5. Lift heavy stuff. If you haven’t started lifting weights, do it. Not just because adding muscle will increase your resting metabolism (not by a ton, but every little bit helps) or because muscle takes up less space than fat but because it is good for you in so many ways. Increased bone mass. Stronger heart. Fewer varicose veins (unless you squat too heavy and then you can get hemorrhoids but that’s another post). Increased confidence. And if you already lift weights, change it up: try lifting heavy with few reps, or light with many reps. Try doing supersets. Lots and lots of different programs out there.

6. Eat more calories. This may sound counterintuitive but I think by now we’ve all heard about how our metabolisms will head off into the Siberia of starvation mode if it thinks it’s not being sufficiently fed. Cutting back on your calories only helps you lose weight to a point. You may actually need to eat a bit more. How to tell? Do you feel tired, lethargic and/or more cold than usual? Have you lost your sex drive? Losing your hair? Brittle or strangely ridged nails?

7. Get your metabolism tested. If you have health insurance and this isn’t too costly, this can be a good thing to do if nothing else is working. Get your thyroid tested (especially if you are pregnant, recently were pregnant, are lactating or are female and over 50). Get your vitamin and hormone levels checked. It can’t hurt and who knows – it might turn up a health issue you need to know about!


1. Calorie counting. For me this one is a loaded weapon but the truth is that it takes you an hour to burn 500 calories but it only takes you five minutes to eat a Cinnabon. It’s much easier to watch what you eat than to change your exercise. If you are trying to break through a plateau it can be useful to track your calories for a while to help you be honest with yourself about what and how much you are really eating. It can also help you see patterns (like, say, if you hit a plateau at a certain time of the month every month.). But if you decide to do this one, do it with care and kindness. Too many of us have sacrificed our well being and mental health on the (un)holy altar of FitDay.

2. Cleanses. I’ve never done one of these. While I do fast for 24 hours once a month for religious reasons (I’m a Mormon), I’ve never tried a fasting or juice or any other “cleanse.” I have friends that swear by them. I remain dubious. If you do one, drop me a line (or write a comment) and tell me about your experience with these!

Don’t Do It

  1. Pills. Just remember this: if they actually worked, every one would buy them and we’d all be thin. They don’t work and they prey on your hope and your pocketbook.
  2. Extreme diets. Sure you’ll drop pounds but you’ll drop so much more than that too. This is how eating disorders are born.
  3. Over-exercise. Learn from me. Please. If there is any silver lining to having gone to treatment twice for exercise addiction, it is that perhaps I can spare some of you a similar fate.
  4. Tapeworms. Um, ew.

I know I didn’t hit everything – what suggestions do you have for busting through a weight loss plateau? What have you tried that has worked? What have you tried that hasn’t?

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