Organic Liaison Health Director Deborah Klein, M.S., R.D. answers your health and nutrition-related questions!
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Having a support system is key to weight loss success! Dieting with a buddy could make all the difference and help you finally lose that weight. A supportive friend can push you to overcome your big roadblocks—particularly the common, dreaded weight loss plateau.
When either you or your buddy reaches a plateau, help one another out, first, to get over that “set-point” weight. Research has shown that our bodies naturally want to be maintained at a stable weight, our individual “set-point” weight—even if we reduce our caloric intake and burn more calories. As we know, the body adapts, especially during a state of caloric deprivation. That means: often, when you switch to a low-calorie diet, your body protects itself by going into hibernation mode and holding onto whatever calories you feed it. For that reason, many people can’t seem to get below a certain weight range. All of a sudden, it’s: “Hello Plateau!”
Thankfully, we can do something about this “set-point” to help our bodies realize and embrace CHANGE! The key to promoting weight change is to do things differently. You need to give your body a healthy shock, and tell it to wake up and accept weight loss.
Here are 5 tips to help you get past your set-point weight and overcome your plateau—all with the help of a buddy!
1. Do resistance training, 4 times a week, together. Both of you should put resistance training or weight lifting or your calendars. Even 5 minutes is sufficient time to work out 3 body parts, with 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. Make sure the amount of resistance or weight is enough to cause you to feel the burn after 10 to 12 reps, or else it’s not effective. If you can’t fit 1 hour of exercise at a time into your day, getting some resistance training in is even more important than doing cardio because it builds muscle; muscle building is what actually changes your physical body structure and makes your body more efficient at calorie burning!
2. Grocery shop together for lean staple foods. Stock up on healthy staples and mix things up. Choose veggies that you don’t normally eat (e.g. chard, kale, collard greens, and bok choy). Go for new starchy vegetables instead of the typical starches you always eat. Replace bread, pasta, rice and potatoes with butternut squash, acorn squash, lima beans, green peas, and artichokes (a great, high-fiber source of carbs, equivalent to 2 slices of bread).
3. Members, go over your Daily Journals together. Coach each other to eat balanced meals often enough throughout the day to satisfy your body and boost metabolism. Ask yourselves: “Are we eating within our recommended calorie limits? Are we eating every 3 to 4 hours? Are we overloading on one meal and under-fueling on the next?”
4. Send each other motivational text messages or emails. Help each other move throughout the day! Follow the Cambridge Study Method, which applies to taking moving breaks at work. It states: The most effective way to increase memory retention is to study 30 minutes, take a 10-minute break, then review for 2 minutes what you studied in that previous 30 minutes. It’ll also keep you from feeling over-worked at the office.
Use your ten-minute break time to maximize your daily calorie expenditure. Moving the body differently and more nourishes a change in your body weight. If you have a private office, don’t hesitate to put on headphones, get up and dance! If you don’t have a private office, head to the break room, or wherever you feel comfortable enough to do some squats, lunges, or weight lifting. Try using Therabands (resistance tubing) to build muscle. Or make some calls on your cell and go for a walk.
5. Encourage each other to hydrate well and eat low sodium foods. The key to prevent bloating and water weight is to eat low sodium foods and drinking adequate water. The scale may not being going down because you are retaining water due to your high-sodium diet. Aim for less than 150 mg of sodium per serving (check your food labels); choose fresh foods instead of boxed and frozen foods as much as possible. Keep drinking water throughout the day (at least 8 cups).
Now, go out there and have a fun, safe, well-balanced and energizing trip!
Health and happiness to you,
Deborah Klein, MS, RD
Organic Liaison Health Director
[Image: from Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons]