A Doctor Answers: How Do I Break Through a Weight-Loss Plateau?

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Playing What to Do When You've Hit a Weight-Loss Plateau

Everyone knows that eating right and working out are the keys to weight loss … but what about when you think you’re doing all the right things and still can’t drop the final pounds to reach your goal?

That’s the case for viewer Sharon from New York City, who plays tennis twice a week and eats a "clean" diet of lean proteins, like chicken and fish, and goes heavy on the vegetables, too.

"But I just can’t drop those last five to seven pounds!" she says.

Dr. Ian Smith has some tips for Sharon (and anyone else who’s hit a weight-loss plateau): "It's not that you're doing anything wrong," he says. "You need to do different right!"


Dr. Ian introduced us to the fitness pyramid. Like the food pyramid that we all know, the fitness pyramid starts small with simple exercises everyone can do. "As you get more advanced, you want to increase your way down the pyramid," Dr. Ian says.

fitness pyramid
Rachael Ray Show

Walking, yoga, and swimming are all great examples of low-impact exercise and are at the top of the pyramid. (And don’t think you can’t lose weight from these activities, too! Yoga helped this college student lose 80 pounds.)

RELATED: Celeb Trainer Bob Harper On The Surprising Thing That Helped Him Lose 40 Pounds (hint: no cardio!)

The middle tier consists of stretching and foam-rolling, using a firm foam cylinder to stretch and release tension from muscles in the body.

(Watch Dr. Ian and co-host Curtis Stone foam-roll in the video above!)

The third tier of the pyramid is high-intensity interval training. “It’s the best exercise, rather than doing steady, same-time, same-amount,” says Dr. Ian. Examples of HIIT include boxing, spinning or any form of exercise where you perform a burst of intense activity followed by a recovery. You can even do Dr. Ian's HIIT routine at home.

Finally, the base of the pyramid is strength training. According to Dr. Ian, simple exercises, such as dumbbell arm curls, push-ups, and squats can help you lose weight by building muscle.

"When you build up lean muscle mass, you increase your metabolism," he explains.

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