You’re working hard to eat clean and exercise, but you’ve stopped seeing results from your efforts. The scale won’t budge. You put on your jeans and they still seem snug. Frustrated, you can’t figure out what’s wrong. You want to see proof of your dedication to a healthy lifestyle when you step on that scale, but the numbers just aren’t moving. Before you give up and tell yourself nothing’s working, realize that what you’re experiencing is a common problem and even has a name—a weight loss plateau! The good news? There are tons of ways to get back on track and continue to see progress. Here are 13 tips to break through your weight loss plateau today.
1. Use A Food Journal
Maybe you tell yourself you’ve continued to eat healthy lately, but when you write down your last few meals, you notice a pattern of too much salt, sugar, or an additional, unnecessary serving. You don’t have to beat yourself up with negative thoughts—just take an honest look at your choices. Are you snacking too much late at night? Are you drinking your calories, like soda? Do you always say yes to the birthday cake at the office? Changing some of the small decisions you make daily can really get you back on track with weight loss. This is why food journals are so successful at helping people lose weight, because it’s a method to keep you super aware of your choices.
2. Don’t Keep Temptations In The House
Are you creating an environment that support your weight loss goals or is it temptation-central at your house? It’s easier to choose healthy options when they’re all around you. Don’t set yourself up to go to battle with your willpower in your own kitchen. Weed out the junk and fill your fridge and pantry with healthy, real foods. It’s easier to cave and binge on junk food when it’s sitting on the top shelf of your cupboard than it is when you have to drive in your car and physically take yourself to the grocery store to pick up a late-night pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Set yourself up for success and leave the temptations outside of the house.
3. Enlist A Workout Buddy
Changing your habits can be hard, which is why finding support is so crucial. There’s no need to go it alone! Choose a workout buddy who will meet up for a walk, jog, or bike session once a week. Continue with your other workouts during the week, but use your joint session as a way to stay on track and be willing to be held accountable. Working out can be more fun with someone else, plus the element of a little friendly competition (how many steps did you get on your FitBit today?!) can be motivating.
4. Renew Your WHY
I always talk about your “WHY” for weight loss and getting fit. Is it to live a longer, healthier life? To wake up with more energy? To fit into your favorite pair of jeans? Your WHY is personal to you, but without it, it’s easy to veer off track and lose motivation. There’s that saying, “when you think of quitting, remember why you started.” Renew your commitment to your WHY and write it down. Post your WHY somewhere you’ll see it every single day.
5. Manage Stress Levels
You might not think your mindset affects your waistline, but it can. Believe it or not, chronic stress has been linked to excess belly fat. When your body produces too much cortisol (the stress hormone), it sends a “fight or flight” signal to your brain, and it causes many physical side affects, from sweaty palms to other symptoms of panic. But another thing it does is tell your body to hold onto more visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that gets built up around your organs, making it more unhealthy than subcutaneous fat, which is the fat that’s stored under your skin. Excess visceral fat can often appear as excess belly fat; so if you’re having trouble whittling your middle, you might want to try managing your stress levels with meditation, yoga, or other methods in addition to diet and exercise. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
6. Join an Online Community
The reason I started Get Healthy U TV is because I wanted everyone to have access to convenient, effective workouts they can do at home. We are a positive online community filled with people just like you who have seen the ups and downs of their fitness journey and gotten back on track by signing up for this awesome community. You’ll be more likely to make it to your workouts if they can be done in the comfort of your own home—anytime, anywhere. Get motivation, meal planing help, and new workouts to keep you on your toes. Plus, we’ve got tons of 28-day workout calendars to keep you on track: when you feel yourself losing steam, start a new calendar that gives you a clear-cut plan of which workouts to do each day.
7. Strength Train
A lot of people think cardio is where the real weight loss happens. Yes, cardio burns calories. But you know what takes your calorie burn up a notch? Having more muscle! Cardio is essential to get your heart rate up, but you also need to build and maintain your muscles because muscle mass diminishes with age and lack of use. Plus, muscles are the secret to a revved up metabolism and can burn calories even while your body is at rest. There are multiple ways to build your muscles, so find one you like: free weights, weight-lifting machines, resistance bands, or use the weight of your own body and do some—squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and pull-ups.
8. HIIT It Hard
Ok, maybe we sound like a broken record by now, but HIIT training is THE way to go if you want to lose weight. Steady state cardio and strength training are a great base, but to really jumpstart your weight loss, you need to incorporate high intensity interval training into your weekly routine. HIIT uses intervals or short bursts of all-out effort, followed by brief moments of rest, to burn more fat and push your limits. With HIIT workouts, you get a greater “afterburn,” meaning you burn more calories even after you’re done working out than you would from a cardio workout. Cardio is still very important for weight loss, but you need to give yourself a boost by adding HIIT workouts twice a week, too.
9. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is such an underrated part of weight loss. When you’re overly tired, two key hormones in your body get thrown out of whack: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the chemical in your body that tells you when you’re full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels decrease and you start to feel like you’re in a state of constant hunger. Ghrelin is another hormone, and its purpose is the opposite: to tell your body when to eat. When you’re sleep deprived, this hormone spikes. So you have two hormones that should be balanced that are now completely out of whack, sending signals to your brain to continuously eat because your body’s not full. You’ve heard it time and time again, but it hasn’t stopped being true: your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night—not just for your health, but to get to a healthy weight, too!
10. Get Your Hormones Checked
Fluctuating hormones can sometimes be to blame for stubborn pounds that just won’t budge. Especially in menopause, estrogen imbalances can cause your metabolism to slow down (among a host of other not-so-fun side affects). Your estrogen, insulin, cortisol, and leptin can all affect your weight; talk to your doctor about getting these four key hormones checked and use this guide to balancing your hormones to learn the role they play in weight loss.
11. Reframe Your Thinking
What are your thoughts about weight loss and your ability to achieve it? It sounds “woo-woo,” but you really do get what you focus on. If your thoughts are defeatist, you will be defeated. If you think positively, you will be positive and most importantly, you will persevere. Empower yourself with healthy thoughts that support your goals.
12. Add Variety To Your Workouts
Maybe you found an exercise you like and you are sticking to it. Awesome! But you still have to mix up your workouts. If you want results, you have to surprise your body now and then; it gets used to forms of exercise it does repeatedly. Try a new type of workout to keep your body guessing, or mix up the duration of your workouts. Afraid to try something new? Check out all of our Beginner’s Guides! You may just find you’re a fan of spin class, swimming, or Pilates!
13. Up Your Intensity
Are you working out at an intensity that requires a little heavy breathing? Are you sweating? Are you really focusing to make the most of your workout or are you skating through? If you are flipping through a magazine while you workout, your body could benefit from an increase in intensity and focus—just saying! Bring a little more intensity to your next sweat session and you might just start to see more results.
Before you know it, you will blast through your plateau and your ultimate goal will be in sight! P.S. If you are looking for a change in your workout routine, workout with me at Get Healthy U TV!