Have you been dieting for a long time, eating the same foods, and doing the same workouts, and not seeing much, if any movement, in the scale or mirror? If so, know that you are not alone, as this is more common than you think. And it is not that you are doing something wrong, necessarily. Sometimes, to break a plateau, you just have to flip everything over and do the opposite.
If You Always Follow a High Carb Diet
Take a week or two and experiment with eating a low carbohydrate diet. Most people lose weight when they make this switch. Granted, most of the initial weight is water weight, but it is still weight loss.
If you are able to keep your carbs very low, you may even raise ketone levels enough such that you start burning fat for fuel, rather than sugar. This process, called beta-oxidation Beta-oxidation of fatty acids, is a far more efficient biological function than burning sugar, and as such, the brain loves it!
Another biological process that occurs when you go low carb is enhancement of mitochondrial biogenesis Mitochondrial Biogenesis. This means that the mitochondria grow in size and number. The function of mitochondria is to produce energy (hence, why they are known as the power plants of the body).
Going low carb often also help to reduce inflammation in the body, allowing you to feel better. Eating too much sugar constantly is usually an inflammation trigger, and we know that inflammation is a leading cause for many disease states.
In my experience and in the research literature, having metabolic flexibility (being able to efficiently switch between being a fat burner and a sugar burner) is the healthiest state to be in. This is particularly true if you need to lose body fat. See here for more info on low carb eating The Keto Diet.
If You Always Follow a Low Carb Diet
Take a week and increase carbs, but track and monitor how you feel. Eating more carbs serves as an “anabolic switch,” which may help you to break through on making muscle and strength gains. However, it is important to pay attention to fat gain and inflammation.
More than likely, your training performance will improve with more glycogen present in your muscles. Lifting will feel easier and cardio will be less of a chore.
Not to mention, eating more carbs may help you to get in certain nutrients via fruit and vegetables that you may be lacking. Choose healthy, nutrient-dense carb sources, such as tubers, fruits and veggies. See this article Anti-Inflammatory Diet.
While it is important to pay attention to your weight, do not freak out over it. Expect to gain a few pounds quickly, which will be mostly increased glycogen storage. This is ok, and important for performance. Try to practice intelligent nutrient timing and consume most of those carbs around your workout, when your muscles are most sensitive and ready to suck in the carbohydrates, thus preferentially storing them as muscle tissue rather than body fat.
Always Eating the Same Foods
Eating the same foods day in and day out may lead to suboptimal intake of certain nutrients, or in the worst case, a nutrient deficiency. Thus, it is important and recommended to try different foods, thus taking in a wider variety of nutrients.
This will help to optimize performance and recovery, and improve overall health. Research is quite clear on this matter. You can never go wrong by widening the array of fruits and veggies that you consume.
Insisting that You HAVE to Eat Different Foods Every Day
This is a problem that I often see with client who need to lose weight / body fat. They insist that they cannot possibly eat the same foods every day. There is considerable research that shows that eating in this manner, for a short period of time, gets better results.
I do not think it is an optimal long-term strategy, but it is certainly an effective short-term strategy, along with doing weekly meal prep. It is all about control and discipline. Find a formula that works (in other words, some combination of macros, micronutrients, calories, etc.) and repeat every day for a number of weeks. Gain control over your biology and learn from it.
The most common argument is this “I get bored eating the same thing every day.” Sometimes you have to do things that are a bit uncomfortable or that requires a little more effort to get results. That may sound like tough love. Well, that is ok, because that is what it actually is – tough love!!
Sometimes, in order to break a plateau, you just need to switch it up. Whatever you have been doing for a long time. Do the opposite. This also applies to training modalities. Change it up. Monitor. Learn. Continue to apply what works.
And if you need help, Contact Me here.