For anyone who has lost weight, including yours truly, weight-loss plateaus are a real test of your resolve. Plateaus make you curse at your scale–and want to smash it–when it registers the same weight despite the fact that you’ve been running 5 miles a day and eating like a rabbit for a month. Plateaus frustrate you. They discourage you. They may even make you shed a few tears. They more weight you have to lose, the more plateaus you will likely encounter.
How can all that be a good thing, you might ask?
A weight loss plateau is like an intermission. What do people do during an intermission? They get up and move around to loosen stiff muscles. They go the restroom to answer the call of nature and freshen up. They get a snack (or a few snacks). They make phone calls. They chat with their friends about the movie or play they saw. Basically, they mentally and physically recharge before the next showing.
Think of your weight loss plateau as an “intermission”. Review your accomplishments to date, set new fitness goals and plan how to make those goals a reality. Instead of moping over your stagnant progress, tweak your diet and exercise regimen. What worked for you in the beginning is probably not enough to challenge a body that is now smaller in size, leaner, stronger and accustomed to the type of exercise you’ve been doing. It may be time to increase the intensity of your workouts or add new activities to challenge your body.
Start keeping a food journal (if you haven’t been keeping one). Write down what you eat every day. Seeing your daily food intake on paper will help you identify what areas of your diet may be hampering your progress. You’ll see if you’ve been eating more than you thought, as well as what foods you’re eating too much or too little of (i.e., not enough protein, too many carbs, etc.). You’ll also see if you’re not eating enough, period. Every time you eat, your metabolism kicks into gear to burn the calories. Eating too few calories a day slows down your metabolism–and your weight loss.