No matter how hard your training or stringent your nutrition plan is during your transformation challenge, you may hit a point where it seems like your weight is stuck. This is referred to as the “set point theory,” and it highlights the resiliency (“stubbornness”) of the human body.
You see, we haven’t survived as a species for eons on account of our physiology being all willy-nilly. It’s stubborn as hell, and for good reason. If our bodies were so easily changed, we would have gone the way of the dinosaurs thousands of years ago.
Yet, we persist on account of how highly adaptable and resilient our bodies are. This is both a blessing and curse. We are able to survive incredibly stressful things (which is awesome!), and at the same time, it can make the process of trying to lose body fat or build muscle incredibly frustrating on account of how hard we have to work to “move the needle.”
So, what should you do when you hit one of these settling points along your fitness journey?
Here are 7 ways to change your set point weight.
#1 Keep a Food Log
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people actually don’t keep a food log. Many individuals think that by simply “eating clean,” they’ll inherently lose weight.
While reducing the amount of processed foods in your diet is a good thing, especially for weight loss, it’s still possible to overeat.
The only way to know with reasonable certainty that you’re actually in a calorie deficit (which is an absolute for weight loss), is to keep a food log and track what you eat.
If you want to get even more precise, you can track macronutrient intake instead of calories. This way you know that you’re consuming adequate protein each day as well as carbohydrates, fiber, and fat.
The 1UP Fitness App, available on Google Play and Apple, allows you to quickly and easily track your calories and macronutrients as well as calculate suggested calorie intakes to get the results you want (be it fat loss or muscle building).
#2 Perform Resistance Training
While nutrition is the ultimate driver of weight loss or gain, no one can deny the power of resistance training (“lifting weights”) when it comes to building the body of your dreams.
First and foremost, resistance training helps burn calories, increasing total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which supports weight loss. Second, resistance training also helps build muscle, and the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body naturally burns at rest. Third, resistance training also helps protect lean muscle mass when dieting. Anytime you restrict calorie intake, you place your body at an increased risk of muscle loss. By lifting weights while in a calorie deficit, you’ll help your body burn fat and retain muscle, giving you a more beneficial body composition at the end of your transformation challenge.
If you’re not used to performing resistance training or need some help figuring out an effective training program, the 1UP Fitness App provides customized training plans based on your goals, age, sex, and experience as well as demonstration videos to show you how each exercise is performed.
#3 Increase Your “NEAT”
We all know the importance of exercise, not only when it comes to losing weight and building muscle, but also for its benefits in regards to mood, cardiovascular function, cognitive function, creativity, and immune support.
But, exercise isn’t the only form of physical activity you should do during the day. And, if you really think about it, the amount of time you spend exercising each day or week pales in comparison to the amount of time you’re not exercising, meaning there’s a whole lot of hours in the day that you could be burning extra calories.
The issue for many of us is that we don’t have hours and hours to spend in the gym, especially with a job, family, and other commitments.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live in the gym to burn tons of calories each day. You can increase your daily energy expenditure, and thus support weight loss, by increasing your NEAT.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and it represents the amount of calories burned during activities not categorized as “exercise.” This includes things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to get the mail, doing chores around the house, etc.
The more active you can be during the day, even if it’s something as simple as walking while taking a phone call instead of sitting down, can add up rather quickly, helping you to burn more calories during the day and ultimately get the needle moving on weight loss again.
#4 Get Enough Sleep
The value of a good night’s sleep can’t be emphasized heavily enough. Getting enough sleep pays tremendous dividends in just about every possible facet of life. You’ll feel more energetic, look younger, perform better mentally and physically, have better immune function, and exert greater control over hunger and cravings.
On the flip side, not getting enough sleep is well-documented to:
- Increase hunger
- Reduce feelings of fullness
- Disrupt hormone production
- Decrease insulin sensitivity
- Increase muscle breakdown
- Promote fat storage
- Increase cortisol & stress
- Reduce desire to exercise
- Decrease energy expenditure
Basically, not sleeping enough causes everything to happen that you wouldn’t want to when trying to lose weight.
As such, it’s imperative that you prioritize sleep and schedule it (if need be), just like you do your workouts, important meetings, etc.
This begins with establishing a consistent time to go to bed each and every night (yes, even on weekends.) Other sleep hygiene tips to consider:
- Avoid caffeine & alcohol in the hours before bed
- Limit/eliminate blue light exposure 2 hours before bed (TV, computers, smartphones, LEDs, etc.)
- Limit exposure to stress before bed (news outlets, social media, work emails, text messages, etc.)
- Make your room cool & dark
- Wear light, comfortable clothing
- Have a good, supportive pillow & mattress
- Listen to calming music
If you need additional help unloading your mind and getting your body prepped for sleep, you can use a nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, such as Beauty Dream PM or Recharge PM, which contains natural ingredients to help reduce feelings of stress, quiet a busy mind, and promote deeper, more restorative sleep.
#5 Consider Probiotics
Gut health has become an area of great interest in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why when you realize that the health of your gut (and the billions of bacteria that are in it) affect countless aspects of your daily life, including mood, cognitive function, immunity, nutrient partitioning, and the quality and appearance of your skin!
Recent studies indicate that probiotics may influence appetite and energy usage via the production of short-chain fatty acids, chief of which is butyrate.
Butyrate also possesses anti-inflammatory benefits, reinforces the epithelial defense barrier, and ameliorates oxidative stress. This can support gut health by improving the health of your gut lining.
Other studies suggest that probiotics may stimulate appetite-reducing hormones, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY). Increased levels of these hormones may help you burn fat and calories.
Because gut health plays such a pivotal role in overall health as well as weight loss, we’ve developed 1UP Gut Health Plus, which features a hand-picked selection of digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics to support digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.
#6 Aim to Lose 0.5-1 Pound Per Week
Quite often, individuals set unrealistic expectations for weight loss. This is usually due to being misled (“lied to”) from self-proclaimed gurus pushing any number of fad diets.
Sure, adopting the fad diet du jour can certainly have you drop lots of “weight” in a few days. But, you’re usually eating so few calories that you can’t possibly sustain it for very long, which invariably leads to frustration, quitting, and plateaus or (worse) weight regain. Moreover, the quality of the weight you lose isn’t that great, it’s largely water and glycogen loss on account of starving yourself of any and all manner of carbohydrates.
A more realistic, healthy, and sustainable goal for which to aim is to lose 0.5-1 pound per week. This rate of weight loss is something you can consistently do without feeling like you’re starving yourself or living in the gym doing endless bouts of cardio and resistance training. Losing weight the slow and steady way also guards against muscle loss, which is important for avoiding the dreaded “skinny fat” look at the end of your diet and it ultimately keeps your metabolism higher while you’re dieting.
#7 Spice Up Your Diet (and Metabolism!)
Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of successful body transformation, as we’ve alluded to countless times before.
What you eat has a direct and tangible effect on your metabolism, and with that in mind, there are certain foods and spices that have been shown to have a beneficial effect on metabolic rate.
Capsaicin, the fiery alkaloid naturally found in chile peppers that gives them their tongue-tingling properties, has been shown to elevate metabolism (independent of exercise) and it’s also been shown to help suppress appetite, providing a dual-pronged benefit for those seeking to lose weight.
Ginger root and Grains of Paradise are two other incredibly popular spices that not only add considerable “pop” to culinary fare for next to no calories, but it also offers intriguing weight loss properties. Specifically, compounds within the pungent spices have been found to increase metabolic rate and reduce hunger in part by stimulating the TRPV1 receptors on brown fat cells, which ratchets up calorie burning!
Other foods to include in your diet that have noted weight loss benefits, include cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and mustard seed.
- Yadav H, Lee JH, Lloyd J, Walter P, Rane SG. Beneficial metabolic effects of a probiotic via butyrate-induced GLP-1 hormone secretion. J Biol Chem. 2013 Aug 30;288(35):25088-25097. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.452516. Epub 2013 Jul 8. PMID: 23836895; PMCID: PMC3757173.