While it’s easy to lose weight in the beginning, there’s always that point where things plateau and it can be really hard to keep motivated in spite of diminishing results. It’s almost guaranteed to happen when trying to lose a large amount of weight, but don’t lose hope just yet.
It’s possible to push through the plateau and make progress, but it might be a little more slow-going than that rapid weight from when you just started out.
Keeping motivated and getting into a routine is the best way to push through and keep yourself accountable. Don’t think of it as losing weight, think of it as building new routines and habits for a healthier lifestyle.
If you’re looking to get the weight off and keep it off, it might require more than just a little bit of exercise, and you might have to make some lifestyle changes, but it’s definitely possible!
Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make, as well as some great exercise strategies to help start getting back into shape in time for the beach season.
Eating Healthy Is Key
Exercising is usually the go-to thing people jump to when trying to lose weight, and while it can be very effective in the short term, there is only so much it can do to compensate for a poor diet.
Combining a healthy diet supplemented with regular exercise will give you the consistency you’re looking for in your results, rather than shedding a few pounds after exercising and then just putting it right back on again.
The way dieting works basically boils down to resource management. Sounds strange, I know, but just stick with me here, it’ll all make sense in a bit.
Your body gets its energy from a few different sources. You’ve got your sugars, which are your body’s immediate go-to source for energy. Sugars can be broken down quickly, which is why it’s the thing your body tries to go to first.
Next are your calories. While they’re not as easily broken down as sugars, your body can still break them down relatively easily for more of a slow burn kind of energy without the rush and crash cycle sugar usually gives you.
Last is your fat. Excess calories and sugars are stored in the body as fat to be used as energy later. The issue is if you’re putting in more calories and sugars than your using, the body never needs to break down those fat molecules for energy and it just starts to stockpile.
According to a study by Dr. Edward Melanson, in order to increase fat oxidation (the breakdown of fat), fat oxidation needs to exceed fat intake.
This is where dieting comes in. Cut back on sugars, especially artificial sugars, and go to things like fruits to satisfy those sweet sugar cravings.
The natural sugars (fructose) in fruits are more easily broken down by your body and are really only harmful in the large quantities you see used in artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (another thing to avoid).
Limit your carbs early in the day so your body is forced to tap into those fat reserves when working. Carbs aren’t inherently bad, but knowing when to have them and eating them in moderation is key. your body continues to burn calories and convert fat even after you finish your workout.
Most of it actually happens during the healing and repair process in your muscles after working out. Having a higher carb meal for dinner will help you feel full after a tough workout so you feel satisfied with a smaller meal.
Exercising is Essential to Burn Off That Fat
In order to burn off fat, you’ll have to exercise consistently and for a decent duration. Since you’ll most likely have some level of carbohydrates and sugars already in your system, you’ll have to burn through those first before your body even begins tackling the fat reserves.
For this reason, I generally like to start off with some dynamic stretches before starting a workout. Dynamic stretches not only prep your body for the kinds of motions you’ll be doing during your routine, but they also act as a form of cardio to start the energy-burning process.
As for the workout itself, it’s good to be somewhat well-rounded and hit all of the key muscle groups. The best part about working out is a lot of it can be done without equipment using just your body weight and positioning to help progress or regress the difficulty of the exercises.
For example, with push-ups, you can start on your knees if standard push-ups are too difficult, or move your hands closer together to make it more difficult.
Combining this with HIIT (High-Intensity Impact Training) for the extra cardio, you can burn off calories and sugar reserves quickly so you can start breaking down that fat.
This one-hour workout is a great starting point for any fitness level, requires no equipment, and is a full-body workout so there’s no need to worry about scheduling different exercises on different days.
Water Is Your Friend
When it comes to dieting or exercising, a lot of people tend to drink sports drinks or the next weird veggie smoothie fad, but nothing can replace good old water and the myriad of benefits it provides.
Your body needs water to function, and the oxygen from water plays a large role in fueling your metabolism. Without enough water, your body systems will actually begin slowing down to conserve energy, slowing down fat breakdown in the process.
Another great thing about water is it is amazing at curbing your appetite. As people get older, oftentimes the sensations for hunger and thirst can somewhat overlap.
I’m not talking simply about having a dry mouth and being parched, but an actual thirst for water. Simply drinking a glass of water before each meal can effectively curb your appetite, effectively aiding in portion control.
They’re Called Fad Diets For a Reason
While it might be tempting to follow the next big fad diet like an all celery diet or something, these are fad diets for a reason. They’re usually not based on science, and look like they work well on the surface but end up causing more problems as you starve your body of essential nutrients.
A balanced diet is important to get the nutrients you need for proper body functions. The key is in moderation and eating the right kinds of foods (so while the meat is good for protein, opt for homemade burgers instead of that fast food patty).
When it comes to breakfast, focus on low-carb meals. If you like eggs, they’re the perfect breakfast food. Make a hard-boiled egg or deviled eggs in the morning with some water to start your day. Eggs are surprisingly filling for their size and will help curb your appetite and keep your portion sizes low.
For dinner, again, add a few carbs to give your body a little extra energy to draw from during the healing and repair process.
Mealtimes are also important to keep in mind, especially regarding dinner. When you sleep, your digestive processes slow to a crawl, and you can take on fluids if you have food sitting in your stomach.
That’s why you can gain as much as three to four pounds in water weight in the morning just from eating too late at night. Have an early dinner and give your body time to digest.