If you want to lose weight successfully, slow and steady progress is your best bet. Experts recommend aiming to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week for the first 6 months. Once you’ve made it that far, continuing to your final goal may seem like a snap.
Yet it’s after 6 months of making steady progress that weight loss often stalls. Some people may even start regaining the pounds they lost. Hitting this type of weight-loss plateau can be really frustrating.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you hit a plateau, tell yourself that your weight loss is temporarily stalled, not permanently halted. There are things you can do to get past the plateau and keep moving forward.
Monitor your diet
The first step is understanding how you got to this point in the first place. Changes in metabolism and shifts in eating behaviors can both be culprits in weight-loss plateaus.
To lose weight, people generally need to overhaul their eating habits. At first, they may do a great job. As the months pass, however, they may become less consistent about following their eating plan. These kinds of setbacks can happen to anyone.
Pinpoint the problem
To avoid this trap, record what you eat every day in a food diary. Also, check your weight regularly. That way, you’ll have an accurate idea of how well you’re doing. If you start slipping back into old habits or if your weight begins creeping up, you’ll be able to spot the problem right away.
Look for behaviors that point to a cause for the problem. Then brainstorm possible solutions. For example, let’s say you’ve been skipping breakfast lately and then make poor food choices at lunch because you’re so hungry. You could stock up on healthy breakfast items and set the alarm earlier, so you have time to eat.
If the number on the scale still doesn’t budge, don’t give up. These tips can help get the number moving downward again:
- Track your activity. People who lose weight and keep it off tend to be physically active for at least an hour on most days. If you’re falling short, ask yourself what’s holding you back. Then look for ways around your obstacles. For example, when your schedule is extra busy, it may be hard to spend a full hour at the gym. Maybe you could walk at lunch and hit the gym later for 30 minutes.
- Try a new workout. Challenge your muscles by shaking up your exercise routine. The physical demands help get your body burning more calories again.
- Seek out support. When your weight loss comes to a standstill, it can be disheartening, even if you know it’s temporary. The encouragement of family and friends can help you get through this phase without losing your motivation. Ask your healthcare provider for advice on moving past your challenges.
Finally, try to keep things in perspective. Hitting a weight-loss plateau is quite common. This is just another leg in your weight-loss journey, not the end of the road. Still struggling? Sarah Bush Lincoln offers a comprehensive weight loss program based on your needs. Learn more at https://www.sarahbush.org/bariatricservices/
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Williams, MD