So everything has been rolling along great for months. You’re working out on a regular basis, you’re eating well and your weight is dropping off at a nice steady pace. Everything is going great.
Until one day it’s not.
You have hit a plateau. A plateau is when, despite continuing to exercise, eat healthy and eat less, your weight loss stalls or stops.
This is the point where many people get frustrated and start beating themselves up. They wonder why they are doing all of the hard work and then get nothing. This can be a turning point, a sink or swim moment, for many people on the journey to health and fitness.
When you hit a plateau, first of all, don’t beat yourself up. Negative thoughts don’t do anyone any good. Here are some things I want you to do or consider when you hit that dreaded bump in the road.
- Redefining progress: The scale is just one data point. Have you checked your body fat percentage? How do your clothes feel? How do you feel? Your body may just be changing composition (dropping fat and gaining muscle) causing the scale to stay somewhat stagnant, but causing other things to change in a positive manner.
- Eat more: You read right, eat more. This comes into play if you have been in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time. Your body may have gotten wise to your ways and is trying to conserve fat. Increase your calorie intake for 2-3 weeks to your maintenance level. Keep eating all the clean healthy foods you have been, just eat a little more of them. Then go back to cutting calories after giving your metabolism a break.
- Change your routine: Have you been doing the same workout since you started your journey? If so, it is time to shake things up. Your body adapts quickly, finding the most efficient way to perform an action. Try a new weight routine with new moves and new methods. Or if you love the treadmill, try adding High Intensity Interval Training on the stationary bike instead. If you aren’t lifting weights, start.
- Relax: Stress can cause cortisol levels to rise. In general, this is not good because cortisol encourage fat storage. Try to deal with any stress you may be experiencing or add a new stress relieving activity to your routine like yoga or meditation.
Tell me, how have you powered through your plateaus in the past?