It’s that time of year . . . Has your New Year’s resolution has flown out the window? . . . Are you ready for the snow to melt, longer days, and do you want to get outside? Has your motivation to workout subsided and you aren’t working like you should? Is your willpower not what is was right after the holidays? In other words, has your weight loss stalled and have you hit a plateau? If you’ve answered “yes” . . . what are you going to do about it?
Eating right and recording your food? Have you been logging all of the food you’ve been eating? Accurately? Are you keeping track of how many calories you are eating? Take a closer look at your diet and make sure you are eating enough lean protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s time to regroup and refocus on healthy eating. Get a calorie counter, an app for your phone, or a simple notebook to (honestly) keep track of what you are eating.
And, make sure you are actually eating enough – another reason to keep a food journal and track calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein. One problem I often see is that women (especially) try to restrict calories too much, thinking it is going to be the answer for weight loss. Sure, weight loss is ultimately all about calories in vs. calories out. However, there is new evidence that eating more filling foods throughout the day will help speed the metabolism. Eating too little food and/or excess empty-calorie carbohydrates can send your metabolism to the gutter, especially if you are working out and lifting weights. You need food! When you eat, think about how the food will fuel and fill your body – healthy protein and fats are good for you.
Exercise? Are you doing the same thing all the time? Have you increased the amount of weights you lift? Have you upped your intensity? Are you putting out the same effort during all of your workouts as you always have? Are you pushing yourself or are you “going through the motions”? Have you tried anything new lately or are you stuck in a workout rut? Unfortunately, as you get more fit, you have to continuously keep up the intensity during your workouts. You can’t keep up with the same routine if you want to keep losing weight and getting fit(ter). For example, if you do intervals on the treadmill at 5.5 mph, as you get more fit, that 5.5 mph pace gets easier and less effective. If you don’t increase the speed, your body will not be challenged like it once was - it has adapted and results and progress will slow.
Injured? One of my clients is struggling with a couple of chronic issues and her activity is limited. Even though there are a lot of things she cannot do at the moment, she still shows up and puts in the effort. We find other things for her to do, even if it is a few exercises mixed in with the Air-Dyne bike – she still is working and maintaining her strength. While her activity is limited, she really needs to pay attention to her diet even more.
Burn-out? Sometimes a simple way to break a plateau is to take a break and regroup. It’s like your body needs to reset itself, both with food and activity. And, the mind needs a break from being constantly disciplined and having willpower. Have you been consistently “good”? Have you been honestly tracking and eating right? Are you eating enough? Are you getting enough activity? If you said, “yes”to these questions, try taking a couple of days off and see what happens.
Now is the time to think about your weight loss and fitness plan. Is it working for you? If you are getting the results you want, then keep up with what you are doing! Good job. If your progress has slowed down, now is the time to think about what you are doing, re-evaluate, and tweak your plan. It’s time to step it up, put in the extra effort, and get disciplined! Spring and swim suit season is almost here! You want to be ready, don’t you?
Please share your tips and ideas to get off that plateau!