Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. One minute you’re riding the weight-loss train, feeling great then BAM! You hit a wall, and everything stops! Hitting a weight-loss plateau happens to more people than you think so when it happens to you, don’t get discouraged. Hence the term “healthy lifestyle journey.” That’s exactly what it is; a journey and when life happens you overcome any negative situation and you continue on your journey!
One positive outlook of a plateau is taking the time to step back and assess the situation and hit the reset button! It may seem like an inconvenience at first, but you will be better prepared for any future plateau’s or stalls.
I’ve compiled some great tools to help you get through those pesky stalls and to get you back on that weight-loss train!
Reinstall the Food Tracker App!
I know, writing down EVERYTHING you put in your body can be tedious and annoying. And, when you begin to see the weight come off, the need to not be so strict starts to dwindle and eventually you stop tracking your food. Well, if you’ve hit a plateau it may be wise to reinstall the app or log back in and start tracking what you’re eating. Sometimes by doing this, you can see where some extra calories snuck into your diet.
Also, with the food tracker app, you need to make sure you’re adjusting your macros calculator to your current weight. If you’ve achieved weight-loss success, you should definitely update to your new weight, so the calculator can adjust your caloric intake accordingly!
Tracking your food also pushes you to read nutrition labels to get calorie content and serving size. This is important information when wanting to make sure you’re getting the right amount of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates!
Are you eating ENOUGH?
You've heard the phrase "expend more energy than you consume to achieve fat loss." However, if you are doing high intensity workouts and lifting heavy weights, it’s important to make sure you’re fueling your body appropriately and efficiently. Make sure you’re getting the right amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. And yes, I said FATS!!!! Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, Ghee, fatty fish, nuts, dark chocolate, cheese and eggs!
Again, this is where tracking your food intake is key as it will show if you’re eating too much fat, or too much protein, or too many carbohydrates.
On the flip side, eating too few calories can hinder your weight-loss, specifically if you’re exercising. However, super low-calorie and elimination diets-you know, the ones in your social media feed, forget the fact that food is fuel. Many medical professionals, nutritionists and dietitians advise to not eat less than 1,200 calories per day. You need calories from carbohydrates, proteins and fats to survive. To be healthy about losing weight you should eat accordingly and not deprive your body of the vital nutrients and minerals from food.
All you do is Cardio for your workout.
While getting your heart-rate up by running or using an exercise machine like the elliptical machine, is a great way to speed up your metabolism, doing only cardiovascular exercises over and over can become mind-numbing and boring. Adding weights to your work-out regime can increase calories burned as well as build strength and muscle. A large study done by the Harvard School of Public Heath showed that individuals that did 20 minutes of strength training per day gained less belly fat over the course of 12 years than those individuals that did the same number of minutes doing cardio exercises.
And when I say “strength training” I don’t mean you need to be in the gym for two hours a day lifting heavy weights. Adding a small number weight (think 5-8# dumbbells) with simple weight lifting exercises is a great way to burn more calories! Even holding two 3-pound weights while going for a brisk 20min walk is a great way to start incorporating weights!
Are you getting enough sleep?
I cannot function properly and my cravings for processed foods and simple carbohydrates go through the roof when I don't get a good 7-8 hours of sleep. For those individuals that can function on “little to no sleep”, while I commend you for being able to actually function, if you’re trying to lose weight and better your health, not getting a good night’s sleep will squash your healthy lifestyle plan.
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggests adults ages 18-65 should get seven-nine hours of sleep per night, which 35% of Americans do not get this amount. It’s time to make sleep a priority! Did you know that when we sleep, our body produces two important hormones? Leptin and Adiponectin. Leptin is a natural appetite-suppressant, while adiponectin helps our body respond better to insulin. If you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep your body will be tired, hungry and your carbohydrate craving will be more than it should be, thus leading to bad food choices come breakfast time.
Are you sitting too much?
Even if you’re putting in the time to exercise 30-60 minutes a day, unfortunately that’s not enough to get you out of the “sedentary zone.” The total amount of physical activity you do throughout the day is what really matters when trying to lose weight.
What does this mean? Park the car further away from your office or the grocery store. Take the stairs whenever you can. Walking after lunch or dinner is another great way to get those extra steps in! If you’re in an office, try having a walking meeting or take a few breaks and walk around the office building to stretch your legs.
Don't change your whole lifestyle at once!
If this healthy lifestyle is new to you, the changes you make can be exciting at first, but if you're trying to change everything at once it can be overwhelming and daunting. You don't need to make every little or big change at the same time. Baby steps are key when beginning a healthy lifestyle journey!
Cleaning out the pantry, grocery shopping, waking up early for a gym session, tracking your food, fighting food cravings, learning new recipes, drinking more water, having withdraws from not drinking soda pop...these are all great things to do, but NOT in the same day or week! I would be one cranky person if I tried to do these things all at once!
Focus on one thing to change and stick with it until it's your new healthy habit. Once you have one healthy habit set in stone, move on the next change. Here are some great examples of healthy choices:
Try to incorporate veggies in at least two of your meals.
Choose tea or water instead of your usual soda or diet soda.
Take your lunch to work instead of eating out.
Read nutrition labels.
Eat at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV.
Go for a walk after lunch or dinner.
Aim to eat one vegetarian meal.