You’re plodding along, you’re eating well, you’re moving like you’ve never moved before, you are- in all respects- doing your best. And by best I mean, if weight loss were a game, you’d be killing it.
And then, the very minute you feel you’ve finally found your footing on the tightly winding road of losing weight, just as soon as you’re consistent in losing week after week after week…
you’re not anymore.
Stepping on the scale and seeing the same number staring defiantly back at you from three weeks ago- it’s frustrating; it’s painful.
The weight loss plateau is every dieter’s nightmare. A lack of progress even when there is no lack of effort.
Unfortunately, for most people plateaus are inevitable. As someone whose 135lb weight loss had quite a few roadblocks of its own, I get it. The truth is-
weight loss isn’t linear even if your calorie consumption is. And this, understandably, can be difficult for people to understand, or at least to accept. It can cause us to take out our frustrations by dismembering an entire safari’s worth of animal crackers, thereby exacerbating our problem.
When dealing with plateaus, what’s important to keep in mind is the idea that there might not be anything wrong. Sometimes the scale doesn’t budge even if you are losing fat, because body weight comprises many things other than fat. Sometimes patience is all that you need. Sometimes you don’t lose an ounce one week and then you lose four the next, all the while eating and moving just the same. But, if you feel an urge to be proactive in trying to get the scale moving for your own sanity, there are a few things you could try.
1. Be honest and diligent in recording everything you are putting into your body.
Measure and weigh your food for a little while. Carefully add up the calories daily and weekly. Be conscious of any oil or sauce you’re adding to food. Often times we may consume more calories than we think, especially while dining out, where chefs are more liberal with oils and butter.
2. Limit sodium and simple carbohydrates.
A diet heavy in sodium and simple carbs (sugar, white bread…) causes water retention which inflates your weight. This won’t affect fat loss but if you just want to see the scale move to help you mentally, this should do the trick.
3. Decrease your calories*
*First, please promise me you’ll never go below 1200 calories per day, and even then, please promise you’ll find a healthy number for you.
As we lose weight, our bodies burn less calories. Your calorie goal at the beginning of your weight loss journey may no longer be sufficient for weight loss. Decrease your calories by 200 a day and see if that works. Again, be very careful not to decrease them too significantly because that could lead to malnourishment, mental/emotional distress, and tremendous hunger.
Above all, try your very best not to stress too much about a plateau. Weight loss is a long process and the number on the scale is a flawed way of keeping score. If you’re sticking to your goals, be confident that things will work out in your favor in the long run.
Have you ever experienced a plateau while losing weight? What’s your advice on breaking through it?