When your fat loss stalls, it’s easy to get discouraged. Over time, you get frustrated because you’ll feel like you’re still training hard and eating right, but getting zero results.
It’s time to break the cycle and reignite your fat loss. Truth is, you’re closer to your goals than you might think. Look through these tips from MuscleandFitness and see if you can break through that plateau.
1. You Still Think Cardio is the Answer
Traditional cardio is not effective long-term for fat loss: it doesn’t burn enough calories and the more cardio you do, the better your body becomes at it. Soon, you’ll actually burn less calories than before with the same amount of work.
Instead, do intervals. They burn more calories in the same amount of time, stimulate more fat loss, and create a huge metabolic effect that can increase your fat burn hours after your workout.
2. You’re Cheating All Wrong
Cheating is fine, but you still need to cheat correctly. During a calorie deficit, your leptin level drops, which is a hormone that controls weight loss and defends against starvation. Low leptin not only makes it harder to lose weight, but can also lead to more fat gain—to restore your leptin, you need an occasional high-carb meal.
But the key phrase is “high-carb,” not “high-fat.” Binging on carb-heavy, high-fat foods will send nutrients to the fat cells and ruin your progress.
3. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein
Skimping on protein will slow your fat loss because your body actually burns more calories to digest protein than any another macro-nutrient. Protein also keeps you feeling full and maintains muscle mass while shedding body fat.
In a study from the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that a high-protein diet also improved body composition, cholesterol markers, and insulin levels more than a diet of moderate protein, even while keeping calories the same. Make sure to eat at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight while dieting.
4. You’re Not Getting Stronger
Stop neglecting heavy strength training while trying to lose fat. During a calorie deficit, your body tends to lose muscle—the best way to prevent that is to train hard and heavy. Adding more muscle also increases your basal metabolic rate, which boosts the number of calories you burn throughout the day.
5. You’re Too Stressed
Mental and physical stress limits fat loss because it elevates your cortisol. High levels of cortisol interfere with testosterone and growth hormone production, which reduces muscle growth, leads to fat gain (especially around the waist) and even weakens bones.
Take time to relax and decompress from daily life with things like yoga, stretching, mediation and breathing exercises. Also, make sure to take at least one day of rest per week from any exercise to prevent over-training, which also spikes cortisol.
6. You’re Not Tracking What You Eat
If you don’t track what you eat, you’re hurting your fat loss. Food journals reveal exactly what’s going into your body and what you need to change to improve things. It’ll also increase awareness to help you stay accountable and make better food choices. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that “all of the 15 studies that focused on dietary self-monitoring found significant associations between self-monitoring and weight loss.”
I found an excellent app that has been very helpful to me in tracking my calories and exercise: MyFitnessPal.com
7. You’re Not Eating Enough Fat
Stop cutting fat; you need it. In 2007, Australian researchers found that combining aerobic exercise with fish oil (which is a fat) dropped much more body fat than exercise alone. French researchers also discovered that fish oil led to an extra two pounds of fat loss in just three weeks.
Get your fats from healthy sources like olive oils, animal fats, avocados, coconut oils and fish. Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated oils, which are not real fats, but man-made.
8. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water