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Banks - Plateau

I'm sure everyone has been there. You start MFP, everything goes great for a while, a few weeks for some, a few months for others, and suddenly you can't seem to lose to save your life! It's happened to us all, myself included, but I have found a few techniques, tricks, and tools along the way that have helped me break the plateau cold! I'll share them, some may work for you, some may not, everyone's body is different, but hey, if I help one person, I feel that my job has been done! tongue

So here is a list of reasons people can plateau. If you see something that looks familiar, then you may have already found your solution. See some other things you can do below to help snap out of it.

Possible reasons for plateaus:

1. Wrong goals - Did you set your expectations too high? 2 lbs/week may not be right for you, you could be starving yourself without even realizing. Maybe your weight has changed and you haven't redone your goals in a while and you are still using old numbers.

2. Diet stagnation - we aren't dogs, we need variety in our foods, mix up your meals.
3. Large meals - Are you having 2 or 3 large calorie meals? Remember, the body doesn't work on a 24 hour clock, if you stuff yourself, even if you stay under your daily caloric intake, you could be adding fat to your frame!

4. Bad nutritional value - Calorie count is good, but food quality is just as important, 500 calories worth of Hoho's or ding dongs won't help your daily intake.

5. Stress in your life - Are you stressing about something? Stress can play a huge roll in your metabolism.

6. Health concerns - sometimes it's beyond our control, if all else fails, go see a doctor!

These are just some of the reasons people plateau, there are others, but these are a good starting point.
Things you can do (besides addressing the issues above) to help break a plateau.
1. Give yourself a break - Have one meal that you really shouldn't, go over your calories once every couple of weeks, have that burger and yes, the fries too. It's called shocking your system, and it can actually break the body out of a routine and force it to re-examine itself. It's a legitimate practice endorsed by many trainers and it does work sometimes (It works for me), as long as you don't do it TOO often.

2. Change up your routine, if you work out every day at 6 am, switch it up, for 1 or 2 days a week, work out at night, or change what you are doing, force your body to use different muscles.
3. Tweak your nutritional break down, 60% carbs not working for you very well any more? Try 50% and upping your fat and protein intake, add some more fiber, or less fiber if you already have a lot.
4. Lower your goal settings, 1.5 lbs a week not working, maybe your metabolism is higher then the average and this site is under reporting, over a few weeks, gradually up your calories every few days (say 50 cals more every 2 days) and after a few weeks see if there is any difference.
5. Change HOW you eat. Sometimes we need to change our habits, do you usually eat at 7am 12:30pm and 6:30pm? Well, try halving your meals and eat at 7, 10, 12:30, 3 and 6. Or vice versa if that's what you are doing.

And last but not least...
TAKE A LONG LOOK AT YOUR EXPECTATIONS! Most people want it NOW, and more often then not their goals reflect that. Every day tell yourself, "I didn't gain this <put your lbs overweight here> overnight, I can't expect to lose them that way." Make yourself believe it. You may want to be thinner now, but your body doesn't! Heck, if your close to your goal, your body may not want to change at all! You have to really look at yourself with a critical eye and think about what you are trying to accomplish.

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