Why you hit a weight loss plateau

photo cred: Everyday Health

Sometimes, more isn’t more. In our harried world of to-do lists, burgeoning inboxes, traffic jams and a driving need for more productivity productivity productivity, the common advice on making time for a healthy lifestyle is to schedule it in. “Set your alarm for 5 am and get your workout done.” “Respond to emails by dictating to Siri on your run.” ( For real?!?). “Blog while you’re on the elliptical.” “Text while planking on your mat.” It gets crazier.

Please. Stop.  This is why people plateau.

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It’s easy for us goal-directed Achievers to get caught up in the need to be MORE productive, to do more in less time.  You’re successful, you get sh*t done, you make things happen, you get results…BAM. When it comes to your body however, you have to slow down. You have to. 

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in class with people zoning out in class. These folks usually arrive a bit frazzled and late (perhaps from horrendous Toronto traffic) and set up with their smart phone on their mat. Shoulders are tense, breathing is shallow and movements are rigid. They’re not mentally present. It’s almost like they needed to check “exercise” off their to-do list but feel guilty for stepping away from work. So, their mind stays racing in work-mode and their body just copies the group class choreography, not really feeling the movement. 

Sometimes (often) they’ll start doing a completely different version of an exercise from the rest of the group. They’re literally just going through the motions.

One of my fav yogi sayings is: “If you’re not here now, you’re nowhere.” 

When it comes to exercising our bodies, we need to show up, be present and stop multi-tasking. Your brain cannot properly connect with your muscles when you’re thinking about too much other crap.  Just as you can’t deliver an excellent presentation while thinking about your ass (try it – it’s really hard), you can’t get a kick-ass workout while thinking about that presentation.

Bottom line – think about the muscles you’re working as you’re exercising. Put down the phone.

Hitting a plateau with your training results is always a sign there needs to be a change. Recently a client’s steady 25 lb. weight loss tapered off, still 10 lb. away from her goal. She asked if we should meet for an additional 4th session each week, or if she should cut more foods from her otherwise super clean diet.  Perfect example of the more more more productivity mentality.

The answer I gave was no. How was she sleeping? How much stress was she experiencing at her job? How was her digestion? I sent her to get checked out by a Chinese doctor friend. It turns out that her liver and kidneys were not optimally functioning and after a week of TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) supplements and only two training sessions, she was down another 4 lb.

Moral of the story, you need to reconnect with your body. Listen to its signals. Never underestimate the power of sleep. Support your internal organs ( especially if you have high stress!) Lose the phone during workouts. And when you’re exercising, think about your muscles and bones to get the most out of your precious time!

Your body deserves it.

 

Toning with Tracy Anderson

I caught up with celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson, recently in town at the Toronto Four Seasons to promote the launch of Samsung’s Gear Fit ($219) wearable fitness tracker.

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Tracy is fascinating. She is Gwyneth’s bff, has trained Madonna, Kim Kardashian and a slew of Hollywood hotties too many to mention. She is a queen of personal branding and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, even if it means putting herself in the media hot seat (here she is on Good Morning America getting in trouble for saying too many women “let themselves go” during pregnancy). She’s also a believer in attachment parenting and is a huge breastfeeding advocate, reminding us that while nursing isn’t a weight loss tool per se, many people will burn more calories than they consume if they nurse on demand, which can aid their weight loss.

Tracy takes a stance, even if people don’t like what she has to say, and I respect that. It also makes her pretty interesting.

As for the workout, it was fun and certainly unique! It brought me back to dance rehearsal days as we spun and popped and tried to get the choreography. Tracy doesn’t do 8-counts, she doesn’t talk – you just gotta “figure it out”. I did notice that while no one was getting the proper choreo, we were ALL sweating, hopping up and down like cardio bunnies. We used the Samsung GalaxyS5 heart rate tracker ( it’s right on the phone itself). Mine went from 84 to 158 beats/minute during the cardio dance part.

The “no cueing” the moves threw me for a loop, but Tracy later explained in our Q n A session that new, confusing choreography opens up neural pathways in your brain. These pathways help get you in touch with your body and essentially wake up dormant muscles. So you see, it was by design! Gotcha.

A big take home message was that part of great achieving in life involves creating balance. Shut everyone else out and go workout for an hour. By using a mobile fitness tracker like the Gear Fit you can still get emails but program in a message saying “I’ll back to you”. This way you don’t need to have anxiety about stepping away for an hour.

If we take care of ourselves we are setting a good example for our children, we will perform better in all areas of our life and we will look awesome in jeans ( Tracy said the first two, I said the last one).

Thanks for the inspiration Tracy! Keep blazing trails for female fitness entrepreneurs!! xoxo