I like to think of fat loss and body transformation as a journey.
The destination is a beautiful, exciting place where wishes are fulfilled, goals are reached, and yes, dreams come true. I’m a bit of a romantic by nature, but that’s a good thing because it fuels my optimism and that keeps me moving forward.
Here in Sonora, CA at Gordon studio, the transformation journey starts with training.
Today, I’m writing about the reality that when we start to train, we build muscle, and sometimes, if our goal is to lose fat, and our measure of fat loss is downward movement on the scale, we end up on a weight loss plateau.
I see the commitment and discipline of my students every day, and I see how nervous it can make them when the scale stops moving, so I want to share some strategies that you can use to keep moving toward your fat loss goal.
First, we have to consider whether your basic fat loss/body transformation strategy is dialed in.
Here is that basic strategy:
1. Choose a nutritious whole food plan that satisfies your appetite, while allowing for a moderate energy deficit.
2. Perform transformative exercise consisting of a full body warmup, resistance training, and intervals to shape the body, stimulate fat burning through increased metabolism, and moderate appetite.
30 minutes three times a week is optimal: This has been demonstrated through research, and in my experience at Gordon Studio.
3. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, ideally in a dark room.
I know, I know, in our busy modern world those three elements can be a challenge to bring together, but I trust my clients when they tell me that they are following those three strategies, but fat loss still appears to have stopped.
It may be possible, even likely, that muscle growth is masking fat loss when it
comes to the numbers on the scale, but if frustration is occurring because the scale hasn’t moved in over two weeks (the absolute minimum amount of time that must pass before you even start thinking plateau) here are some strategies you can add to your program that do not include additional calorie cutting.
(Note: nothing is more likely to backfire than further restriction of nutrition, especially if you are doing Turbulence Training, or Shawna’s Challenge Workouts. In my experience, trying to get off a plateau by further restricting food intake leads to overeating blowouts. Then you’re not just stuck- you gain weight.)
1. Drink and record 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day.
Go ahead and argue, but I’ve seen it time and time again- busy people get dehydrated, and I really don’t know any one who can metabolize fat in a state of dehydration. I drink the juice of up to half a lemon in water every day.
Here is the entry from Web MD explaining lemon’s use as a dietary supplement: “Lemon is a plant. The fruit, juice, and peel are used to make medicine.
Lemon is used to treat scurvy, a condition caused by not having enough vitamin C. Lemon is also used for the common cold and flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, ringing in
the ears(tinnitus), Meniere’s disease, and kidney stones. It is also used to aid digestion, reduce pain and swelling (inflammation), improve the function
of blood vessels, and increase urination to reduce fluid retention.
In foods, lemon is used as a food and flavoring ingredient.
How does it work?
Lemon contains antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Researchers think these bioflavonoids are responsible for the health benefits of lemon.”
2. Add 30 minutes of restorative movement 3 times a week.
Restorative movement is walking, yoga, flexibility practice, or any movement that doesn’t go much above a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 on the rating of perceived exertion scale.
Please note that I am not advocating extra cardio. This is so important. My direct experience and observation does show that individuals who are under 35, and who have never had a serious weight problem, do seem to be able to do as much cardio,
aerobics, treadmill running, or elliptical pedaling as they want. But these are not the people who need my expertise. For those of us over 40 who have been seriously or even moderately overweight, extra cardio just seem to increase appetite, and the likelihood of injury.
We do have proof that restorative, very low intensity movement uses fat and preserves muscle, but I think it works because it provides pleasurable movement.
To explain further, I believe that, very often, we over-eat as a pleasure seeking behavior. If you can get that same enjoyment out of movement, that’s a genuine win/win situation.
I can hear you now,
“Who has time to meditate?”
“How do I learn to meditate with out wanting to jump out of my skin?”
“Will meditation interfere with my beliefs?”
I would never recommend any practice that would give you an uneasy conscience, but when I added daily meditation back in 2009, my body and my life went to the next level of transformation. 20 minutes a day with a guided meditation program on my iPod was incredibly effective, and I continue to love this practice to this very day.
Here is a simple meditation you can try today:
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and then imagine yourself walking in a beautiful setting in nature. I like to imagine the beach in Malibu CA.
In your meditation, take a walk in your ideal body. What are you wearing? How does it feel to move in this body that you’ve been training, eating, and changing your habits for? Imagine yourself running or jumping, if you wish- use your imagination. You can imagine that you meet friends and loved ones on your walk. Imagine that they respond just the way you would like them to when they see how healthy and happy you look. By exploring how it feels to reach your goal, you re- commit to the behaviors that will get you there.
Finally, I think that we need to find more and more ways to get enjoyment from our healthy transformative habits. I wanted to lose weight and fat in order to live a more fulfilling life, and my students want the same thing.
Very often, pleasurable non-food behaviors help fill the empty space we used to fill
Hydration, restoration, and meditation might just be the three keys to getting off of that weight loss plateau for good.