We've all been there.
You want to lose 10 or 20 pounds. You pick a diet plan and do your homework. You go shopping and buy all the right stuff. You get on the scale every single day, buck naked, for the best possible results. You watch as the pounds drop, quickly at first, then more slowly. And then...nothing.
You've hit a plateau.
You're still doing everything right. You visit the gym the same number of times per week. You still count calories or carbs or points. You still hop on that scale with your fingers crossed, holding your breath, but a week or more goes by and there is zero change. What happened?
Our bodies have a strong propensity to return to a set point. When we lose weight, we are trying to shift to a new set point. But our bodies tend to resist. So when we lose weight, things usually slow down and become more challenging as we get closer and closer to our goal weight.
This is NORMAL. This is not a disaster, although it can definitely be frustrating! What steps can we take to move the process forward and get our weight loss back on track?
1) Track calories. I don't know about you, but as I lose weight, I tend to get sloppy. I figure I'm doing the right things, and I often drop the ball on counting my calories. Picking up the ball means returning to using a calorie counting app like My Fitness Pal or Cron-o-meter. I know when I log absolutely every morsel that enters my mouth, I'm much less likely to stuff handfuls of chips in there.
2) Track water. Water is your best friend when you want to lose weight. Water has zero calories, fills the belly, reduces hunger, helps your digestive system function more effectively, helps your muscles work properly, basically keeps every bodily system running smoothly. If you're exercising and sweating in the heat, make sure you replace all the water you lose PLUS all the electrolytes.
3) Track sleep. Losing sleep creates stress, raises cortisol levels, and promotes weight gain. This is the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve. Sleep is a key factor in keeping weight loss on track, so quit burning the midnight oil and get at least 7-8 hours per night. You might even need more!
4) Track exercise. This is a tricky one. Too much exercise can be just as damaging as too little when it comes to weight loss. Exercise is a form of stress. We need SOME stress, but not excess stress. If you are exhausted, sick, injured, depressed, anxious, or just constantly sore, you may be overtraining. Cut back and replace a few of your intense exercise sessions with something more calming and relaxing. Try yoga, qi gong, paddleboarding, kayaking, bicycling, or walking. See if less turns out to be more when it comes to exercise.
5) Track mood. Low blood sugar is definitely a downer, when it comes to mood. Eating refined carbs, even if you are sticking to a low calorie diet, could be the culprit. Refined carbs tend to cause a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash. Mood swings, cravings, and binges can result! Try consuming more high quality protein and fats instead. These foods will keep you satiated and help to stabilize both blood sugar and mood.
If you need support on your weight loss journey, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I'm happy to assist in overcoming the dreaded weight loss plateau! Leave me a message if you're in the market for a weight loss coach.