It can be so frustrating! Sticking to that diet, working out regularly... The first few pounds come off FAST. You think, “Yes! It’s working!” You're motivated and inspired!
But then, despite all your hard work, the weight loss slows to a halt. This may happen early in the process after the first few weeks, or it may occur as you’re trying to lose those last few pounds. Either way, it’s NOT cool. Your motivation, willpower and confidence can take a nosedive. This is what we call, the dreaded weight loss plateau.
The good news is, this is normal. It's part of the process. You are not a failure, and you're not necessarily doing anything wrong, so stop beating yourself up about it! There are a few things you can do to shock your body back into change...
1) De-stress with some ME time
Stress plays a HUGE role in our ability to lose weight as well as in our overall health.
Chronic stress can raise our cortisol levels, which can then lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
It sucks, because sometimes the sources of stress in our lives are hard to control. But you CAN control how you let it affect you. If your weight loss is stalled, try making ME time a priority - schedule it into your day just like your workouts. Take an epsom salt bath, get a massage, sit somewhere quiet and read, take a walk in nature... whatever relaxes you!
2) Switch up your training style
Have you been doing full body workouts for awhile? Maybe switch things up and try doing lower body days and upper body days. Have you been doing long, steady state cardio? Try instead doing just 20 minutes of intense intervals.
Sometimes we just need to adjust our style to continue challenging our bodies. Be careful though, you don't want to jump from program to program. Stick with a workout for at least 4-6 weeks consistently before deciding to try something new.
3) Get more sleep
Are you getting a solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night? If not, that could be why the pounds have stopped coming off. In one study, people who sleep 7 or more hours per night were 33% more likely to succeed in their weight loss efforts.
In another study, people who slept 8.5 hours per night lost 65% more weight than those who slept 5.5 hours per night. Several hormones involved in appetite and weight loss are affected by sleep, so it’s key that you make this a priority.
4) Check your calories
You may need to adjust how much you're eating... if you've lost weight or gained muscle, your body may require a different number of calories than when you first started on your journey. Talk to a professional trainer/nutritionist to help you figure out where your numbers should be.
5) Make your workouts shorter!
You may think that being in a plateau means you need to work harder - but alas! Fear not, that is not the answer. Try making your workouts shorter, 30-45min tops, and just up the intensity. Limit your rest periods and really go hard!
While you're resting between sets, do 30 seconds of high knees instead of just sitting there or walking around. Upping the intensity often shocks the system enough to shed those last few stubborn pounds.
If you want a more personal look into why you have hit a plateau, I can help with some professional detective work! Shoot me a message at LeiasFitness@yahoo.com consultations are always free!