Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Kick-Starting Stalled Weight Loss

    I'd like to touch on a few tips for kick-starting stalled weight loss. If you fall into this category, you're not alone. It's usually pretty easy to lose weight at the beginning of a diet. Those initial pounds just seem to melt away and then, as you get closer to your goal weight... the dreaded plateau! Sound familiar? Don't fret. Follow these tried-and-true strategies and you'll soon be back on the road to slimming down and, more importantly, staying that way for the long haul. Tip #1: Lift weights! Most people think of performing cardio rather than strength training to aid in weight loss. Some even deliberately avoid lifting weights while on a diet in fear that they'll look bulky. Bad move! Fact is weight training actually accelerates fat loss. The reasons are twofold. First, muscle mass increases your metabolic rate, which directly aids in the burning of fat as fuel. Studies have shown that for each pound of muscle added to your body you burn an additional 30 to 50 calories a day while at rest. If you avoid weight training, your body ends up cannibalizing its own muscle, which suppresses metabolism and ultimately leads to a rebound effect – you gain back all the weight you've lost and more. What's more, weight training increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the after-burn associated with exercise. The EPOC from weight training is more significant than any cardio activity and can last for up to 48 hours post-exercise! Tip #2: Add a cheat day! Dieting 24/7 is actually counterproductive to enduring weight loss. It causes feelings of deprivation that often leads to binge eating. It also elicits a starvation response initiated by leptin – the master hormone responsible for fat gain and loss. Hunger goes up, metabolism goes down, and weight loss comes to a screeching halt. The solution: Have a regimented “cheat day” and eat your favorite foods once a week. Go ahead and order that pizza and or nibble on those Goobers and Raisinets. Whatever your heart desires, indulge yourself. This not only helps to satisfy cravings, but it actually can reset your leptin levels, tricking your body out of going into starvation mode. The net effect is quicker and longer-lasting weight loss… and that’s a win/win situation! Tip #3: Interval Train! Most people choose to lose weight by performing continual, moderately intense aerobic exercise in the so-called “fat burning zone” that equates to 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. This concept of a fat-burning zone might sound good in theory, but it's based on faulty interpretation of research that seemed to show activities performed at a moderate intensity burn a greater percentage of fat calories than higher intensity activities. Unfortunately, burning a greater percentage of fat doesn’t equate to burning more total fat calories. A better strategy is to perform interval training, where you alternate between high and low periods of intensity. Studies have shown this to be up to nine times more effective in reducing body fat! You can use almost any type of cardio that you like, but the most popular is walking and running. If you're new to the interval concept start out with a 4:1 ratio (4 minutes at low intensity and 1 minute at high intensity). You can decrease the ratio as you become more fit until you eventually reach a ratio of 1:1. Stay fit! Brad Brad Schoenfeld is one of America’s leading fitness experts. He’s the author of Sculpting Her Body Perfect, 28-Day Body Shapeover and the bestseller Look Great Naked. He is a columnist for FitnessRX for Women magazine, and has been featured in nearly every major fitness and women’s magazine. Schoenfeld is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and as a personal trainer by both the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. He’s also been named “master trainer” by the International Association of Fitness Professionals. Check out his website

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