From time to time, you might notice that the scale stops moving even when you think you’re following your meal and fitness plans to a tee. It’s called a weight-loss plateau, and the important thing to remember is that you will get past it!
When a plateau occurs, try these techniques to get the scale moving again:
Stick to your efforts: Now is not the time to jump ship on your weight-loss journey. Instead, it’s time to be more diligent about following your plan.
Step up your self-monitoring: Often, people hit plateaus after they stop monitoring how much food they’re eating and how much exercise they’re getting. Start keeping records again — looking over them will probably tell you where the problem lies.
Shake it up: It’s a great time to change your workout routine. If you walk most of the time, try biking, swimming, or aerobics instead. Or you may want to increase the intensity of your current activity. A change in your routine often gets things moving.
Pay attention to portions: Over time, “portion creep” can happen. We think we are estimating the amount we are eating accurately, but in fact we have gradually begun underestimating portion sizes. Go back to weighing and measuring portions for a little while — this will remind you what appropriate portions look like, putting your ability to “eyeball” them back on track.
Remember recording: If you’ve gotten out of the habit of writing your food and exercise, this is a great time to restart, even if it’s just dinner, or all food one day a week. You might discover why weight loss has stalled faster than you expected.
Write it out: Turn to your Lifestyle Journal to reconnect with your motivation for starting this journey. Read some older entries to reignite that initial spark. Jot down all the benefits of your efforts to date. Brainstorm ideas for facing the plateau. Express your feelings. Explore negative self-talk. Writing about it will help keep you motivated.
Remember, while weight-loss plateaus are frustrating, they are also normal and quite common. But don’t let a plateau turn into an excuse to give up. Hang in there — the results will be well worth it.