Losing weight takes time and patience and sometimes it can feel like it’s an uphill battle. In the beginning, you were rocking it – every time you stepped on the scale, you were down a few pounds. But then, your progress begins to slow and eventually, you stop dropping weight at all. You’ve hit the dreaded weight loss plateau. Don’t panic. This is a normal part of weight loss. But there are things you can do to crest the weight loss plateau.
- Portion Your Food – If you’ve stopped seeing weight loss results, you should pay more attention to portion control. First, find out how much you should actually be eating. For example, a serving of beef is 3 ounces (roughly the size of a deck of cards) and a serving of ice cream is half a cup (tennis ball size). Be sure you are eating the proper portions. Measure your portions for a while. Once you get used to a normal portion size, you can go back to eyeballing your portions.
- Fewer “Rewards” – If you stuck with your diet and exercise goals for the week, do you usually “reward” yourself with a treat? Even if you run a few extra miles to compensate, the reward usually far exceeds the extra calories you expended. Those excess calories will stack up quickly. If you eat a 500-calorie treat several times a week, that could add up to an extra day’s worth of calories. That can lead to a weight loss plateau. Instead of eating a huge bowl of ice cream because you earned it, choose smaller portions of treats you truly love. One piece of decadent dark chocolate after lunch or one scoop of your favorite ice cream after dinner.
- Track Your Activity – Maybe you’re not as active as you think you are. Often when starting a new workout routine, you experience something called, “compensatory inactivity.” That means you might be exercising more, but you’re actually moving less throughout your day. This is where fitness trackers can be really handy. Keeping track of your steps, stairs and more will keep moving throughout the day. Try to avoid coming home after a workout and plopping down on the couch.
- Carefully Refuel – Working out more is going to make you hungry – even ravenous at times. But refueling properly is important. Stopping to grab a burger and fries on your way home from the gym will undo any progress you made while there. Try having a light snack prior to working out, so you’re not as hungry afterward. An apple or small handful of almonds will do the trick. If your workout time is typically before a meal, try drinking a glass of water before eating to fill your stomach a bit. It can help you avoid overeating at your next meal.
Remember a weight loss plateau is normal. But knowing what’s causing the lag in progress is key. On your weight loss journey, it’s always good to stop and evaluate how things are going. Keeping a journal can be a positive way to help you reach your goals or identify areas in which you can improve. You can crest that weight loss plateau.