Breaking Through a Weight Loss Plateau

Woman lunging with kettlebell on box gym
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If you're losing weight through healthy diet and exercise, you should be very proud of your accomplishment. You're losing weight the right way—slow and steady.

Although it's extremely frustrating, it's also common for people to hit a plateau after a few months of weight loss success. Here are some steps to take to break through that plateau

Find Out How Many Calories You Need

As you lose weight, your calorie needs change because it takes fewer calories to maintain your weight. So, if you want to keep losing weight, you have to gradually reduce your calorie intake.

Use a calculator like the one below to easily determine how many calories you need each day.

Track Your Calorie Intake

Some people consume a lot more calories than they think. It's helpful to keep track of everything you eat and drink, even if you do it for just a few weeks. You'll have a better idea of how much you're really eating and knowing you have to record every bite and sip will make you think twice before going overboard.

Switch up Your Running Program

If you've gotten into a regular routine of, say, running at a conversational pace for 30 minutes five times a week, try adding some speed to at least one of your runs. Here's a simple speed workout to try: Warm up with one mile at an easy pace. Run two minutes at a comfortably hard pace. You should be breathing fairly heavy (but not gasping for air). Then recover for two minutes by running at an easy pace. Repeat this for two miles and then cool down by running one mile easy. You can also try doing some hill repeats to pump up your calorie burn.

Increase Your Mileage

If you usually go for 3-4 miles every time you run, try to make one of your runs a longer one. Start by adding a half-mile to one of your runs. Continue to increase your mileage by a half-mile until you reach 6 miles. Running longer will burn more calories and fat and build your endurance.

Add Strength-Training

It can be as simple as doing 15 to 20 minutes of squats, lunges, or step-ups twice or three times a week. By doing strength-training, you'll burn more calories, boost your metabolism, and build lean muscle mass all at the same time. As added bonuses, you'll also feel stronger during runs and be more injury-resistant, which improve your motivation to keep running.
Keep in mind, of course, that strength training will help you add lean muscle mass, so you may actually gain a pound or two. Try not to get too focused on the number on the scale and pay attention to other measures such as inches lost or how your clothes fit.

Don't Give Up

Try not to let a little bump in the road derail your weight loss efforts. Be patient and keep up the good habits you've already developed. You can and will reach your goal!

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