The Weight-Loss Plateau
You're hitting the gym and eating right, but the number on the scale hasn't changed in weeks.
What to do:
Double-check portions, even for healthy foods
"It's really important to periodically check in to make sure your portion sizes are what you intended," explains Lauren Antonucci, a board-certified sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Energy. This applies to everyday good-for-you staples, not just indulgences. "Maybe you were measuring the oatmeal, but now you're eyeballing it, or your usual handful of nuts got a little bigger," Antonucci says. It's common for portions to slowly increase over time if you're not paying attention, she says, so dig out the measuring cups and make sure you're not consuming excess calories.
Test your resting metabolic rate
If your portions haven't increased, it's possible that you, after dropping some weight, now require fewer calories than when you started monitoring your intake. "As you become smaller, your metabolic rate decreases a little bit," says Antonucci. With every 10-pound loss, it's a good idea to reassess your daily calorie requirement. While you can find general guidelines online, a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test will provide you with a specific, personalized recommendation. Many dietitians offer this service — you'll relax in a chair while a disposable mouthpiece measures your respired air — which takes about 15 minutes and usually costs less than $150.
Add a "finisher" to your workout
High-intensity interval training can help nudge you off a weight-loss plateau. Sports conditioning specialist Anthony Mucurio, owner of CrossFit Utica, recommends incorporating a "finisher" at the end of your typical routine. "This is a short, eight- to 12-minute high-intensity workout that will give your metabolism a kick in the pants and keep it revved up to 48 hours following your workout." Mucurio suggests three rounds of eight air-squats plus a 400 meter run, performed as fast as possible.