There are few things more frustrating in weight loss than a plateau. Those weeks (or even months) when you’ve been working really hard to create that healthy lifestyle you so crave but the scale is just not showing! Usually you find that you gain and lose the same couple of pounds every week and the more it happens the more frustrated and pissed off you get.
I’ve plateaued several times in my weight loss journey so I guess you could say I know a thing or two about getting over the hump and I thought I’d share with you my best tips that you can try to get your weight moving in the right direction!
Please keep in mind that one week does not equal a plateau! Every body is different and some weeks, for whatever reason whether it be too much sodium, sugar or just your hormones, your body may hold on to some weight or even gain a bit but it usually starts heading back down after a week or so. You know you’ve plateaued when you’ve been doing everything you did before that worked to lose weight for a month or more and you’ve stopped seeing results.
When you think you’ve reached a plateau it’s time to start experimenting to see what could be going on, be patient with yourself during this process and try one or a combination of all of these tips:
Eat More (or less)
- If you’re not tracking your calories, this could really be your issue. You may be eating too much or not enough. I plateaued for the first time when I was about 45lbs into my weight loss. Up until then I hadn’t been tracking but I decided to track my food for the week to see if there was something off. Low and behold, my calories were fine but I was getting little to no fat OR protein! So I started to incorporate healthier fats into my diet (avocados, nuts, etc.) and voila! the weight began to come off. Now I find that if I’m not tracking, I stop losing. I also found that if I eat only 1200 calories a day, I don’t lose weight but when I added 100 – 200 extra calories into my day, the weight started coming off again. So start tracking and if you are already, try adding 100 – 200 calories, if that doesn’t work, go in the opposite direction (just don’t go under 1200 calories per day).
Re-evaluate your goals
- I plateaued again when I was at 70lbs lost. In fact, I stopped losing for months and when I decided that enough was enough, I had a good talk with myself. Turns out, I lost motivation and I lost it because I actually achieved the goal I set out to achieve when I started my weight loss! My goal was to get healthier and at that point I was the healthiest I’d ever been! So I sat myself down and came up with a new goal to see me through the rest of my weight loss. Guess what? I started losing again! If you haven’t asked yourself why you want to lose weight, ask yourself that now. The goal of losing weight in and of itself, oddly enough, is rarely ever enough motivation to see you through. There needs to be a reason why you want to lose that weight. Ask yourself this and watch your motivation grow and your weight shrink!
Spice up your workouts
- This is huge! Doing the same workout day in and day out, even if it helped you to lose weight up until now, will eventually cause you to plateau. Your body is amazingly adaptable and it will adapt to this new workout and as it does, it just assumes that this is a part of your new lifestyle and adjusts to it. If you’ve been eating right and working up a sweat 3 – 4 days a week, it’s time to spice things up! Try a new workout that you’ve been curious about like spin class or Zumba! This will kickstart your metabolism and get that weight moving again. This is why, although running has been instrumental to my weight loss over the last few years, I decided to take a break from it this year. It was no longer helping me to lose weight (but it did help me to maintain) so I decided to put it on the back burner for a bit and started focusing on other workouts (I’m obsessed with TurboFire these days). When I switched, my weight loss started again! Ideally, you’ll either want to try a new workout or make your workouts more intense, every 3 – 4 weeks for best results.
Be honest with yourself
- This is a big one. If you’re not writing down what it is you’re eating, I can guarantee that either your portions are off or you’re eating things you don’t realize you’re eating. If you are tracking and you’ve plateaued ask yourself if you’re truly tracking it all. No, you don’t need to track most vegetables because the calorie content is so small but if you’re not tracking the butter you put on your toast or your salad dressing this is a huge mistake because they may be small amounts but those small amounts contain a HUGE caloric punch. Are you honestly giving it your all in your workouts? Did you conveniently forget the full bag of chips you ate on Wednesday? Be honest with yourself and your efforts! I would love to say that the weight gain I experienced a month ago was a fluke but I knew it wasn’t. I had eaten out four days that week, worked out only 3 days (as opposed to my usual 5) and those meals were heavily laden with cheese. Being honest with myself, I knew it would come back to bite me and it did. You can try lying to yourself about just how much of that chocolate Easter bunny you ate but your body won’t!
Get your hormones checked
- If all else fails and you’ve been tracking your food, you’ve adjusted your calories, you’re busting your ass with new workouts and you still aren’t losing weight, it’s time to see your doctor and get your hormone levels checked. Your hormones have everything to do with your metabolism and if your hormones are out of whack, so will your weight! So if you are being honest with yourself, get your hormone levels checked out to see if there is any discrepancy or talk to your nutritionist about what might be going on. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until this last month that I really started to take hormones seriously when I discovered that my thyroid was out of whack and now I’m actively working on getting it back in balance.
Photo Credit: Wellsphere