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Beating a stubborn plateau

8/17 8:57:50

Hi Rick! First, congrats on the weight loss! I am hoping you can give me some constructive advice.

First, I am 26, female, 5'4", and right now at approx. 170 pounds. If it helps understand my physique, I'm also... well-endowed up north, which makes certain exercises like ab roll-ups more difficult. I started my weight loss journey after I got my physical results and found my cholesterol was slightly high (dr said no cause for alarm, just lose some weight and change diet a bit). I really got serious at the start of October, after I realized in pictures from a recent trip how big I really was at 185 pounds.

I started taking Zumba classes 4x per week - 2 days are mostly cardio (45 min of cardio, 10 min of weights and 5 min of abs), 1 day cardio only for a full hour, 1 day is weights only (10 min cardio warmup, 45 min weights, 5 min abs). Doing Zumba alone and changing my diet, I lost 12 pounds by Halloween. I lost an additional 3 pounds after I added two spin classes per week (45 min each), and recently started attending another 1-hour weights toning class and a 1-hour boot-camp style class on different days.

Here's the problem: After the 2nd week of November, I got stuck at the 14-pound loss mark. It's taken over 3 weeks to lose another 2. I'm already spending over 8 hours a week in the gym over 6 days. I may add in 2 pilates classes (1 hr each) to help my flexibility and core.

As for my diet, I have greatly reduced my portion sizes to what I feel is now a *real* portion size. I make sure to eat healthy during the week, trying to avoid pure white carbs and excess sugar, then on the weekend usually give myself license to eat what I want but in a proper portion size. (I don't usually eat dessert, as I find I am not hungry enough for it.) I've recently started enforcing healthier choices on the weekends too. My typical day during the week for food is: a Bagelful for breakfast with 8oz of orange juice at 8:30am when I get to work, a small lunch around 12:30pm, then dinner at home around 8pm-8:30pm. Between meals I drink a lot of water, mainly in the form of Lipton's Blueberry & Pomegranite iced tea - one tea bag per 2 1/3 cups of water, which is actually twice as much water as lipton recommends, with 3 tsp of sugar - just enough, for that amount of water, to take out the bitter of the tea. I very rarely drink soda anymore - I find that drinking it gives me a headache. Because my work involves many conference calls throughout the day, I often don't have the opportunity to fit in smaller snacks.

Overall, I have lost about 16 pounds, but have also started trimming all over. I'm seeing lots more muscle movement (not quite at definition yet) and have started seeing my clothes get looser. But, I'm still at almost 170 pounds, and want to get back down to my high school weight of 130, which I think is a pretty healthy goal considering my height. I know it's only been 2 months, but to spend over a month now and losing only 2 additional pounds is frustrating.

Any suggestions on how I can break through this plateau and start losing pounds again? I was hoping to get back down to 130 by April (a personal trainer once told me that 55 pounds in 6 months was a reasonable goal), but I'm beginning to be afraid that even if I do start losing again, I may quickly hit another plateau. I am thinking about starting a running regimen, but will definitely have to start slow.

First, congrats on what you have already accomplished. 14 pounds is a lot to be proud of.

Next, I'd like to see you remove ALL refined sugar from your diet. Try Splenda or (my preference) Equal instead of table sugar. It's EVIL.

Sometimes in order to break a plateau, you have to mix it up a bit. You might actually need to ADD some calories to your diet (you ARE tracking calories, right? If not, start keeping a journal - see my web site). Add 10% or even 20% more calories to your diet for a week and TAKE IT EASY with the exercise. 8 hours a week is a lot to maintain full time. Sometimes your body needs a break to snap back.

Then, try mixing up your workout routine too?I recommend 3 days of cardio alternating with 3 days of weight training - NO MORE than 30 to 45 minutes of INTENSE exercise a day.

Good luck.

For specific information and step-by-step guidelines on how to lose weight and be healthy, visit my web site for all kinds of details about proper diet, nutrition, exercise, weight-lifting routines, and more.

Most importantly, make sure to download my FREE eBook, "Rick's 18 Tips for Healthy Weight Loss."

Richard Rost

P.S. As a disclaimer, I'm not a doctor or health professional. Please seek the advice of your doctor before implementing any of my recommendations.

I hope this information helps to solve your problem. If there is ANY REASON why you won't give me a RATING of 10 please let me know so I can improve upon my answers in the future. Thank you!

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