You’ve hit the slump. That dreaded, dreaded slump. You’ve heard that this could happen, that you could be going strong, losing weight like crazy, then BAM. It stops, just like that! So, what is a weight loss plateau?
A plateau is when your body becomes used to the stresses you put on it. In other words, your body has outsmarted your efforts at losing weight – It knows what to expect and to make your body lose even more weight, you have to make additional changes – sometimes above and beyond the norm. Here are 15 ways to help you get started.
1. Let your body recover.
Give your body a break. That doesn’t mean you ditch your diet and exercise altogether, but you need to slow it down before you push things back into full gear. Go on walks at night instead of a trip to the gym. This is the first step, and it shouldn’t last longer than a week!
2. Keep an eye on your diet.
If you’ve been dieting, chances are that you’ve cheated a couple times along the way. You start to see progress on the scale and in your measurements, so it wouldn’t hurt to eat a couple cookies after lunch, right? After all, you’re going to the gym and you’ll work it off. Wrong! The more weight you lose, the easier it is to become complacent. Don’t lose track of your diet, and guard yourself against little cheats throughout the day.
3. Sleepy time is super important.
There are tons of studies about the importance of sleep for weight loss, so why doesn’t anybody make sleep a priority? Go to bed 15 minutes earlier for one week, then 20 the next week, then 30 the next. Small increments of added sleep will help your body become accustomed to a longer rest at night. You need that rest for your body to recover.
4. Try something new.
If you’re trying to lose weight and you can’t seem to lose another pound no matter how well you eat and how hard you exercise, it’s time to try something new. Have you been taking brisk walks every night for an hour? It’s time to add a walk/run routine. Have you been using the elliptical each night at the gym? Try a HIIT workout instead! Your body needs to be shocked into paying attention to your weight loss goals, and the only way to do that is to scare it into submission.
5. Make a new playlist.
Your old gym music no longer gets your heart pumping, so it’s time to delete it and start fresh. A new playlist with fresh songs and up-beat rhythms will keep you focused on your workout and give you energy.
6. Get a workout buddy.
Having someone who shares your goals will keep you from slacking on nights when you’re tired but you know you should go to the gym. Just knowing that someone else is counting on you to work out with them will keep you on track.
7. Get meticulous.
Don’t let anything slide. Track your weight reps, your miles on the treadmill, your calorie intake—everything! Especially if you’re looking to lose weight, being able to compare your numbers day-to-day will help you see the areas that need change. Have you not broken three miles on the treadmill? Time to make it 4, then 5, then 6!
8. Don’t get discouraged.
Weight loss is not all rainbows, bunnies and fairy godmothers. Sometimes we have bad weeks, and it’s important to accept that. Go into next week with the ultimate positive attitude.
9. Change up your atmosphere.
It’s possible you’re getting bored of your workout location, whether that’s your basement, neighborhood or local gym. Switch it up a bit and try working out in a new spot.
10. Increase your daily fiber intake.
Fiber decreases your appetite, which keeps you from mindless snacking throughout the day. We’re all guilty of it, but this is an awesome (and totally healthy) alternative to starving through the afternoon.
11. Drink more water.
You’ve all heard that drinking water can help you lose weight, but it’s not just a rumor — it’s true! Believe it or not, water acts as an appetite suppressant, so next time you’re craving something to eat, drink a cup of water and see if you still crave it after. Staying hydrated also helps you work out more efficiently, which is exactly what your body needs to break through this plateau.
12. Add little exercises.
If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t be satisfied with just a quick trip to the gym or a jog around your neighborhood. Incorporate little exercises into your day. You’ll burn calories and you won’t even realize you’re doing it! You already know you should take the stairs and park in the back of the lot, but why not try taking the long route to the bathroom, standing instead of sitting, or even playing more rigorously with your kids?
13. Stop when you’re full.
You’re eating out and the salad you got is massive, and oh, so delicious. It’s made of spinach after all, so why not eat the whole bowl even though you’re getting full? Don’t! Listen to your body’s signals. When you’re full, stop eating, no matter how much you paid for your meal.
14. Rest less during your workouts.
Chances are you take breaks between your workout moves. While it’s all good and well to give your muscles a break, maybe what you need is to push yourself harder by eliminating some of those breaks. Keep your muscles burning by jumping right into your next workout without resting. You’ll feel more exhausted, and know you’re making progress.
15. Real fat doesn’t just float away.
It’s one thing to lose a pound or two before bikini season, but something altogether different to lose real fat to bring yourself down to a healthy weight. Real fat takes time to burn. The first pounds you lose are the easy pounds. You’ve plateaued because your body has to work harder to burn the real fat, the stuff deep down. Keep pushing! Don’t give up!