It happens to everyone. You are going strong with your diet and exercise program and seeing results for the first few months, and then all the progress stops. Welcome to the classic weight loss plateau. It is normal to lose more weight in the first few months per week as you change your lifestyle habits and then to settle into a steady pound a week loss (or for some even less). Here is some info on how to break through that weight loss plateau.
Accept your body shape/family genetics
Make sure your expectations match your reality. If you come from a long line of short people, you can’t make yourself taller. If your family genetics shows you that you are going to be larger than a size zero, accept that. Don’t get caught in the prison of false expectations. Remind yourself that beauty is based in health, not in a Photoshopped image that is touted as what you should look like. That is only done to sell you a product. Real beauty is found in those who are confident, healthy, strong and engaged in life around them. The rest is all just trends and fads.
The block could be mental
You could have a mental block about your weight loss too. One of the problems that everyone faces is that we aren’t able to see our own bodies. Our brains take all sorts of shortcuts to fill in what we should be seeing with what we expect to see, based on experience, in order to make fast judgments. You have to be careful that what you may be calling a weight loss plateau is really that and not a change in weight distribution between muscle and fat that you can’t recognize in the mirror. Things like bloating, medicine and the natural ups and downs of body weight that happen on a daily basis can affect how you see yourself. A good way to get around this is to base your judgment of your shape on measurements, not weight. A tape measure doesn’t lie and can provide evidence that you are still slimming down when the mirror and scale are telling you it’s stopped.
Make sure you are eating enough, especially if you exercise
This may sound like the opposite of what you would expect to cause problems, but if you aren’t eating enough and you are exercising more, you won’t lose weight. If you force your body into a starvation mode where a great deal more energy is being expended than fuel is being taken in, it will start to cling to whatever fat stores it has and be miserly about burning them. This is fundamental info about how your metabolism works. Also, you can run into a problem trying to break through that weight loss plateau if you aren’t eating enough and your body has adjusted to the stress level of your exercise routine.
Monitor your overall calorie intake closer
Break out your food journal or mobile food tracking app and take a closer look at what you are eating and how much you are eating. Chances are there is something in your diet that is holding you back. Often, what was ok when you started losing weight to eat becomes the reason you stop losing weight as your body mass adjusts. Look for foods that are heavier in starches, low in fiber or high in sugar – they are the usual culprits. High consumption of fats can also be an issue.
Change up your workouts
The traditional workout programs are good but they have one consistent flaw, they create a consistent pattern of stress on the body that the body adapts to. Your body is built for stress, under the physical stress of exercise you will lose weight – until the body adapts and you stop losing. This is done to protect you from starvation. To break through that weight loss plateau you need to change up your workouts beyond two days for legs, two days for upper body and a day of cardio. What happens to most people is they change the workout but they don’t change the challenge. Don’t just increase the reps of what you do or the time you do cardio, you have to change the way the whole body is used to increase the challenge and start losing weight again. The bonus is that switching up your routine keeps it interesting to you so you stay committed. Workout DVDs are great for this because you can pick a lot of different workouts and levels of challenge.