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Beat that Weight Plateau

By Dr. Victor Gong, Medical Director of 75th St. & 126th St. Medical, Ocean Pines Medical & Doctors Weight Control & Wellness centers, Ocean City, MD.

Losing weight was never easy. You have your ups and downs, and thats normal in the battle of the bulge. Sometimes your just at a standstill, and no matter what you try, nothing works. Here are some tips you can use to get that stubborn scales to point in the right direction again:

Diet

Don't Cut Too Many Calories at Once

You'll lose weight initially but will likely hit a plateau within a few weeks. Your body is programmed to defend your normal weight, so if you suddenly eliminate 1,000 calories a day, your metabolism will slow down to hang on to the small amount you are taking in. Keep a food diary for a couple of days to calculate your daily caloric intake and cut 500 calories from that.

Keep Eating

Waiting too long between meals can make you ravenous and more likely to binge. To avoid this, have at least three meals of 300 to 500 calories each day and keep 100 to 150 calorie snacks, such as fruit, chopped vegetables and low-fat yogurt, on hand.

Skip Your Evening Cocktail

Research also reveals that a drink before dinner causes you to eat more, probably because alcohol makes you feel less inhibited. If you do crave a cocktail, stick to a glass of wine (80 calories) and drink it with your meal.

Stop the Bloat

Eliminate water retention by restricting salt intake. Diet plateaus are often due to fluid retention. Also, drink eight glasses of water a day – this helps flush out excess salt and water.

Exercise

Vary Your Workout

Change your exercise routine every four to six weeks to prevent a calorie-burning plateau. For example, if you've been running daily, try cycling or swimming. Another option: Add bursts of high-intensity moves. If you jog at a 10-minute-mile pace, add a 30 second sprint every 5 minutes.

Divide and Conquer

Slice your workouts into two 20-minute sessions. Your metabolism will stay elevated for several hours after each workout, which means you'll burn more calories overall.

Hit the Circuits

Circuit training means doing 8 to 10 exercises one after another, with little or no rest in between. You are always working different muscles, so your body doesn't get used to one activity and has to work harder. In fact, research shows that circuit trainers burn around 25% more calories after a workout than people who lift weights with rest periods. One easy way to circuit-train is to go down the rows of machines in your gym, doing 10-15 repetitions of each at a medium weight.

Attitude

Have Reasonable Expectations

If you assume that you'll lose 15 lbs in 2 weeks, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. When you don't reach your unrealistic weight loss goals, you'll become discouraged, making it more likely that you'll drop off your plan temporarily and eventually hit a plateau. A good rule of thumb: Expect to lose about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs per week.

Savor Small Portions of Your Favorite Foods

If you never eat ice cream, cookies or french fries, you'll end up feeling deprived and binging. It's important to have one of your favorite foods daily.

These are some successful tips that have helped our many thousands of patients that we have helped combat the battle of the bulge. The important thing is too keep on going and try new tactics.

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