Weight loss can be a serious pain in the you know what. I mean, we can be doing everything right, from practically eating a vegetarian diet to exercising six days a week, and still see little to no results. It just doesn’t make any sense and some of us are about one fat-free Chick-O-Stick away from losing our motivation and being done with the entire idea.
If you’ve gotten to a point in your weight loss journey where you’re starting to question whether or not you can meet your goal, take a second to see if you’re doing one (or more) of these five things. Here are five things that can help you get past your plateau and get the scale moving in your favor again.
1. Being impatient
Weight loss takes time. Instead of stressing about why the scale went up two pounds after weeks of progress, focus on your spiritual journey and mental weight loss. Getting your mind right is just as important as whipping your body back into shape.
A lot of people lose a significant amount of weight and gain it back because they still hold onto the mental baggage that lead them to unhealthy eating habits. Your temporary setback can be as simple as eliminating stress, a common factor of weight gain.
Getting yourself prepared mentally will help ease the expectation of fast results and remind you that you are on a journey of change, something that takes time.
“Achieving and more importantly maintaining weight loss requires patience. When it comes to your overall health it’s important to play the long game… Think about what’s sustainable for you as an individual. Attempting to lose 10 pounds in a week is not healthy or realistic, it’s just not the way the body works. Plus it can lead to bad habits, like yo-yo dieting,” said Tangia Estrada, the creator of Hello Gorgeous Fitness.
2. Weekend binging
An entire week of clean eating can make weekend temptations a little harder to resist. But, falling off of your normal routine not only discredits all of your hard work during the week, it shows a lack of commitment to your decision to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
“The body keeps an accurate record of everything you put into it and it responds accordingly. Just because you stuck to a healthy meal plan for five days in a row, doesn’t mean that you can spend Saturday and Sunday eating everything in sight and drinking like a new prohibition era is about to start,” said Estrada.
According to Estrada, that weekend binge behavior is undoing all the hard work you put in during the week. That behavior not only has a negative impact on your body, it’s also emotionally demoralizing.
3. Focusing on calories instead of nutrition
It’s possible to lose weight by maintaining a caloric deficit, even if that includes a slice of cake or a row of Oreos. This is why many weight loss programs encourage an occasional “treat.” But, many times having that occasional treat means sacrificing more fulfilling meals throughout the rest of the day or prolonging your workout to burn off the excess calories, both of which can lead to unnecessary stress.
“Eating packaged food because it says “low-fat” or “diet” is a poor substitute for quality nutrition. The key to great health and reaching weight loss goals is quality nutrition. Diet food, is really just a code word for “chemical sh!t storm,” as they often have fillers and extra sugar to make them taste good, defeating the purpose of eating them in the first place. Switching your diet from processed products to whole foods will make weight loss easier. It also has the added side effects of increasing energy and mental clarity, and improving overall health,” said Estrada.
4. Staying in #BeastMode
There are several mental and physical benefits of “owning” a workout. But, choosing a routine that has you questioning why you went to the gym in the first place may be causing more stress instead of relieving it. Mix up your routine with high and low intensity workouts, like boot camp and yoga, to balance things out. Most importantly, choose exercises that you enjoy and look forward to.
“The recent trend of forcing yourself through a brutal workout that secretly has you wishing for death is actually holding you back. For one thing, you are opening yourself up to injury. Secondly, extreme workouts cause a hormonal stress response in the body that causes the body to hold onto weight. Stress works against you and your fitness goals. When you workout, you should challenge yourself and it should feel like you are working hard, but it should not feel like you’re going to collapse,” said Estrada.
5. Forgetting to meal prep
Nobody wants to eat the same thing over and over again. But, unless you’re a pro at counting your macronutrients and making sure you’re getting the right amount of carbs, fats and protein while maintaining a caloric deficit, meal prepping is the way to go. Taking a couple of hours, two or three times a week, to prepare your meals will take the guesswork out of figuring out what to eat. It can also help ward off fast-food temptations during the lunch hour.