Q: I was losing weight steadily and so happy about it. But for the last two weeks the scale will not budge. How do I break through this plateau?
A: First off, great job at your steady weight loss. And also, way to not give in to this plateau. For as frustrating as they are, plateaus are actually a very normal part of most people’s weight loss journeys. It’s usually your body getting used to what is often referred to as a new “set-point” weight. Set-point is a way to describe the new weight at which your body is functioning — your “new normal”. Occasionally your body will want to stall at your “new normal” for a bit. But this stall will be broken with consistent exercise and smart food choices. Follow these tips and you’ll get through this plateau and be on your way to your goal weight!
1. Don’t give up: People often lose motivation at this point, but it’s the very time that staying consistent with the healthy changes you’ve already made will make all the difference in whether you keep losing successfully. Make a list of all of the positive changes so far, and the reasons you want to keep moving forward, and read the list often.
2. Tighten up: At the very time you might feel like completely throwing in the towel, we’re asking you to do the opposite — push even harder at your healthy eating and exercise routine. Remind yourself of your goals each day, plan your weekly meals/snacks out on the weekends and pre-prep food, and schedule in workouts like any other important meeting you have.
3. Keep detailed food records: We know, we know, it’s a pain and you don’t have time. The truth is, it takes effort, but once you start, it becomes second nature. And it’s also SO worth the awesome results. Whether you use an app, a notebook, a Word document, or an ongoing email to yourself, write down every single thing you eat/drink, the time, and note on your stress level and/or the situation you were in. For example: “1pm, 1/4 cup almonds, sitting at my desk and soooo hungry for lunch, but waiting for a conference call.” Food records let you see patterns, both positive and negative, so you can continue to nourish the positive patterns and find ways to change the negative ones.
4. Look at where you can add excitement: Have you been eating the same thing for the last three months? Doing the exact same workout every. single. day. Spice it up! Sign up for a new class at the gym (Ask a friend to join you, if you’re feeling shy.) Grab a healthy eating magazine at the grocery store and clip recipes, or look up recipes online at www.self.com, www.cjnutrition.com, www.eatingwell.com, www.bumblebee.com, www.cookinglight.com.
5. Take an honest, deep look at what might be holding you up: Sometimes, weight loss is simply a matter of eating less and exercising more. But more often than not, it has a deeper level — the WHY of what caused you to eat more and exercise less in the first place. When you address that deeper level — asking those sometimes very tough questions — you might find that food and exercise (and weight loss) fall into place. Taking a close look at our family relationships, career, friendships, and any other relationship in our lives is not a simple task, but we guarantee it’s a powerful and very necessary one. Try journaling for just 5 minutes each day — about anything that’s on your mind — and go from there.
Have you ever hit a weight loss plateau? Did you follow these same tips? Any tips to add?