It can be an extremely frustrating experience to put a lot of time and effort into losing weight only to hit a weight loss plateau. If you feel like you’ve been doing all of the right things but those extra pounds are still holding on for dear life, it may be time to take a closer look at your weight loss routine.
You’re Cardio Routine Isn’t Long Enough or Intense Enough
Cardio exercises are imperative for losing weight. It can be difficult to determine how much cardio exercise you should incorporate into your schedule. As you already know, your goal is to burn more calories than you consume. Cardio exercise is important for achieving this goal because it allows you to burn more calories in a shorter period of time. You should be exercising within your target heart rate zone so that you get your blood pumping and are burning a significant amount of calories.
The great thing about cardio exercises is that they can be performed, and should be performed, most days of the week. Unlike the recovery time needed for strength training, cardio workouts do not require much time in order for your body to recover from them. Cardio routines can also be easily altered to intensify the workouts and to burn a greater amount of calories. Simple alterations such as moving faster or adding hill workouts will increase the intensity of your routine.
You’re Not Performing Weight Training
When most people begin their own self-guided weight loss routines, they take on exercises such as running or biking and completely ignore weight training. Why is weight training essential for losing weight? The goal is not to become a muscle builder but to build lean body mass. The muscle that you build will allow your body to burn calories at a faster rate around the clock. On that note, avoid making the mistake of starving yourself. Doing so will cause your body to lose its muscles and to burn calories at a significantly slower pace. Instead, incorporate weight training into your fitness routine so that you can actually eat more calories while your lean muscle mass burns those extra calories away.
You’re Skipping Breakfast
Many researchers believe that skipping breakfast causes your metabolic rate to decrease. The end result is that the calories you consume later in the day will burn at a slower rate. Another negative outcome of skipping breakfast is that most people make poor food choices later in the day since they are so hungry. You are likely to crave fatty and sugary foods when you starve yourself in the morning. By eating a healthy breakfast, you are more likely to make wiser food choices throughout the day.
You’re Not Eating the Right Foods
If your goal is to lose weight, it will pay off considerably to either hire a nutritionist or do plenty of nutritional research yourself. The simple equation of eating few calories than you burn to lose weight still rings true but there are a number of dietary choices that you’ll need to consider to keep up a healthy diet that results in weight loss. For instance, many people who are striving to lose weight eat fewer calories but aren’t getting the nutrients they need. It’s very difficult to keep up with a diet plan when you aren’t feeling good physically or emotionally. This is why it is so important to choose a diet that you can sustain long term. Include plenty of fresh foods that are not heavily processed. Other tips to consider include:
- Get Plenty of Vegetables. It is important to include a variety of vegetables in your diet. Vegetables are not only nutrient rich, but also include a high amount of fiber, which will help you to feel full without adding many calories to your diet.
- Include Flaxseed in Your Diet. Studies have shown that including flaxseed in a diet is a great way to keep the weight off. Flaxseed contains 32% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Again, fiber is important as a “low energy density” food. In addition, fiber is absorbed at a slow rate into the body allowing us to feel fuller for a longer period of time.
- Consume Lean Protein. Lean-protein foods are important since they will also keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the amount of calories you consume. Fish, free-range and grass-fed meat products, and beans are great sources of lean protein.
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