CHALLENGING YOURSELF TO CHANGE YOURSELF
Whether you walk the dog every day, go for a run on your favourite route most days, or go to a gym class every day of the week …your body MAY be getting used to the exercise and therefore stopped adapting to exercise (ie, stopped burning calories as efficiently as at the start, stopped challenging your heart and lungs as much as before, and stopped using the energy systems as well as when you began).
In short, you plateau
So, what can you do?
1) Consider your diet, look at reducing by a couple of hundred calories a day, or if you don’t calorie count, make portion sizes slightly smaller for each meal. If you are hungry, fill up on protein and fibre-rich foods such as Greek Yoghurt, wholemeal bread, no added salt or sugar peanut butter, egg whites and chicken (be careful to keep an eye on the carbohydrate content of foods, particularly sugars)
2) add 15-30 mins to your usual routine. If you are short of time, try an extra 15 mins at a higher intensity. If you are exhausted at the end of each workout, maybe try just adding 5 mins extra for a week or so and then building up. The extra push will challenge your system.
3) Change your routine! If you always run, or always cycle, or always walk, your body may be used to the movement and the load and not working as hard as you would like it to. Try a different exercise, or go heavier with weights, or go for more hills when running (for example).
4) re consider your ‘cheat days’ if you have them. Some of us eat VERY WELL Mon-Fri and then indulge over Sat and/ or Sunday. This might be hampering progress, and instead think about only having a ‘cheat meal’ instead of a whole day.
5) get enough rest! You may think if you are on the go all the time you will be burning loads of calories and therefore getting closer to your weight loss goal. NOT necessarily. The body is designed for survival and when we push it too hard without enough fuel, it begins to hold on to reserves. You may have heard of the stress hormone cortisol – both these things can lead to the body retaining fat reserves , usually around the tummy in the case of Cortisol.
Be kind to yourself – work hard but also ensure you have ‘down time’. This doesn’t mean eating chocolate and drinking wine, but spending time with friends and family, having a lie-in, doing yoga (great vids on you tube!) or going for a coffee.