It can be more than frustrating to continue working hard on good nutrition and regular exercise, yet step on the scale at the end of a week only to see the exact same number as the week before. However, when you have a better understanding of the body and healthy weight loss, plateaus take their proper place in the process.
First of all, what is a plateau? If you’re taking your weight and at least 2 to 3 different measurements each week, a plateau is when all of those numbers stay the same.
If you come across a plateau, take a deep breath and remember that healthy weight loss takes time; it is defined as an average loss of 1-2 lbs per week. However, if a person has more weight to lose, they may see bigger results for a while before their body levels off to 1-2 lbs per week. It is important to know that people who lose weight at a healthy rate are much more likely to keep the weight off long-term.
When you come across a true plateau, here are four tips to help you break through it:
Mix up your exercise
If you’ve consistently been doing the same thing for exercise, your body has likely adjusted to your routine and learned to conserve energy while doing those particular activities. To help break through a plateau, change up your routine. If you’ve been walking for exercise, try riding a bike. Try a new exercise video or class at the gym. If you continue with some of the same activities as before, intensify your efforts. If you haven’t been doing any exercise to build muscle, consider incorporating some resistance training.
Focus on good sleep
Sleep matters when it comes to weight loss, sleep impacts your hormones, and hormones impact weight loss. An average of 7-8 hours a night is ideal. If you’ve been getting less than that, or if you often wake up not feeling rested, try to make a greater effort. Set a goal to begin getting ready for bed at a certain time so that you will be able to get a minimum of 7 hours a night.
Manage your stress levels
Stress levels also impact hormone levels, which again, affect your ability to lose weight. If you can cut out or cut back on any time commitments that aren’t top priority, that would be a first step. After that, work on better managing your stress by activities such as: writing in a journal, a weekly yoga class, meditation, etc.
Continue doing what you’re doing
The body resists weight loss, as it is designed for survival. So plateaus can be a normal part of weight loss. If what you have been doing for weeks at a time has produced consistent results, keep going! It’s possible that you will see the changes you’re looking for in a matter of days.
Remember that there is no deadline for your weight loss goal. When you lose weight at a healthy rate, you are more likely to keep it off. So keep going at a healthy pace, and you will accomplish your goals!