Can’t seem to lose those last stubborn pounds of unwanted body weight? If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to get leaner, the good news is we have a handful of ideas that don’t involve spending more time on the treadmill or counting calories…Reaching a plateau is a rewarding experience—if you’re hiking. But when you’ve reached a plateau in your weight loss goals, it’s one of the most frustrating experiences.
Before doing something extreme, try these 5 tips.
But what if you’ve already tried exercising more and eating less? Should you do something drastic like a 3-day fast or have a tummy tuck?
#1: Eat Bitter Herbs
How exactly does eating like a rabbit help you lose weight? Well, if you incorporate more digestive bitters in your diet, it will help your body make a substance that’s absolutely critical for breaking down dietary fat. That substance is bile. Produced by the liver and released by the gallbladder, bile is, well, a vile-looking substance; think vomit-green laundry detergent.
If you’ve reached a weight-loss plateau, your liver is probably having a tough go at it making smooth-flowing bile. Eating bitter herbs such as parsley, endive, radicchio, citrus peel, chicory, ginger root and gentian root enhance the production and quality of bile.
Bitters also help stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and gastric juices, help absorb nutrients, move nutrients away from the intestinal wall, and may even help remove metabolic waste, says this research article.
Sometimes, all it takes is a simple solution for breaking a plateau. Hopefully, eating more bitters (also available in supplement form) will do the trick.
#2: HIIT Yourself In The Morning
You’ve already been told to exercise more. But where you told specifically when to exercise and what type of exercise to perform? If not, try HIIT, or high-intensity interval training before your first meal of the day.
HIIT involves several sets of short-burst activity followed by a recovery period. For example, you can jump rope for one minute at full speed and then let your breathing come back to normal before doing it again.
And the best thing about HIIT in comparison to SIT (steady interval training; example: jogging at the same steady clip) is that you don’t need to do it for nearly as long. Just a 10-minute HIIT session may do the trick for weight loss.
Admittedly, there is a dearth of research that shows an association between HIIT and weight loss. Most of the benefits that HIIT has shown in research studies are on the cardiovascular system. But finding a study that tested participants doing HIIT first thing in the morning is difficult to come by.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try. In fact, lots of anecdotal evidence (including my experience) suggests that exercising at a relatively high intensity before the first meal of the day can break a weight loss plateau.
#3: Functional Medicine Tests
For people who experience unexplainable weight gain, the first culprit often examined is the function of the thyroid gland. But a conventional TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test that your physician would order may not reveal the root cause of the weight gain.
TSH tests are difficult to interpret and often return results that are in the normal range, when in fact there is indeed a dysfunction in the thyroid gland. The main problem is that a TSH test does not reveal the amount of TSH that’s freely circulating in the bloodstream, for cells to uptake.
There are several other functional diagnostic tests that can reveal hypothyroidism (an underperforming thyroid; this condition is more prevalent than an overactive thyroid). For example, there is Free T4 and T3 and even Vitamin A levels can directly impact thyroid function.
If you have thinning hair, low energy, feel cold much of the time and have a ghostly pallor to your face, you may have an underperforming thyroid. Seek the help of a functional medicine doctor or practitioner. You may have to pay out of pocket if they don’t take insurance but in the end, it will be worth every penny.
You’ve heard of probiotics. But postbiotics? Here’s a crash course: when the friendly bacteria in your gut (probiotics) consume fiber that has not been fully digested in your colon (prebiotic fiber), the bacteria release short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are postbiotics and they don’t get enough credit. While having enough friendly bacteria in the gut is very important, it’s actually the postbiotics that are responsible for all the wonderful health benefits of having a balanced gut microbiome.
And one of those benefits is weight loss. Research on postbiotics and weight loss is fairly scant because the postbiotic supplement industry is relatively new. But postbiotics are believed to aid in weight loss by suppressing hunger hormone signals to the brain, and by modulating inflammation levels.
If you’re looking for natural foods with postbiotics, the best sources are those that naturally contain probiotics, i.e. fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, etc. Trouble tolerating fermented foods? Then you can cut out the middleman and purchase a butyric acid supplement.
#5: Intermittent Fasting & Lower Carb
Finally, if you’re still one of the last holdouts to intermittent fasting and lower-carb diets, then it’s time to hop on the bandwagon. Although more research is needed, dozens of small trials have shown that intermittent fasting, or time-restricted feeding can help reduce weight in people with obesity.
And you don’t have to go full ketogenic (an ultra low carbohydrate diet) to shatter a weight-loss plateau. But it can’t hurt to ditch the highest sources of carbohydrates from your diet. These solutions help tremendously with that.