10 Tips To Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau
Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows how discouraging it is once you lose the first 10 pounds but can’t seem to shed the rest. You get stuck in a rut, and even though you keep doing the same things that worked last week, they don’t seem to be working for you anymore.
You might try doing something more drastic like eating even less or exercising even more, but that’s only good for another pound or two – and then you’re stuck again. So what do you do?
1. Make sure you don’t get bored with your diet.
One of the main reasons that people fall off the diet wagon is because they don’t have enough food choices. If you restrict what you eat that far, you won’t have anything you like, and you’ll start sneaking snacks and bites of things you really shouldn’t be eating.
Don’t reach for that candy bar! Instead, spend some real time at the grocery, looking around at what’s offered and finding the best choices for you, so you’ll have a wider selection of options to pick from. It can help keep your diet on track because you won’t have to give up everything you like.
2. Make your choices realistic.
If you tell yourself that you have to diet and then cut out everything you like to eat, you’re not being realistic. The best way to ‘diet’ is not to diet at all, but to cut down on your caloric intake and modify your eating habits to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
Eat low-fat ice cream instead of the regular kind, wheat bread instead of white, and baked potato chips instead of fried ones. These are very simple things to do, but they go a long way toward reducing how many calories and how much fat you’re taking in.
That means that you can still eat the things you like, and you can eat almost as much of them as you used to. You should still lose weight, especially if you get a little exercise, too.
3. Remember to zig-zag.
One of the problems with weight loss is that your body adapts to the new exercise and caloric level fairly quickly. Then it stops losing weight. Instead of limiting yourself to 1800 calories a day, for example, have 1500 calories one day and 2100 calories the next day.
Some people zig-zag on a weekly instead of a daily basis, but that can be dangerous and lead to ‘pigging out’ in the week when you eat more calories. Daily zig-zagging is safer and reduces that chance. You can also zig-zag your workouts so you don’t do the same thing each day. Your body will get used to that, too.
4. Don’t make your math ‘fuzzy.’
It can be so easy to miscalculate how many calories you take in and how many you’re burning with the work that you do during your daily exercise routine.
Be honest with yourself. Calories can come from a lot of places that you might really not notice, such as salad dressings and other condiments. You have to count the dressing you put on that salad or the mayonnaise on your sandwich if you want to be honest and truthful about caloric intake.
5. Get more protein.
If you don’t already get 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight each day, give that a try – but try not to go higher than that amount; it can actually be bad for you. If you shift some of the carbohydrate and fat calories that you normally get over to protein calories, evidence shows that you might be able to get past that plateau and get your weight loss going again.
6. Don’t cut your calories down too much.
When you ingest fewer calories, your body slows its metabolic rate to compensate for the fact that it’s not getting enough food. You can’t lose fat that way and it makes you hungry all the time.
If you know your calorie mantenance level, you can go just slightly under that and continue to lose weight. If you go too far below that level your body will just slow down and you’ll be tired all the time instead of losing those pounds.
It might sound like some hokey, new-age mumbo-jumbo, but it’s not. If you picture yourself healthy and fit and thin, and if you keep a positive attitude about your weight loss even when things get difficult, you have a higher chance of succeeding. This is true even if your weight loss goals are big or even if you’ve hit a plateau that you’re having trouble shaking.
8. Know that you’re normal.
That might be hard for you to get comfortable with, but weight loss plateaus really are normal. You’ll lose weight for a while and then you’ll hit a place where you don’t lose weight. Then you’ll start losing weight again. It’s normal and to be expected, and if you panic about it you might end up sabotaging your weight loss goals or giving up on them without really meaning to or understanding why.
You have to relax and assess whether anything has changed, being really open and honest with yourself. If you do that, you can continue to succeed and you won’t have to worry so much about it. Worrying and being anxious or depressed can cause you to eat more than you normally would, compounding the problem.
9. Eat something bad for you…but just one thing!
Don’t fall completely off the wagon, or you might get caught under its wheels. Some evidence suggests, though, that you can lose more weight and more consistently if you occasionally eat something you “shouldn’t.” It gives your metabolism a little bit of a boost and can stimulate more weight loss. Don’t do it too often or you’ll sabotage yourself and make things worse – no more than one (reasonable) cheat once a week, something like a candy bar or a normal-sized hamburger.
10. Get the support that you need.
Calorie-shifting and all kinds of other ideas work well, but if you’re going it all alone, it can really be difficult. It’s discouraging and lonely, and when you do enjoy some success there’s no one to brag to and no one to encourage you. That’s unfortunate, and it can be really troubling.
Join a group if you need to, or just make sure you have friends around to encourage and help you. Ideally, pair up with someone else who is also committed to weight loss so that you can help each other when there are setbacks and share in each other’s joys.
Following the tips is no guarantee that you’ll drop the rest of those pounds. You have to be disciplined and not give up, and you have to find what works the best for you. You have to make a serious commitment to your health and well-being. In doing that, you’ll have the highest chance for continued weight loss success.