New Year’s Resolution: Moving Past the Weight Loss Plateau

See what two local experts have to say about overcoming weight loss plateaus

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

apple weight lossHas your New Year’s weight loss resolution hit a plateau? Don’t worry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who lose weight steadily and slowly — about one to two pounds per week — tend to keep it off successfully. One pound of body weight equals roughly 3,500 calories, so to lose weight, a body needs to negate 500 to 1,000 calories per day by eating less and burning more to achieve the goal of one to two pounds lost weekly.

If a couple weeks pass and the scale won’t budge, take heart, try these tips from area experts:

Tips from Deanna DeSimone, certified precision nutrition coach with UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, part of the yoUBwell Nutrition program:

• “Take a look at your diet. As you lose weight, you will need to eat less food than before because caloric needs are based in part on what you weigh. You may need fewer calories than before you began losing weight.

• “Try an app like My Fitness Pal or talk with a dietitian. You can see if you’re eating too many calories or too much of a nutrient. The apps are really useful as you can easily keep track of calories and nutrition, all on your phone. Many phones come with an app or you can get many of these fitness and nutrition apps free.

• “Look at added sugar. If there’s food you could replace with a healthier choice, do so. Don’t shy away from naturally occurring sugar in fruits and vegetables. Take the grams of sugar in a food and divide by four. That gives you the teaspoons. That’s a measurement that’s more understandable. Eliminate added sugar.

• “If the diet’s in great shape, you may need to increase the weights or decrease the rest time or increase the intensity. High intensity interval training (HIIT) may be something to try as well. Online workouts can be done in-home. For HIIT, perform lots of repetitions of a movement at high intensity with short rests in between.”

Tips from Joanne Wu, an integrative and holistic medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in wellness and practices in Buffalo:

• “Many people, when they work on weight loss, work on only one part. It should include what you eat, well being, stress management and exercise — what they do for movement.

• “Set reasonable goals and take steps toward them. If you still plateau, we look at what we can refine.

• “’Muscle confusion’ means you change the type of exercise you do. That challenges muscles to exercise at a different rate and pace, which strengthens different muscles and enhances weight loss. If all you do is one type of exercise, you can face overuse injuries, which can mean you can’t exercise as much, and you don’t build as much muscle. You can tone more and work on different muscles in a healthy way.

• “Don’t just look at the New Year to make short-term changes, but a long-term wellness program for mind, body and soul. You want to enhance a healthy lifestyle. If we always approach weight loss with that approach, we’re much more consistent at weight loss.”