So you’ve started on a weight loss journey, dropped some weight but now, the scale has stopped moving. Your initial inclination might be to feel dismayed about the current lack of progress and it may feel like you’re going backward but don’t worry it’s all part of the process. Almost everyone who tries to lose weight experiences a similar plateau even though they are doing all the things that led to their success in the first place.
Here are 5 tips that you can try and utilize to spark some progress once again in your journey:
- Remind yourself how far you’ve come
One of the best ways to remind yourself how far you’ve come, and something we’ve talked about on this blog before, is to give yourself visual examples (aka your old selfies). This is one of the best methods to motivate yourself because you quickly forget the nuances of what your body looked like a couple months ago, and you start to feel like you haven’t changed much. Take a look at your old photos and really see how much your body has changed. I promise you’ll notice something, so clearly, you’ve been doing something right. The plateau will end as long as you just stick with your routine and keep pushing through.
- Be open with yourself about your habits
This requires you to take a long hard look at yourself and be honest about if you’ve gone back to some of your not as productive old habits. Look at how your activity levels were these last couple of weeks and if you’ve been hitting your fitness goals. Make sure you track some or all of your meals and snacks on Meta Nutrition. Random 100-400 calories here and there might not seem like it’ll make a difference but it adds up because we tend to underestimate how much we’ve eaten. Random snacks or handfuls of foods that we eat tend to get forgotten and rarely get represented in your food journal, it adds up. Most of us get the portion sizes wrong, I think we all know we end up eating bigger sizes than suggested. Finally, are you tracking your drinks too? The calories in drinks definitely pile on.
- Calculate your calorie goal
Your body is going to react in funky ways, like slowing down your metabolism, if you don’t fuel it properly. Being in a caloric deficit needs to be done strategically and not just a complete elimination of all your intake. You need to cut roughly 200-400 below your maintenance calories to safely lose weight. After you’ve started losing weight that’s when you need to make additional adjustments like adding some exercises or lowering your daily caloric goal. Dropping an additional 100 calories, or burning 200 more can get you over past the plateau and get going with the weight loss again.
- The diet and exercise routine need to change
As we started discussing in the paragraph above, your body starts to get acclimated to your new caloric intake and exercise routine so you need to switch it up on yourself. Find similar but new exercises to perform, maybe try some new nonworkout workouts, hit new muscle groups in the weight room, types of sets, etc… Then we come to the diet, you can try changing what diet you’re adhering to, which is important if you are struggling to maintain your eating habits, but more importantly, you need to try decreasing your caloric intake just slightly, or even give your body a break, increase the calories for a few days and trick your body into thinking that is the new norm again. You will adjust then you can drop the calories once again and you should see progress!
- Remind yourself why you started in the first place
Hitting a plateau can be one of the most difficult parts of the process and can make you feel like giving up. You need to remember why you are doing this in the first place, I hope it’s for yourself first and foremost, but I’m sure there are other factors. Remind yourself of those reasons and use that to dig deep and keep on going. The path to weight loss is not a linear one and that’s okay, as long as you keep going you will achieve your goals.