Weight Loss Plateau – Have Your Workouts Stopped Working?

Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? What to Do When Exercise Alone is No Longer Working

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Leeds in the UK, exercise for weight loss doesn’t always work out the same way for all individuals.  While it is not surprise that individuals vary in their ability to lose weight, the real kicker is apparently the finding that some people are more prone to compensatory eating than others.

In this study, thirty-five overweight and obese people participated in a supervised exercise program that lasted for 12 weeks.  Unlike other studies in which participants merely reported the amount of exercise they did, this study actually supervised the exercise. 

Burning Calories

Exercise routines were designed to burn five hundred calories per session.  Throughout the session they were monitored and then evaluated at the end of the study for weight loss results.

What the study found was that although all the participants should have been expected to lose weight based on their new exercise routines, some did not.  The study further revealed that the reason for some people failing to lose weight was that they were engaging in what scientists call ‘compensatory eating’.

Compensatory eating is just as it sounds, eating more than they otherwise would have had they not been engaged in exercise.  As such, these people failed to reap the rewards of their 500 calorie deficits. 

Researchers are not sure to what extent this eating is simply a biological drive to eat more when you workout more in order to stabilize weight, or if it more frequently involves more conscious decisions to reward oneself with food. 

Counting Calories

Although probably some combination of both, the results were interesting in that they showed that for some people simply adding exercise is not enough.  If you don’t have a portion restricted or calorie controlled diet alongside the exercise, some people are simply going to eat more and therefore fail to shed the pounds.

So, if you’re exercising like a dog and still failing to lose weight you will have to look more carefully at what you are eating.  Keep a running tally of what you’re eating just for a few days and try to observe if you are overcompensating for your exercise with extra calories. 

The mathematics of weight loss is usually pretty simple.  Expend more calories, consume less and watch the scale move downwards.  If this isn’t happening a closer look should help you overcome whatever might be hindering your weight loss progress.

Cut 100 Calories Per Day

When it comes to losing weight, slow and steady wins the race. Rapid weight loss usually doesn’t last for long so it is best to take small steps to cut calories as well as engage in exercise to lose weight for good. By cutting just 100 calories a day you should be able to shave off a few pounds a month without even changing your exercise routine. Here are a few ways to shave off 100 calories:

At breakfast.

Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day but it should still be under 500 calories. One way to shave off 100 calories is to split a bagel with someone, or only eat half. Bagels contain about 350 calories and lots of carbohydrates so if you have to have one, only eat half.

You can also use non fat milk in your cereal to save another 100 calories. The same goes for yogurt – get the nonfat kind and you will slim down. If you are a fan of bacon choose turkey bacon instead of the real stuff.

At lunch or dinner.

Cutting 100 calories from lunch and dinner meals is easy because of the variety of these meals and the fact that many of the ingredients can be easily substituted for healthier, lower calorie ones. Meat is a great example. It is a source of saturated fat and contains a high amount of calories, so cutting it out of your meals will easily cut out 100 calories.

Substitute meat with hearty veggies such as Portobello mushrooms or tofu. You can also use more veggies in your dishes than normal and cut out other fattening ingredients to shave off calories. For example if you are cooking spaghetti use a couple of more cups of veggie and skip the parmesan cheese on top or use half of the cheese you normally do on your pizza and substitute with more veggies.

From your beverages.

Beverages can be a dieter’s worst nightmare. There are so many hidden calories in drinks and often you are drinking 2-3 servings in one bottle! To cut calories from drinks give up pop for something lighter such as flavored sparkling water. You can also water down your drinks by using half water and half juice. You will get more hydrated and cut up to 100 calories by doing this. 

Losing weight can be as simple as cutting 100 calories from your diet a day. Even if you only practice this on a few days out of the week you should see some weight loss as long as you continue to exercise regularly, get enough sleep and have a generally healthy lifestyle. Adding fat burning pills helps with losing weight.