Health Topics

Healthy Living

August 2010
Weight Loss Plateau
Karen Campos Bhatia
When you are overweight, your muscles are weak and you have a dependency on large quantities of food. So the addition of a healthy diet and an efficient exercise regime along with all the correct lifestyle changes help you to lose weight rapidly.

However, after losing a fair bit, you suddenly stagnate in your weight loss. This is called a plateau. How do you break this?

Increase lean protein
With the initial reduction of calories and other healthy adjustments you will lose weight. However, as you lose fat and exercise right, you gain lean muscle, which makes your body stronger and increases your efficiency levels tremendously. Therefore you need an increase in calories to fuel that strength and efficiency. Introduce a higher intake of lean protein, vegetables and fruit and a small amount of whole grains.

Feel your exercise
Be very mindful when you exercise, as you will always be able to tell when your body gets used to a particular exercise. That’s when it’s time to change and increase or vary your exercise program. While exercising remember to always support the three elements of exercise:

It is most important to increase intensity, as you find them get easy on your body. There must always be a challenge from the halfway point onwards in a session.
 You must watch your heart rate and make sure you always are in fat burning ranges.
65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate is your high intensity zone for fat burn.

Higher repetitions of a moderately heavy weight will work wonders for weight loss. As you do your strength training you must feel your muscles warm and it should be difficult to complete the last few repetitions of a set. However, your muscles must not hurt; they should feel the strain.

Flexibility: Stretch each muscle with good form and hold for at least 30 seconds. This ensures elongation of the muscles and circulation, as well as it helps the muscle relax from a contracted state.

The element of surprise
Very often while on a weight loss plateau, the quickest and most effective way to breakthrough is the element of surprise, a sudden shock to the system by doing something radically different, so the body is shocked out of its complacency. For example, if you use a treadmill or other similar machines in a gym for cardiovascular exercise; suddenly shift to riding a bike cross-country or take a high intensity aerobic class for a short time. This is an almost sure way to revive your weight loss. Similarly, if you have been on a low carbohydrate diet, for a day or two have a little more carbohydrate and reduce the other food groups. Or follow a good detox diet from a qualified nutritionist to kick start your program again.

Did you know
Fish increases your metabolic rate

  • 2 pounds salmon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup melted cholesterol free butter
  • 1 large onion
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Wash and pat dry salmon.
  • Sprinkle the cavity of the salmon with lemon pepper and salt to taste.
  • Place sliced lemons and onion inside cavity.
  • Place salmon on a large sheet of aluminum foil and pour melted butter.
  • Seal the foil and bake 1 1/2 hours, or until salmon flakes easily.
Karen Anne Campos Bhatia is Nutritionist, Exercise Physiologist and Lifestyle Consultant