Ready to scream and pull your hair out wondering how in the world do I break through weight loss plateaus?
photo credit: paris_corrupted
It’s a question many people ask and I have some ideas to share so you might be able to overcome or even avoid the dreaded weight loss plateau!
Let me first start by recommending that you STOP focusing so much on the scale. The numbers on the scale might not be moving but your body is still changing if you are exercising and following a healthy lifestyle! You are most likely building muscle as you workout which could cause the numbers on the scale to go up but don’t worry about that, it’s normal. The scale can really tear you down and the more time you spend sweating bullets over whether you have gained or stayed the same, every week or for some every day the more frustrating it gets and leaves you less excited about your new healthy lifestyle. Every month at the gym I do a weigh in and get measurements taken. I highly recommend that you keep tabs on your measurements because THAT in the long run will show you how much you have accomplished.
One thing that could be happening to cause you to hit a weight loss plateau is that you might be working the same body parts and not changing up your workouts enough. Your body gets used to you doing the same things over and over. If you are only walking right now you might want to add in some quick jogs or sprints or if you take classes at the gym, try a new one for a while. Maybe you prefer to use the treadmill so you could hop on do a quick 2 minute fast walk/run, hop off, do some jumping jacks, maybe a few stretch band exercises for your legs and then hop back on the treadmill for more running or bump up the incline and walk a higher incline for a few minutes. Another thing you could do is start using hand weights on your treadmill walks. The goal is to change things up!
The thing that recently got me over the hump was signing up for personal training and focusing a lot on strength training. It doesn’t matter if you have a personal trainer or not because you can still add strength training to your daily activity. And you’ll be glad you did!
Now don’t get me wrong, it IS possible to exercise too much and that could also play a big part in a plateau as well so just be cautious of this.
Now on to food: When it comes to eating, you really want to focus on portion control and what types of foods you eat and beware of the little things that sneak in there like that little taste here and there. Be sure to drink a good amount of water so you stay hydrated throughout the day. You want to make sure that you are taking in enough calories each day. I have heard many people say it’s OK to eat under 1000 calories a day and I do not agree with that. Everyone is definitely different and it really depends on your body and how much you should personally consume. Don’t skip any meals and don’t go too long between meals and snacks. Doing so can really hinder your weight loss and you’ll be sure to hit that weight loss plateau. Keeping a food journal in the past helped me so you might want to think about that option.
I know it’s frustrating when things don’t seem to be moving in the direction you feel they should be but don’t give up. Mix things up and keep going!
Have you ever hit a weight loss plateau and if so what is your #1 tip for avoiding them?
Side note: If you have hit a weight loss plateau and can’t seem to break through, it is possible that there could be a potential health issue so you’ll want to check with your physician.
I hit plateaus all the time it seems. When that happens it is usually because I’m comfortable with where I’m at in my exercise routine. I’m not pushing myself anymore. I’m currently running as my exercise. So when I hit that plateau I strive for 5 more minutes on my run or try to increase my pace.
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Thanks for sharing your tips, Courtney. Very helpful and I like the 5 more minute rule. Good one!
This is a good post, Angie!
I hate being obsessed with scales, so I have stubbornly refused to weigh myself at all. 😉
It is difficult to focus on the right things when you are making a lifestyle change.
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Thanks Satu! I think when people rely heavily on the scale it really brings them down when they don’t see a change there. There are much more important things than the scale in living a healthy lifestyle.