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     Fitness Tips For 7/6/2006 
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Weight Loss Plateaus and Pitfalls
By ACE 

It's kind of like running into a wall - that feeling you get when, 
after a few months on a weight-loss program, you suddenly stop seeing 
results. This is called hitting a plateau and it is not uncommon. In 
fact, unless you continually update your program to reflect the 
changes your body has already experienced, you can almost be 
guaranteed to plateau at some point along your journey toward 
reaching your goal weight.

Weight-loss Woes

The first thing you should do upon hitting a plateau is try to determine 
the cause. Could you be eating more calories than you think? Research 
shows that most people underreport the number of calories they eat - it's 
not that they're lying, they just don't know how to make an accurate
assessment of how much they're eating. And even if you're eating less 
calories than before you lost the weight, you could be eating just 
enough to maintain your current weight at your current activity level. It 
is important to keep in mind that as you lose weight, your metabolism 
slows down because there is less of you to fuel, both at rest and during 
activity. So, while a diet of 1,800 calories per day helped you lose a 
certain amount of weight, if you've now hit a plateau, it could be that 
1,800 calories is the exact amount you need to stay at your current 
weight.

Exercise Your Options 

This leaves you with two options: Lower your caloric intake further or 
increase the amount of time  you spend being physically active. The 
first option is less desirable because you may not be able to get 
sufficient nutrients from a diet that is very low in calories, and it is 
difficult to stick to it for very long. It is much better to moderately 
reduce calories to a level that you can sustain when you reach 
your goal weight. The same is true for exercise. Trying to 
exercise for several hours per day to burn more calories is a 
good way to set yourself up for failure. Not only does this type
of regimen require an enormous time commitment, it is hard on the 
body, making you more susceptible to injury and overuse syndromes. 
To help balance the intake with the expenditure, a good rule of thumb 
is to multiply your goal weight by 10 calories per pound, and add more
calories according to how active you are. Again, be realistic. Don't 
attempt too much in an effort to burn more calories. Instead, aim for 30 
minutes of moderate activity most of the days of the week and, as you 
become more fit, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your 
exercise sessions. Choose activities that you find enjoyable, whether 
that be in-line skating, step classes or even mall walking. By 
shaking things up a bit and varying your program by introducing
some new elements, you'll likely find yourself off the plateau and 
back on the road to progress in no time.

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Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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