4 easy ways to move past a weight loss plateau

July 28, 2015

It seems that the more weight you lose, the harder your body fights to hold on to the calories it gets. That's usually when you hit the infamous weight-loss plateau. Luckily, you can boost your metabolism to keep shedding weight.

4 easy ways to move past a weight loss plateau

1. Use interval training to rev-up your workout

Walk for the same amount of time at the same intensity day in and day out and your body will get as bored with your workout as you do.

  • Throw in some variety with interval training, which involves changing the intensity of your workout throughout your exercise session.
  • Every five minutes of your walk, jog for one minute.
  • Every five minutes of your bike ride, shift into a higher gear and pedal hard for a minute. If you swim, speed up every other length. You'll burn more calories in the same amount of time.

2. Put five rubber bands around your wrist every morning

That's how many 500-millilitre bottles of water you should drink during the day to rev up your metabolism, helping to burn more calories.

  • At least, that's what German researchers found when they got 14 participants to drink about 500 millilitres of water.
  • The volunteers' metabolic rate – or how quickly they burned calories – jumped a third within 10 minutes of drinking the water and remained high for another 30 or 40 minutes.
  • The researchers estimated that, over a year, increasing your water consumption by one and a half litres a day would burn an extra 17,400 calories, or about two kilograms and 250 grams (five pounds) worth.
  • Since much of the increased metabolic rate is due to the body's efforts to heat the liquid, make sure the water you're drinking is icy cold.  

3. Don't worry if you've been yo-yo dieting

  • There's a myth that if you've spent your life losing and gaining the same four and a half to nine kilograms (10 to 20 pounds), your metabolism gets out of kilter and ends up slowing right down. Don't believe it.
  • When researchers reviewed 43 studies on the topic, they found no difference in the metabolic rates of yo-yo dieters compared to those of everyone else.

4. Walk with intent – and intensity

Burn more calories in the same amount of time with these strategies:

  • Swing your arms when you walk. You'll burn five to 10 per cent more calories.
  • Wear a weighted vest – another great way to burn calories. But leave the hand and ankle weights at home. They throw you off balance and could result in injury.
  • Walk on grass, sand or a gravel path instead of the road. It takes more muscle power to glide smoothly over these uneven surfaces (especially sand) than over asphalt.
  • Use walking poles. A study found that you get a much more intense workout than you would without the poles.
  • Walk along the shore of a river or lake with your ankles in the water. The resistance burns more calories and gives your muscles an added workout.
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