Weight Loss Tips: Exercise Intensity, Muscle Building, Calories and Sleep

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Hitting weight loss plateaus is a natural part of the weight loss journey. There will be periods of time the weight seems to be falling off and then weeks of being stuck at the same weight. Don't let a weight loss plateau discourage you!

    Here are four areas to evaluate first so you can overcome this hurdle and continue losing weight:

    1. Exercise Intensity

    Evaluate the level of your exercise intensity. Burst training or interval training and cross training are very effective. Keep mixing up your routine to keep your body guessing and constantly adjusting to the workout. This will maximize the effectiveness of your workouts and your calorie expenditure to promote weight loss. (FYI - Speak with your physician before beginning an exercise routine, especially if you have a heart condition.)

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    2. Muscle Building

    Be sure to include strength training in your fitness routine. You need to build muscle to keep your metabolic rate higher throughout the day, not just during a workout. If you are not comfortable lifting weights consult a personal trainer who will instruct you on proper lifting technique so you avoid injury. You can use something as simple as a dynaband to start building muscle. (FYI - Strength training doesn't mean you need a gym membership!)

    3. Too few calories

    I do not recommend dropping your calories below 1200/day. A calorie intake that is too low interferes with your metabolism and will make your body weight loss resistant. If your calorie intake is less than 1200 I recommend gradually increasing. Consult a dietitian to get a more specific recommendation for the ideal calorie intake for you to promote weight loss.

    4. Sleep

    Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation affects the balance of two hormones that regulate appetite and satiety - leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced by fat cells and signals the brain when you are full. Ghrelin is produced by stomach cells and signals the brain you are hungry and should eat. Studies show that when you are sleep deprived, leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels increase. This causes you to feel the urge to eat more when you do not get enough sleep. Check out this post for tips on how you can get a good night's sleep - Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain

    These are just a few of the factors that play a role in weight loss. A colleague of mine, JJ Virgin, started another session of her program Fast Track to Fat Loss specifically geared towards helping individuals bust through weight loss plateaus. If you are interested in joining a program and receiving support to get over this hurdle I believe there is still time to enroll. Here's a link to check it out - http://jjvirgin.com/cmd.php?af=1185788.

Published On: August 23, 2010