It can happen. So you’ve made some great lifestyle changes and you have been making good progress. Hooray! Then suddenly, even though you are still making healthy food choices and being active, your weight loss slows to a crawl or maybe stops altogether. You’ve reached a plateau, but with a few simple changes you can get back on track.
Balance your plate with protein and fiber
Protein and fiber take longer to digest which keeps you feeling full longer and makes you less likely to overeat. Eating protein is essential for maintaining healthy muscles tissue which helps the body to burn more fat and calories. So making sure you get enough protein in your diet will keep your metabolism going strong.
Lean protein from animal sources, such as white chicken, white turkey, fish and egg whites, is best. However, non-animal protein sources like beans, peas and lentils also add fiber – making them a two for one. This doesn’t mean you can go crazy on the protein portions, aim for three to four ounce servings per meal. If you’re tracking fiber, shoot for 25 to 35 grams per day.
Build those muscles
Muscles don’t just burn calories when they are being used, they continue even when you are at rest! The more toned muscle you have the more calories you burn. Every added pound of muscle you gain will help you burn an extra 35-50 calories a day. Try to adding more strength training exercises, like pushups, crunches, squats, weight lifting, resistance bands and other similar activities, to your routine – but don’t give up your endurance exercises completely, you still need 150 minutes per week. Instead try to add strength exercises in addition to what you are doing, aim for at least three times a week to keep your muscles active.
Meal time matters
If you are someone that skips meals to save calories, STOP! When you deprive your body of the calories and nutrients it needs it quickly switches into survival mode – slowing your metabolism and storing fat for energy later. When you are looking to lose weight, this is exactly what you do not want! To avoid this, stick to your regular meal and snack times but focus on balancing your meals with appropriate portions of lean protein along with vegetables, fruits and whole grains for fiber (if you need more advice on balancing your plate visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for guidelines and tips).
Don’t forget the H2O
Did you know that being dehydrated can mimic the signals of being hungry? If you aren’t paying attention, being thirsty can lead to grabbing food when all you really needed is some zero-calorie water. Drinking water before and during a meal fills the stomach and promotes fullness, leaving you feeling satisfied while eating less. Yes, you could grab something flavored with a calorie-free sweetener – but the sweet overload that this can cause may alter your perception of natural sweetness leaving you constantly looking for something sweeter.
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