Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 Easy Ways to Stop a Diet Plateau

The Plateau is inevitable whenever you go on a diet. We've all experienced it, but few know how to stop it. More often than not, the plateau stops the diet rather than the dieter stopping the plateau. In a "perfect world" we would sail on calm seas with the sun to our backs and a slight breeze just to keep us cool. But in real life the sun gets too hot and the wind too strong forcing the water into chop, creating mountains and valleys while pitching our tiny boat in every conceivable direction. the Plateau Plateaus go like this... you've been losing weight at an even clip for several weeks when all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, it stops. Welcome to what the weight loss world calls "the Plateau". It's a time when no matter how good you've been at keeping to your diet, it just stops working.

3 Things to Know about the Plateau

Almost everyone who goes on a diet will at one time or another go through a plateau.
Plateaus do not last forever... even though it may seem like it.
You can beat it by staying determined, being proactive, and making adjustments where needed.

The False Plateau

If you find yourself going through a plateau, the first thing you should do is to make sure that it's a real one. You should be keeping records of what you've been eating, so go back and look at your diet for the last few weeks. Have you been sticking to it... or have you been letting foods slip into your diet that could start a plateau. Sometimes it doesn't take much to stop your progress. If you were on a high protein - low carbohydrate diet for example. A bagel might seem harmless, but a 3 1/2" plain, not including butter, has a little more than 34 carbohydrates, or how about a medium-sized banana with it's 24.6; either of these could be enough to slow anybody's diet to a crawl, and ultimately to a plateau. Of course this just depends on what kind of diet you're on.

Adjusting to get past the Plateau

Try reducing the amount of food you're eating.
Start drinking more water.
Don't eat 2 to 3 hours before bed.
Increase your exercise.
If all else fails try adding a cheat day.

All of these seem easy and self-explanatory, so lets look at number 5 to see how it will affect a plateau.

A Cheat Day to Stop the Plateau

There are a few different approaches to having a cheat day. What it is, is a day where you eat what ever you want for an entire day. Now when I say anything you want, I mean within reason. I wouldn't eat a box of cookies, four pizzas, and 5 gallons of rock road ice-cream. That would be excessive and a plateau would be the least of your problems. I would, however, have 2 to 3 slices of pizza, a few cookies and even a small scoop of ice-cream. The idea behind a cheat day is to put your system back into a relaxed state. You see when you're dieting your body can get the idea that you're at risk of starving, so it goes into a protection mode. That causes your metabolism (the process of burning calories for energy) to slow down, and now you're stuck in a plateau. The plateau is your body's way of clinging to the very fat you're trying to get rid of. So, the theory is that by cheating for a day your signaling your body that food is plentiful and that it can relax, and let go of a few more unneeded pounds of fat, which then stops the plateau.


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