When you're losing weight, you're likely losing muscle as well as fat. This is especially true if you're decreasing your daily calorie intake but not adding strength building activities to your day.
Because muscle burns five times as many calories as fat, muscle loss slows your metabolism and can bring weight loss to a halt. The best way to counter this is to increase your activity, most importantly weight bearing activities that build and maintain muscle, such as yoga and light weight training.
As an example, if you lose weight by decreasing your calorie intake alone, you might lose 25% of your muscle mass and 75% of your fat mass. This muscle loss would slow down your metabolism significantly. On the other hand, if you lose weight through a decrease in calories along with strength building activities, you might lose a mere 5% muscle mass and 95% fat mass. This would cause much less of a slow down of your metabolism.
For detailed instructions on how to lose weight without losing muscle, causing your metabolism to slow and weight loss to stall, you can't do better than Tom Venuto's book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. In fact, that's the whole point of the book, how to burn fat without losing muscle.
Perhaps you're not quite ready to work out with the crowd at the gym, or can't afford the membership dues. The Gym-E-Trainer At Home Exercise Guide is a DVD that allows you to begin exercising at home using any of a variety of different methods, and it comes with a free, personalized workout routine constructed for you by the author.
Cut some calories, build some muscle, and lose the weight!
Megan Porter, RD