I’ve been hanging out at the same weight for weeks in a row now despite doing everything “right” and you guys know how frustrating that is. I’d gotten used to the stepping on the scale and seeing little if any change, no matter how many miles I’d run or what I’d eaten or not eaten. It can be a really frustrating place to be stuck. Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale yesterday to see this:
Any of you who have tried to lose weight know how much of a sigh of relief it can be to finally see movement in the right direction. I’m now almost back to pre-Disneyland/pre-Disney cruise territory, happily.
I’ve done this long enough to know that I’ll likely have a gain next week just to keep me from getting TOO excited about a 2+ pound loss, but hopefully it won’t be too bad (and hopefully I remember that I know it is coming).
This seemed like a good time to talk about how to handle a plateau in your weight loss, where the scale isn’t moving or is barely moving, for weeks in a row despite doing everything “right.”
– First, know that this is normal and expected. The calorie math doesn’t always work the way it is supposed and you may not see the results your calorie fitness and trackers set you up to expect. It’s okay. Everyone goes through this. We have to be patient.
– Next, be sure you really are doing everything “right.” This is not to say that there is a “right” way to do this, but you might want to look and see if you’re measuring and tracking things accurately or working out at the intensity you’re giving yourself credit for or anywhere else things may be slipping enough to throw things off. Being honest with yourself is key.
– Think about changing things up a bit. This can be a different kind of workout or different foods. For me, I cut back on my nighttime snack in the last couple of weeks, even if it meant leaving extra calories on the table. I was eating a ton of food (and more carbs than I know my blood sugar likes overnight) right before going to sleep because I had the calories available. Now I try to eat those calories earlier in the day and have just my greek yogurt before bed. I also dropped my calorie target in MyFitnessPal by 100 calories to 1800 calories a day, which I can still eat and feel satisfied (remember, don’t do anything you aren’t willing to do long term!). One factor in a plateau may be your calorie intake, as the metabolic needs we have and the calorie burn we generate with weight loss before the plateau may have significantly changed your calorie needs for the day.
– Keep the big picture in mind. I’ve lost 100 pounds. If it takes me 6 months to lose the 10 pounds I gained between Disneyland and the cruise, that’s okay because in the grand scheme of things, I’m doing pretty good. If you get to the point you’ve plateaued, that means a) you were losing – good for you! and b) now you’re maintaining, not regaining – also a good thing!
– Remind yourself that you can only control the inputs, not the output. I can’t control the number of the scale because countless things go into that. I can control what I eat and how much I move and those things are good for me, no matter how flat that weight loss curve might look.
For now, I’ll celebrate my loss mentally (not with cake like the old days) and keep up my healthy habits. I’m reminding myself that next week will likely not be as kind on the scale because a) a little rebound after a big loss seems cosmically inevitable and b) I’m in the first week taper now, with less running and more focus on hydration and food to get in optimal shape for the Lincoln Half Marathon, so some gain was going to happen anyway. It’s all okay.
How do you handle plateaus in your weight loss?
Here’s some more articles on weight loss plateaus to check out if you’d like other ideas for overcoming a stall:
Mayo Clinic Getting past a weight loss plateau
Jillian Michaels Break through any weight loss plateau