours, and sometimes eating the same number of calories at each meal is not in tune with energy expenditures. In his new book, however, co-authored with Dr. Oz, I see that Jorge has finally swung over to the good nutrition side. Good job, Jorge. Your getting it…slowly. You can thank me later. LOL.
    For more information regarding 3 hour eating, check out the links below. Once again, let me remind you that I am not endorsing any particular product, company, book, or diet plan…I just see no reason not to recognize other individuals who are doing it right and teaching it to others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33rT4x5eofM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rXQqOH3QSA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtfrdPbK0Ro
http://www.weight-loss-for-busy-people.com/3-hour-diet-review.html
http://www.bartonpublishing.com/blog/increase-metabolism-eat-smaller-meals/

Strategy/Step 4:
HAVE A GLASS OF WATER BEFORE MEALS
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
 For this one, you need to check out the links. It’s simple enough. Drink two glasses of water before each meal and lose weight. I know…it sounds crazy, but I’m just reporting the facts. Check out the study. Hey just imagine what would happen if you put a little fiber in that water-LOL!
Strategy/Step 5:
TRY EATING VEGETARIAN STYLE FOR AWHILE
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
We all know it folks, vegetarians are just smaller than other people. It’s hard to be a vegetarian and not get skinny! That is unless you fry all your veggies in oil and cover them with cheese. According to a massive study of 520,000 people in over ten European countries, vegetarian eaters had significantly lower BMI’s than their meat eating counterparts. One of the findings of the study attributed this to the high fiber (hint, hint) intake of vegetarian eaters( http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/epic_oxford_lessons.htm ). This makes sense when you consider the volume of plant based foods in comparison to other choices. In other words, you can eat a whole lot plants and they don’t really amount to a whole lot. For example, you would have to eat almost five large peaches to get the equivalent of just one average chocolate bar. Who can really sit down and eat that many peaches?? The chocolate bar, however, would be mowed down in moments. One hamburger patty has about 279 calories. You’d have to eat 39 cups of spinach to equal that! Who could do that?
    The leanest and longest living people in the world eat 70-80% of their food from plant sources(Check out Dr. Campbell’s book “The China Study.”) The average lifespan in China is 84.4 years old…and believe me, it’s not because of their awesome health insurance. Incidentally, the leanest and strongest animals are vegetarians (i.e. the silver back gorilla, elephants, horses, cattle, rhinos, etc.) Vegetarian animals are known for their endurance and leanness. Carnivores, on the other hand, are known for their brief bursts of speed followed by hours an hours of sleeping (think of lions). Many of us act and feel like lions–brief bursts followed by a need to snooze. If you think for one second that humans cannot be strong, flexible, and healthy on a vegetarian diet, you better watch this short clip…take a look at an entire community that eats an almost entirely plant based diet,a little dairy (usually from goats), and meat on rare occasions. Let me know of any athlete or person you know of who has more energy than this. You won’t find them ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZwmluSn_T0 ).
    Although humans are technically classified as omnivores (can eat both animal and plant foods), there is an overwhelming body of evidence that indicates we would all fair a lot better if our diet consisted of mostly plants. Our digestive system and internal organs are more similar to plant eating animals than most other carnivores and omnivores. Investigative journalist, Michael Pollan, in his book, “In Defense Of Food,” puts it well: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” We already discussed the importance of high fiber foods for losing weight. How much more of a hint do you need? We need fiber….fiber is only found in plants…maybe we should eat a lot of plants?? Plants contain enzymes, fiber, water, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, tocopherols, cartenoids, phytonutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Animal foods contain no fiber, little water (unless eaten raw or rare), no living enzymes (again unless raw), no Vitamin C (unless raw), and contain a lot of fat. Gee. I wonder if that’s why all other animals eat their meat raw?? Well, we can’t do that!! We’d get sick! HMMMMMM. Really? Maybe that’s another one of nature’s clues?
    When overly cooked, meat contains known cancer causing compounds ( http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/overcook.cfm ).
Almost every major health organization recommends vegetarian diets or their equivalent

as a means of reducing risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The National Cancer Institute insists that 1/3 of all cancers are related to diet. They call for all Americans to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables while simultaneously reducing their consumption of meat. The World Health Organization says the same thing. I could go on and on about this one, but once again I’ll defer to the scientists and professionals. Don’t get mad at the messenger. I’m still just reporting the facts and what works. Incidentally, I have followed a mostly vegetarian based diet since 1999 and I have never felt better. It was a tough transition growing up on a dairy farm and all, but now I could never go back! Please check out the links. If anything, try to eat more veggies…especially green ones.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CncI5j5QzVg&feature=related

http://www.vegsource.com/harris/cancer_vegdiet.htm

http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/05/world-health-org-and-un-recommend-populations-eat-plant-based-diets.html

http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/9ADay

Strategy/Step 6:
RE-EVALUATE YOUR CALORIC EXPENDITURE
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Remember that as you lose weight,  you need to readjust your calories to your new body weight. If weight goes down, calories typically go down as well. If weight goes up (especially muscle) calories typically go up. If you have lost weight but are still following the same calorie level on Vitabot that you began with, no wonder the weight is clinging! Re-evaluate.
Strategy/Step 7:
BUILD SOME MUSCLE
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Regular cardio and good nutrition are important elements of any successful weight loss plan, but nothing beats out resistance training when it comes to fat loss. That’s what we ultimately want to lose, right?–FAT! If we lose a lot of muscle with the fat, we end up sabotaging ourselves in the end. Here’s how: Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. This simply means that the more of it you have, the higher your metabolism. This works in reverse as well– The less muscle you have, the lower the metabolism. It’s simple math.
    Think of your muscle tissue as little miniature construction workers that live in your body eating and working away. With lots of construction workers living there, you need a lot of food to feed them. Every time you feed them they just work harder and harder to propel you throughout the day. Fat cells, on the other hand, are like little lazy free-loaders who hang out at your house demanding food and board without lifting a finger to earn their keep. Not only that, the more you feed them, the more of their buddies they start inviting to hang out and move in. The more construction workers you build up in your body, the more food that gets eaten up in the house. Those lazy, fat free-loaders start to take off for better pickings because the construction workers are eating everything in site. They know their time is up and they’ll get no-where picking a fight with the muscled up construction fellas. The more construction fellas’ we build up, the more fat disappears. We want to build more workers so we can be able to eat more an not have it all convert to fat. Here at Tall Trainers, you get the best of both worlds–we get your heart rate up (cardio) while simultaneously building muscle in the process-AWESOME!
Strategy/Step 8:
STRATEGIC USE OF CAFFEINE
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Okay, this next part is for all you coffee drinkers. I want to talk to you about the strategic use of caffeine. However, before I do, I want to point out a few negative things. Yeah that’s right, I’m going to do the negative first. Why? Well, because ideally I’d like people to stay away from caffeine as much as possible, but I realize that for some this is just not going to happen. Caffeine is in a lot of foods and beverages, and is not going to disappear anytime soon. I realize that many of you are not going to give up an occasional chocolate splurge and that morning cup-of-Joe. That being the case, let’s at least use caffeine safely, strategically, and intelligently.

So what are the potential negative side effects of caffeine? Let me take a big breath here and see if I can get them all out in one breath….mmmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhh……..here I go: bone loss, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, high BP, irritability, nervousness, tremors, withdrawal headaches, disrupted sleep, induced irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, rapid heart beat, induced panic attacks, caffeine dependence, upset stomach/nausea, and even DEATH from overdose! WHEW! That was a mouthful.
    Caffeine’s most negative effects come from constant use, high doses, or even from withdrawal symptoms. That’s right…withdrawal. Caffeine is a drug folks. It has diuretic effects in the body and must be filtered through the kidneys. This puts more strain on an organ that already has a big job to do. If you don’t like peeing 24/7, then watch your caffeine intake.
    Now despite all the reasons I listed for avoiding caffeine, some of you still refuse to give it up. Well, in that case, at least be smart about it and use the potential benefits of caffeine to your advantage. First and foremost, limit your intake daily. Try to get caffeine from things like an antioxidant rich source of dark chocolate or black tea. Use it sparingly and only on occasion. One more indicator that caffeine is not a so healthy choice is that almost every natural source of caffeine comes from a bitter source. Cocoa and tea are usually not that palatable without some kind of sweetener and or fat added. If we wouldn’t eat it plain, that’s nature’s way of telling us to avoid it.
Here’s where we come to the strategy part of you caffeine clingers…or maybe I should call you the “Caffeine Klingons”–LOL!:
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

Caffeine has been shown in numerous studies to “significantly extend endurance in moderately strenuous aerobic exercise under laboratory conditions. it also improves performance in higher-intensity, shorter duration physical effort.” In addition, “Consuming caffeine before exercise increased fat catabolism and reduced carbohydrate oxidation.” Athletes statistically improve their performance while using caffeine. Certain levels are banned in many athletic competitions. In a study labeled: “From MacIntosh BR, Wright BM. Caffeine ingestion and performance of a 1,500-metre swim. Can J Appl Physiol 1995; 20: 168,” all caffeine trials showed a 24% improvement in performance.

A small healthy dose of caffeine has been proven to burn/liberate more fatty acids in exercise than without. In other words, those who consume caffeine before exercise burn more fat than those who don’t. So it would make sense that if you’re still going to have that cup-of-Joe, at least do it strategically–before meals and before exercise, sparingly and infrequently. Now Let me repeat myself: I think that you should avoid caffeine at all costs, but I understand that some are just not going to give it up. If you continue to use caffeine, at least do it intelligently. Because I want to point out the negative first (so you might give up caffeine) I’d like you to watch at least the first link I posted here: Oh and P.S., yes I do have caffeine from time to time, but I always use it sparingly and strategically. I hope you will too.
Strategy/Step 9:
AVOID HYDROGENATED FOODS AND INGREDIENTS AT ALL COST
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Foods that include hydrogenated oils in the ingredients are bound to make weight loss near impossible. One of the biggest steps you can make in your weight loss efforts is to avoid hydrogenated oils at all cost. Look carefully at the backs of labels for words such as “partially hydrogenated” or “fully hydrogenated” or “trans fat.” If you see any of these words RUN! You even have to check the back of labels that claim to be “Trans Fat Free.” The FDA allows manufacturers to label products as “Trans Fat Free” as long as a serving size does not exceed a specified amount (less than one gram per serving). This means that a food can actually contain many grams of trans fat and still be labeled as “Trans Fat Free.” You need to read the fine print on the back. If a product says “Trans Fat Free” on the front, but includes “partially hydrogenated soybean oil” on the back, you can be sure you are being deceived…at least misinformed.
    Why are trans fats so bad? Well, I’ll let you find out from the links below. Especially watch link 1 (the first one). Eliminate trans fat and bust through that plateau!
Strategy/Step 10:
SLEEP! SLEEP! SLEEP!
 Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
I’m gonna let you watch the videos and read the articles on this one. Let me just say that sleep is one of the most powerful weight loss secrets that exists! No joke folks! Watch and read this stuff. You will not believe this! It’s Incredible and Awesome! Just you wait and see how SLEEP can blast through that fat loss plateau like nothing else. Unreal!
 I hope you all will find some powerful tools among this arsenal that will take you even further in your goals. I can’t “weight” for you to break through…sorry, I just had to spell it that way:)

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