September 04, 2001

From Health magazine
Scale stuck? Having trouble sticking to your exercise plan? Here are three ways to bust your plateaus and get back on track.

Distract yourself
Find ways to make exercise a little more thrilling. Rent the entire season of a favorite TV show, and only let yourself watch it while you're on the treadmill or stationary bike. “Or listen to educational podcasts and audio books,” fitness expert Geralyn Coopersmith says. “You can ‘read great books, learn a foreign language, listen to motivational giants.” If youre exercise-multitasking, you might even find yourself working out longer (hello, busted plateau!).

Go on “maintenance” for a week
Were not saying to completely abandon your healthy eating habits, but let go of the pressure to be perfect for a set period. “Sometimes just the very act of freeing yourself from an all-or-nothing mind-set is the thing that will get you over the hump,” Judith S. Beck, PhD, says.

Drink nothing but H2O
Beverages, with their empty (and quickly consumed) calories, are often another culprit in the plateau wars, Sharon Richter, MS, RD, says. Keep it simple and natural: water, water, water. Even diet soda may cause weight gain—artificial sugars can trigger your sweet tooth and increase sweet cravings.

Change up your playlist
If you work out with music, the same old tunes day after day could be bringing down your exercise intensity—even if you don't consciously realize it. Reload your MP3 player with a new playlist, or propose an iPod swap the next time you go on a group walk or run. (A friend's taste in music may help you discover great new workout songs!) Or surf the web for inexpensive workout podcasts; the site Techno Sweat, for example, has free downloads categorized by fitness activity and beats per minute.