What To Do When Your Weight Loss Plateaus
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Far too many of us have thrown ourselves into a diet and exercise program, only to burn out and lose our motivation all too quickly. After a week or two of noticeable changes, those exciting results seem to have slowed down – and with them, our motivation. The problem? Plateaus. A plateau, simply put, is “a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress.” Not exactly what we had in mind when we starting setting those new fitness and weight loss goals.
Here’s the great thing about plateaus: With the right gameplan, they can be overcome. Plateaus aren’t a brick walls – they’re really just hurdles. In today’s segment from Your Wellness Room, I’ll show you a few ways to get out of a weight-loss rut.
1. Is it time to change up your workout?
I’ve often said that when it comes to losing weight, getting fit, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, “Consistency is key.” And there’s no doubt about that one – after all, the only way to get to the top of the mountain is to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other, in spite of the obstacles that might fall into your path.
I’ve also been quoted saying that it’s important to constantly switch up your workout routines to avoid plateaus and keep your muscles guessing, adapting, and growing. So you might be asking yourself, Which is it? Do I follow the “consistency” mantra, or do I keep on trying new things?
The trick is to do both. While it’s important to follow a regular, methodical routine, you’ll only get results if you keep incorporating new moves. Think of it as consistent change.
For example, I’ve been following the same weekly routine for some time now – to an extent. It looks something like this:
- Sunday – hiking
- Monday – yoga
- Tuesday – circuit training
- Wednesday – wild card
- Thursday – pilates
- Friday – strength training
- Saturday – spinning
I call Wednesday my “Wild Card” day because it’s my freebie – not my “day off” from exercising, but my day to do anything and everything I might want. That might mean an exciting new class, whether it’s dancing or indoor rowing – or it might mean another day of cardio, strength training, yoga, or pilates, depending on what my body needs, and what will “surprise” it.
2. Have you started to eat more calories?
At the beginning of each week, press the “reset” button and determine your focus for the next 7 days. Whether you want to eat more vegetables, cut back on sugar, increase your fiber intake or eliminate wine with dinner, your focus of the week should represent an area you want to improve. Taking small steps each week will help you reach your weight loss goals.
After you’ve determined your weekly focus, set reminders in various locations…including on your calendar, on a notepad in a kitchen, and on your phone.
At the end of the week, revisit this goal and decide if you’ve accomplished your objective. If you’ve fallen a bit short, make it part of your short-term goal next week to achieve it. Don’t punish yourself if you don’t reach your weekly goals. This will only make you feel guilty and unsuccessful. Instead, divert your attention away from unproductive thoughts like these and focus your energy on re-committing to your purpose and how you will achieve it. Focus on what you’ve accomplished rather than beating yourself up about falling short.
During special events (birthday parties, summer BBQs, weddings, etc.), it’s easy to lose track of your weekly focus, so make sure you have calorie counting in the forefront of your mind so you can enjoy your time while still staying on-track! Thanks to high-tech gadgets that have hit the market in recent years (like FitBit) there is no more guessing at your calorie intake. From smartphone apps to wristbands devices, and other handy interactive tools, tracking calories in your food is easier than ever! Not only do these apps count your fitness progress, some also call up calorie counts so you can gauge your food-fitness relationship, which is important if you are trying to drop pounds. In order to lose weight, your calorie burn has to exceed your calorie intake, and these tools do the math for you.
Also remember, as you get closer to your goal weight, it’s naturally more difficult to lose weight. When you hit a plateau, think about all of the other improvements in your body, from improved heart health, to elevated mood, and endless energy. There are a lot of benefits to working out besides just losing weight!
Here’s to your health!
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