Tag Archives: weight loss

Weight-Loss Plateaus

Few aspects of weight loss are as frustrating as when the changes you’ve seen on the scale begin to slow down, and then seemingly stop altogether. If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing a weight loss plateau.

Some reasons for slowed weight loss are obvious, such as when healthier diet and exercise choices begin to give way to old, less healthful habits. But it can be hard to identify the reasons for a weight loss plateau when you stick to the healthy lifestyle changes that have already helped you lose weight.

Here are three reasons for running into an unexpected weight loss plateau, along with simple strategies to help get the scale moving again.

1. You’re over your target for calories.

It’s clear that excess calories can slow your weight loss progress. However, it can be difficult to estimate how many calories you consume and expend in a day. Research suggests that most people, including trained healthcare professionals, tend to overestimate calories burned through exercise and underestimate calories consumed in food (1, 2). Even if you carefully keep track with a food journal or phone app, or wear an activity tracker, these methods can only provide a general estimate and are often much less accurate than you might expect (3).

A more practical approach is to look closely at your everyday habits and consider what potential impact they might have on your goals. For example, little “extras” such as sugar and cream in your morning coffee, or absent-minded snacking while you’re cooking a meal can really add up over the course of a day. A closer look at these habits might be what you need to get the scale moving again.

2. You’ve become too fit for your workout.

If your weight loss progress has stalled despite your consistent effort at the gym, it might be time to look at your exercise routine. As you become increasingly fit from the hard work you’re putting in, it’s essential that you adjust your workout routine so that it continues to challenge you.

This idea is captured by what fitness experts call the “overload principle” of training. Essentially, the principle is that when an exercise is below a minimum level of intensity, it doesn’t challenge the body enough to result in any change (4). The level of intensity you need to get results from your workout depends on your current level of fitness. As your level of fitness improves, you need to change your workout in order to keep seeing results. It can be as simple as continuing to increase the amount of weight you lift, or trying a new type of workout.

3. You’ve been skimping on sleep.

Many of us fail to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, research suggests that inadequate sleep could be interfering with weight loss success. Large, population-based studies consistently find a link between poor sleep quality and higher body weights (5). Some of the effects of poor sleep, such as changes in hormone balance, appetite regulation, and metabolism may explain the relationship between too little sleep and weight gain (6-8).

If your goal is weight loss, make sleep a priority. Start with simple changes in your routine such as avoiding caffeine late in the day, sticking to a consistent schedule, and limiting late-night screen time to help your body wind down at the end of the day. Adding a quality melatonin supplement to your evening routine is another step that can help prime your body for a restful, complete night’s sleep.

Making a few small changes might be all you need to get past a plateau. Identifying the cause of a weight loss plateau is key. While weight loss plateaus can be a frustrating part of the weight loss journey, they shouldn’t discourage you from reaching your goals.

References
  1. Brown RE, Canning KL, Fung M, Jiandani D, Riddell MC, Macpherson AK, Kuk JL. Calorie Estimation in Adults Differing in Body Weight Class and Weight Loss Status. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Mar; 48(3):521-6. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000796.
  2. Cottrell E, Chambers R. Healthcare professionals’ knowledge of calories. Nurs Stand. 2013 Jan 23-29;27(21):35-41.
  3. Chen J, Cade JE, Allman-Farinelli M. The Most Popular Smartphone Apps for Weight Loss: A Quality Assessment. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2015 Dec 16;3(4):e104. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.4334.
  4. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, Franklin BA, Lamonte MJ, Lee IM, Nieman DC, Swain DP; American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Jul;43(7):1334-59. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb.
  5. Jean-Louis G, Williams NJ, Sarpong D, Pandey A, Youngstedt S, Zizi F, Ogedegbe G. Associations between inadequate sleep and obesity in the US adult population: analysis of the national health interview survey (1977-2009). BMC Public Health. 2014 Mar 29;14:290. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-290.
  6. Spiegel K, Leproult R & Van Cauter E. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet. 1999 Oct 23; 354(9188):1435-9.
  7. Spiegel K, Tasali E & Penev P et al. Brief communication: sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Dec 7; 141(11):846-50.
  8. Miller MA & Cappuccio FP. Inflammation, sleep, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2007 Apr; 5(2):93-102.
*originally posted on IsagenixHealth.com
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Exercise for Weight Loss

Changing your dietary habits is the most important action you can take for losing weight and keeping it off. However, exercise shouldn’t be ignored as it can make weight-loss results more pronounced.

Typically, when individuals lose weight, up to a quarter of that lost weight comes from lost lean body mass that includes muscle mass (1). By adding exercise into a weight loss plan, these individuals can minimize the muscle loss and lose higher amounts of fat than those who lose the same amount of weight without exercise.

Exercise also might help with keeping off the weight once it’s lost. As much of an hour of exercise per day is associated with successful weight loss maintenance or avoiding weight regain (2).

Add High-Intensity Interval Training

One type of exercise that may have especially pronounced benefits is high-intensity interval training. Try adding sprint intervals into your next jog by including 60-second bursts at an all-out pace followed by three minutes of recovery at a comfortable pace.

By adding high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, you can stimulate your metabolism for up to 24-hours, post-exercise. These brief, all-out bursts of activity rev up your calorie burn and keep it elevated long after your workout ends.

Lift Weights or Use Resistance Bands

Resistance training exercises can help build muscle and burn fat. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so your overall calorie burn will be higher throughout the day and the drop in metabolism that comes with most weight loss will be prevented. You’ll also look leaner if you have more muscle and less fat.

Start with two or three sets of 10-12 repetitions of bicep curls, overhead presses, squats, and lunges using light weights until your body has adapted and you become comfortable. Then increase the weight and number of repetitions as you get stronger.

Don’t Forget the Cardio

While most cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, cycling, etc.) will not build muscle, it will help you to burn calories and lose fat mass. Cardio itself burns calories and those trying to lose weight and who include cardio into their plan lose more weight compared to those who don’t include exercise (3).

In addition, studies have demonstrated that those who perform cardio are more likely to lose visceral fat (4, 5). Visceral fat is the dangerous kind of “belly fat” that exists internally and can increase risk of chronic disease states (4,5).

Reduce Your Chance of Weight Regain

Most people who lose weight regain it all back and then some within three -to -five years, but regular exercise makes it more likely that you’ll maintain your ideal weight.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, those with a goal of preventing weight regain should complete 150-250 minutes per week of moderate physical activity – such as brisk walking, mowing the lawn, and swimming (6). The overall calorie burn should be between 1200-2000 calories per week, which is considered enough to prevent weight gain greater than 3 percent.

Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle will not only contribute to benefits in your overall health, but will aid in your weight loss journey as well. However, it’s always suggested that you check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen.

References:
  1. Heymsfield SB, Gonzalez MCC, Shen W, Redman L, and Thomas D. Weight loss composition is one-fourth fat-free mass: a critical review and critique of this widely cited rule. Obes Rev. 2014 Apr; 15(4): 310-21. doi: 1111/obr.12143.
  2. Santos I, Vierira PN, Silva MN, Sardinha LB, and Teixeira PJ. Weight control behaviors of highly successful weight loss maintainers: the Portuguese Weight Control Registry. J Behav Med. 2017 Apr; 40(2): 366-71. doi: 1007/s10865-016-9786-y.
  3. Wu T, Gao X, Chen M, and Van Dam RM. Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2009 May; 10(3): 313-323. doi: 1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00547.x.
  4. Keating SE, Hackett, DA, Parker HM, O’Connor HT, Gerofi JA, Sainsbury A, Baker MK, Chuter VH, Caterson ID, George J, and Johnson NA. Effect of aerobic exercise training dose on liver fat and visceral adiposity. J Hepatol. 2015 Jul; 63(1): 174-82. doi: 1016/j.jhep.2015.02.022.
  5. Ohkawara K, Tanaka S, Miyachi M, Ishikawa-Takata K, and Tabata I. A dose-response relation between aerobic exercise and visceral fat reduction: systematic review of clinical trials. Int J Obes. 2007 Dec 1: 31(12): 1786.
  6. Donnelly JE, Blair SN, Jakicic JM, Manore MM, Rankin JW, and Smith BK. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Feb; 41(2): 459-71. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333.
*originally posted on IsagenixHealth.com
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This is a Diet … not a Lifestyle!

I’ve been a little MIA with posting to my blog. But I’m very much here!

I’ve been reading, from the beginning, the blog Reclaiming LIFE. It chronicles the journey that Christine endured to lose 100 pounds and maintain it for a decade. Her story was featured on our national news channel Global TV.

I started with her very first post. Her posts and stories are so real. So much speaks to me and I often find myself nodding along to the words that she has written. It helps seeing/reading about someone who has lost the amount of weight that I need to lose (almost). It’s inspirational.

I also sent a couple of FB messages to a childhood friend, with whom I’m still in touch, but not so much that we’ve hung out as adults, about how she’s reaching her goals.

She didn’t have nearly the amount of weight to lose as I, but those last 10 – 20 pounds are the hardest, and that is where she’s at.

She is achieving her goals by way of Isagenix. And she’s not the only person I know who has success with this product. I tried it way back in … maybe 2011 … and my body didn’t respond well to it. Not sure what exactly, but just not a good response.

I asked her what a “typical” day of food/exercise was and here is what she wrote:

“I’m doing Isagenix. So I wake up , have a shake , 100 cal snack, hike for 30 mins, shake, 100 cal snack.. 400-600 cal dinner”

She’s lost 30 pounds since November and I believe she’s on her last 16 … awesome!

I did a little research into the caloric content of the Isagenix shakes, and they appear to average about 240 calories.

Then I put together what I thought was manageable for me using Le-Vel Thrive capsules & shakes (I’ve stopped using the DFT because I didn’t notice they providing extra energy or mood boosters … I’m happy & awesome already!)

A typical day for me, for the past 2 weeks, has been:

  • Upon waking: 1 Thrive capsule
  • Breakfast: 1/2 Thrive shake with 8 oz water
  • Snack: 1 bag (snack size Ziploc) celery, 1 bag carrots, 1 babybel cheese
  • Lunch: 1 bag cucumber, 1 bag snap peas, 1 bag green beans, 3/4 cup (homemade) chicken salad
  • Snack: 1/2 Thrive shake with 8 oz water
  • Dinner: 1/4 cup grains (Tru Roots Sprouted Quinoa & Rice), 3/4 cup chicken, 1 tsp tamari OR 1/4 cup grains, 1/2 cup chicken, 2 tbsp black beans, 2 tbsp corn, 4 tsp homemade ranch dressing, 1 tsp sriracha
  • Snack as wanted: 2 cups Kernels popcorn OR pretzel crisps & hummus OR nice cream (simply frozen fruit pureed in the food processor with a bit of water – DELICIOUS!)
  • Water throughout the day: 10 – 12 cups on average
  • Exercise: 30 minute walk to work, 30 minute walk home … maybe 45 – 60 minute evening walk if so inclined!

Now … an average day is closer to 1,000 calories than 1,200 calories … but I’m not hungry for more. This has been really filling and manageable!

Not to mention the results!! Day 1 of trying this (July 10), I was 238.6 and as of this morning (after some over-indulgence of cider, mini donuts, and a smokie!) I was 230.6.

I’m down 8 pounds in 2 weeks! That’s great! But this is absolutely A DIET! This is NOT a lifestyle LOL

I go “home” a week tomorrow, so I plan on keeping this diet going for the next 8 days. Then I’ll ease up and enjoy my visits. Then I’m going back at it when I return.

After coming back, I have 2 1/2 weeks until my parents come to visit. I haven’t seen them since the end of March. So for those 2 1/2 weeks, I’ll diet again.

Everything in moderation, right? Just like yesterday … ciders, mini donuts, smokie WITH bun! LOL

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