Don’t Give Up: How I Overcame A Frustrating Weight-Loss Plateau
If you’ve ever worked out consistently, eaten better, and finally found yourself losing weight, you know how accomplished you feel as you notice your body slimming down, changing for the better. But if you’ve kept up that hard work only to find your weight loss progress stalled for reasons you can’t figure out, the feeling then becomes one of discouragement. So many people hit a plateau after successful weight loss. When that happens, it can be just the excuse some need to give up and go back to the days of fast food and opting for the couch instead of the great outdoors. I know because I’ve been there.
After hitting a plateau for more than a month and feeling like crap about it, I decided I needed to change things up. When I did, that’s when I was finally able to start losing weight again. Here’s what had to shift in order for me to see the results I knew I had been working hard for:
Change Your Mindset
Don’t begin to doubt yourself and doubt that you’ll reach your goals. The reality is that the hard work you’ve been doing is part of the reason you’re plateauing. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you lose weight, you can lose both fat and muscle. Because muscle boosts your metabolic rate, burning more calories, as you lose weight and muscle your metabolism can dip. When that happens, you may see yourself burning fewer calories than before when you were at a bigger size. Slow metabolism equals to a decrease in your weight loss, even if you’ve kept up with the calories recommended by your MyFitnessPal profile that initially helped you drop pounds. As the Mayo Clinic put it, “To lose more weight, you need to either increase your physical activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.”
Make Your Own Food
As in, cook healthier, smaller food options at your home and take the leftovers in for lunch the next day. When you bring in meals for work regularly, you can avoid the temptation to buy the greasy slices at the pizzeria down the street, the heavy servings of rice, bread and other carbs at different restaurants, and even more importantly, save some money and some calories each day.
Drop A Few Things From Your Diet Temporarily–Or Permanently
Also, cooking your own food will let you know what’s going in it and help with those calories. That way, you can avoid foods heavy in salts (which can bloat you and cause water weight), and opt for healthier options in general. When I slowed up on my intake of carbs and tried to have greens with every meal (a salad or spinach), had more fruit and avoided my triggers, I felt lighter and started to see a shift on the scale once again.
Increase Your Physical Activity
Sure, that means that you could increase the amount of time you spend in the gym or hitting the pavement for a run, but really, it also means that you should be more active outside the gym. Making a better effort to get up and get moving during the workday, walking up or down stairs instead of taking an elevator, getting off of public transportation a little early so you can have a nice walk home on a pleasant day, all of these things can help you burn more calories.
Drink More Water
Again, I do my best to try and get at least 1.5 liters in if I can’t do two liters in a day. Why? Not only is the stuff great for your skin (which I’m always looking to improve), but, according to Shape, water flushes out excess sodium, and drinking water before eating meals helps people consume less.