Help – The Scale Won’t Budge!

So you’ve been dieting and exercising for about 6 months now, and loving the results (and compliments!).  Suddenly, it seems impossible to lose a pound, even though you’re eating less and exercising like a fiend. What gives? 

There are several ways you might be unconsciously sabotaging your diet “ 3 of the most common roadblocks follow, along with easy fixes you can make to get the scale moving again.

1. You’re eating too few calories

I know, this sounds too good to be true “ but if you’re cutting calories to the point where your body senses starvation, your dedication may be backfiring. Past a certain base level, your body begins to conserve energy and hold onto fat for protection, even if your routine includes exercise.

Easy Solve: Make sure your daily calories total at least 1,200. If you’re using one of the many free online trackers to monitor calorie needs and intake, don’t forget that you need to factor the calories burned during exercise into your calculation. For instance, if you estimate that you need 1,300 calories to burn 2 pounds a week but you also hit the elliptical for 400 calories a day, your daily calorie needs are 1,300 + 400 = 1,700. All the more reason to incorporate exercise into your routine!

2. You’re not tracking your food intake accurately

As we get used to a new routine, it’s easy to relax a bit and let some old habits creep in. Most people underestimate the calories they consume by up to 20%, forgetting to count things like dressings, sauces, condiments, and a nibble here and there.

Easy Solve: Keep a strict food diary, and make sure you’re documenting everything that you eat (as well as calories burned during exercise) scrupulously. Your cup of coffee with milk in the morning and the 5 french fries you swiped off a friend’s plate could be putting you over your daily total.

3. Your exercise routine has become too¦ well, routine!

The great news – you’ve gotten into the groove of regular exercise, and your workouts seem a lot easier than they once did. The bad news “ as you get better and more efficient at a certain form of exercise, your body burns less calories doing that exercise.

Easy Solve: Change it up “ incorporate a new activity into your exercise routine. If you’ve been working out on stationary bikes or the elliptical trainer for months, try out a group exercise class like spinning for a change. The change will also keep you interested and motivated in continuing to work out. Also, make sure you’re incorporating weights. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so as you build strength, your metabolism will benefit too. Try to add weights 3 times a week, alternating muscle groups.   

Tags: BMR, caloric needs, calories burned, daily calorie intake, Exercise, metabolism, plateau, weight-loss, weights

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