According to the Mayo Clinic, after some initial weight loss, most of us will hit a plateau unless we change a few behaviors--for instance, by eating less and exercising more. This is because our metabolism--the process of burning calories for energy--slows as we lose muscle. We burn fewer calories than we did at our heavier weight even doing the same activities. Our weight-loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with our now-slower metabolism.
Here are eight changes you can make to your routine that will help you pick up the pace of weight loss so you can reach your long-term goal more quickly.
Push Yourself A Little Bit Harder
Up the length or intensity of your favorite exercise by a sizeable enough chunk that your body knows it has done something special. To help you boost intensity, have fun with gadgets that monitor your progress and give you an accurate read on how hard and fast you're working. Heart-rate monitors, pedometers, watches that calculate stride and distance--these are all great ways to view your progress and help you push yourself just a little bit harder.
Make Use Of Caveman Genetics
Our genetics haven't changed much since the time of the caveman. If you eat food according to the way your genetics are designed, you'll ramp up your progress. Our ancestors ate small meals of the same foods every day--which changed seasonally. Eating a moderate variety of healthy foods in modest portion sizes, and doing this consistently, promotes a higher metabolic rate because it sends a cue to your caveman brain that these same foods are in good supply and there's no longer a need to go into storage mode.
Be Kind To Your Mind
More studies are coming out about the power of our thoughts to shape health outcomes. Pick one limiting thought you frequently tell yourself. (I've already blown it today so I might as well have another drink/cookie.) Every time you catch yourself thinking along this line, stop for a minute and replace it with a positive thought. (I can stop right now and do better tomorrow.) Make that shift over and over until you begin to see more time pass between negative thoughts.
Boost Your Odds Of Success
Before your workweek starts, think about when you'll have the most time, energy, and ability to do your daily exercise. Whenever is best for you, make that the committed time for your training, and schedule it on your calendar. Planning your workouts at a time that has the highest probability that you will actually do them is one of the best ways to keep your weight loss consistent.
Dial Up Your Frequency
Add in one extra workout per week for the next six weeks. By doing this, you will burn more calories each week and see a measurable uptick in your progress. If you normally work out three times a week, adding a fourth weekly session of equal duration and intensity burns a whopping 33 percent more calories per week. Over time this will have a noticeable effect.
Get Some Solar Energy
Take at least one moment every day to charge up your soul outside, in nature. An easy way to do this is to swap an indoor workout session with an outdoor one. Instead of going to the gym one day, do a hike or enjoy a bike ride. Scientists are learning a lot about the power of sunlight, greenery, and fresh air to stimulate our moods and manage stress. Let the earth replenish your spirit and your weight loss goals will be easier to accomplish, because you'll feel more relaxed, more positive, and more energetic.
Make One Small Food Change
Cut out one food that you know stands in the way of your desired changes. Keep it out of the house and your life for six weeks. Like adding a workout, eliminating one food can make an enormous difference over time. For example, let's say every day you have bread--either on a sandwich, or as toast, or with dinner. By eliminating two slices of bread, or 200 calories, every day, that's 8,400 calories in 6 weeks, or nearly 2.5 pounds lost!
Laugh & Have Fun
The Huichols say laughter breaks down self-importance. When we laugh with others or at ourselves, it can take the pressure off that feeling that something is wrong unless everything is perfect. And with that, you open your heart to gratitude. What better short-term goal is there than to feel gratitude along the way to trimming down and getting healthier?
©Mark Allen & Brant Secunda. Reprinted with permission.
Publisher: BenBella Books. www.benbellabooks.com
This article, based on their book, was written by the authors of:
Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You
by Mark Allen and Brant Secunda.
When you’re stressed out, emotionally drained, overworked, overweight and underappreciative of your physical body, you can’t get much of anything accomplished—at work, at home, on the race track, wherever and in whatever capacity. Brant and Mark have integrated their wisdom into one book, providing practical tools you can adapt to your lifestyle and achieve results you never thought possible.
About the Authors
Shaman-healer Brant Secunda and six-time world champion Ironman Mark Allen are body-soul fitness experts and seminar leaders known for blending ancient shamanic wisdom with the latest scientific findings on nutrition, fitness, mood, and stress, and turning them into fresh tips and advice for improving health and well-being. Learn more at www.fitsoul-fitbody.com.
Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico. He completed a twelve-year apprenticeship with Don Jose Matsuwa, the renowned Huichol Shaman who lived to be 110 years old and who adopted Brant as his grandson. Alongside other dignitaries including President Jimmy Carter, Brant cofounded the Peace University in Berlin, and is a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild. He lectures at conferences and universities worldwide, and since 1979 has been the director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies in Soquel, California.
Mark Allen has been called "The World's Fittest Man" by Outside magazine and "The Greatest Triathlete of All Time" by Triathlete Magazine. He attributes his success to his ongoing studies with Brant Secunda, who showed him how to find fitness not only in physical strength but also in the power of personal spirit. Mark has worked as a sports commentator and advisor for NBC. He has also spoken to many Fortune 500 companies.