You’ve been working out and watching what you eat for a long time, and have shed a significant amount of weight. But now, you seem to be stuck! Several week’s have gone by with little to no change in your weight. What is going on?! The dreaded plateau!
Let’s face it, plateaus are frustrating and sometimes depressing!! But rest assured, they are normal, and they CAN be broken. The most important thing you need in facing a plateau is PATIENCE. I know that when we have a goal in mind, we want the fastest results. And for most of us, the initial weight loss seemed pretty quick and easy. But as your body starts to get closer to it’s goal, the weight loss will slow down or even hault. Why is this?
Typically there are four major reasons for a weight loss plateau:
1. You just don’t have a well balanced program including nutrition, cardio exercise and strength training. One or more of these components is missing. This is a rather simple thing to fix. Find where your program is lacking, and add in the necessary component. For example, you do cardio 3 days a week and strength train 2 days a week, but you don’t really follow any nutritional guidelines. The fix would be to start a healthy nutrition plan for losing weight.
2. You have been doing the same nutrition and/or exercise program for a prolonged period of time. This is also usually a simple fix. Change things up! Add weight or reps to your strength training exercises and reverse the order in which you do them, split your cardio into two smaller sessions per day, or simply start a new exercise program all together. If you are a calorie counter, try zig-zagging your calories – eating the same number of calories a week, but more on one day and less on another to confuse your body.
3. You are not honest with yourself about how well you eat. An easy way to fix this is to start a food journal. Record EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth along with the calories. This will give you insight into areas you may not even realize you are cheating on. You may actually find that you are not eating enough to lose weight! I believe that journaling is an essential part of the weight loss process.
4. You have already tried steps 1-3 and you still aren’t losing weight! This is typically do to overtraining. Give yourself a week off. For one week, skip your workouts and do not record your food. Don’t worry, one week is not going to derail all the work you have done up to this point. Sometimes our bodies just need a break, especially if we are training vigorously and following a strict nutrition plan!
If you have done all 4 of these steps and the scale still isn’t moving, then you really have to rely on PATIENCE. Knowing that you are doing all the right things, be confident that when your body is ready, the scale will start to move again! In the meantime, take regular measurements to see changes in muscle and tone and clothing size. Because sometimes the scale really does lie! Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP!
If you are struggling with a plateau, I’d love to help you break through. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org