Friday, January 22, 2010
What Can Explain a Weight-Loss Plateau?
Q: I weigh 180 pounds and I hit a weight-loss plateau about a month ago. I exercise once a week on my mountain bike, weight-train three to four times a week, and take my dog for daily walks. What am I doing wrong?
— Maria, Georgia
Weight-loss plateaus are a very complicated — and common — problem and can be related to any number of factors. The cold, hard reality with plateaus, however, is that they are most often caused by increased caloric intake (eating more).
Typically, when people get a few months into their weight-loss programs, they begin cheating on their diets and often do not even realize it. A simple way to check on this is to keep a food diary for a week or two to see whether your food intake is higher than what you thought it was. I suspect that if you reexamine your dietary habits, you can work through this plateau.
Also, you might consider reducing the three to four days of weight training you're currently doing and increasing the amount of aerobic exercise. I would consider doing only two days of weight training and adding two to three more days of aerobic exercise to your fitness routine. The additional aerobic exercise will help you burn more calories, and two days of weight training should really be all you need for healthy muscles.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Fitness Center.