Dr Bret Wilson

Getting Over the Hump

Getting Over the Hump
By Dr Bret Wilson

Work, Play & YogaI was visiting with some friends the other day.  The subject of diet and exercise came up.  Our friends, a couple in their 60s, had been working on a program over the last year to improve their health.  They had been diligent with their diet and persistent with their exercise.

There were positive changes.  Pounds were lost, energy increased, clothes fit better.  But now, they explained, they hit a plateau and were not moving any farther towards their goal.  We discussed some ideas to get over the hump and move things forward.  Here are some ideas.

RESTART YOUR METABOLISM.  The first change people make to lose weight is a reduction in caloric intake.  The ways to achieve this include better food choices, reduced portions, and or skipping meals.  But skipping meals and severely rationing food may trigger the body’s survival mode.  The brain and hormonal system go into alert, metabolism slows to conserve for the long haul and fat stores are maintained.    How do you put your brain and hormones at ease, stimulating a healthy metabolism to help you achieve healthy body composition?  Reduce calories by better food choices (nutrient dense calories) and eat smaller but more frequent meals and snacks.  By eating 6 smaller meals you never trigger the body’s survival mode and will use fat stores for energy, increase lean body mass and move towards your healthy weight.

CHANGE YOUR DIET.  Weight loss will always occur when you limit your intake and make a more conscious effort to eat low calorie, nutrient dense food.  After a period of a similar diet, your body’s metabolism adapts and then may level off changes as it tries to maintain consistency.  Changing the types of food, times for meals and snacks, combination of foods can help restart your body to make more change.

WASH YOUR WAY PAST THE PLATEAU.  Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day.  Water is important to all the chemical processes that are happening in your body.  It carries nutrition across cells, helps with detoxification and acts as a diuretic to help reduce excess water bound up in tissues.  Help your body wash away the pounds with plenty of clean water.

CHANGE YOUR EXERCISE.  Combine cardio vascular exercise like walking, stair climber, running and resistance exercise using floor exercise, weights, machines or resistance bands.  Increased lean muscle mass from resistance training helps increase metabolism and cardio burns calories and fat.  You need both to get the job done.  Exercise at least 30 minutes 5-6 times per week.  If you are stuck, try modifying your exercise by frequency, duration, type, ratio of resistance to cardio, time of day, pre and post workout meals.  Change your workouts to keep you interested and avoid complacency. Present new challenges for your body to work on your weak areas, building the strength and stamina of the whole.

GET SOME SLEEP.  Adequate rest and proper sleep is important to keep your body healthy.  Sleep has also been shown to be important in maintain or achieving a healthy body weight.  Quality sleep helps balance hormones related to appetite and blood sugar levels.  If you go to bed hungry leads to poor quality, restless sleep.  Too many carbohydrates or eating too much, too late can also disturb sleep.  Better sleep, better health, most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  If you have hit a wall in your weight loss, make sure you are getting enough sleep.

CHANGE YOUR YARD STICK.  Maybe you are not at a stuck point.  Maybe you are using the wrong gauge.  If you have focused on pounds, then switch to inches lost.  Check for changes in your percentage of lean muscle mass compared to fat mass.  Has your energy level improved, are you in a better mood?  Look at the big picture and the many facets of the healthier you, so you can appreciate how much better you are.

Yours in Health,

Bret Wilson DC