You've been diligent about eating right and working out. You've been faithfully tracking your progress, but suddenly your progress stops. You're not seeing the numbers on the scale drop and your measurements aren't changing. "What the heck is going on?" you ask yourself. It's no mystery — you've hit a plateau.
Don't worry, it happens to the best of us. It's a natural part of the process. But when you do hit that inevitable wall, there are things you can do to get back on track.
How to Identify a Weight-Loss Plateau
Your scale shouldn't fool you or rule you. It's not the boss of you. Though it's a good tool to measure your progress, it does have its drawbacks. When the number on the scale stalls, there could be any number of things happening.
For example, the scale measures total weight — it can't tell how the weight is distributed between muscles, fat and water. That's why it's important to rely on alternative ways of measuring your progress — like measurements, body fat percentage or simply how your clothes fit.
Don't panic, though. And whatever you do, don't get discouraged. Instead, take your current measurements to get a more accurate view of your progress. Track your measurements and compare them to your most recent stats. You might just find that, although the numbers on the scale aren't moving, you're actually losing inches off your body!
So how do you know it's a real plateau? Weight-loss expert Colette Heimowitz gives the following signs:
- You've experienced no weight loss or loss of inches for at least four weeks.
- You haven't altered your exercise regimen or made any other significant lifestyle changes.
- You're not taking any new medications (including hormone therapy) that may be interfering with weight loss.
- You can honestly say you've adhered to all aspects of your program.
Revitalize Your Weight-Loss Efforts
Always hitting up spin class after work? Try a CrossFit class first thing in the morning. Find something new you love that also challenges your body in a new way.
Then give your diet a once-over. Have you been eating the same thing over and over and over? Find some new, healthy recipes. Or maybe you've been letting yourself slip a little more than you'd like to admit. Even though the occasional indulgence can actually help you stay on track, too much can derail your efforts.
Here are a few more things you can try to push past your plateau:
- Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere.
- Get more sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours a night.
- Make time to de-stress — yoga, meditation, Tai chi, a spa day, etc.
- Cut out booze altogether. It's more than just empty calories.
- Double down on your tracking efforts — track everything!
- Make sure you're taking a rest day from workouts.
- Check your calories to make sure you're not eating too little.
Remember: This plateau is temporary. Stay focused and stay on track. You've come too far to let this derail you. Make this a call to action and a chance to reaffirm your commitment to your transformation plan. Plateau, schmateau! This, too, shall pass.
Arm Yourself and Fight Through Your Plateau
You're amped up and ready to blast through this plateau like it ain't no thing! But if you need a bit more guidance and specific suggestions, take a look at one of these articles.
How to Join the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge
1. Sign Up for Daily Emails
Every day, we'll be sending you your daily workout and a healthy recipe to try, along with fun extras like workout playlists, motivational quotes, self-care tips and other fitness and nutrition information to make 2019 your best (and healthiest) year ever!
2. Print Out Your Calendars
Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge, you're accountable for two main things: working out and eating healthy.
To help keep you on track for the entire month, we created two calendars — one with each day's workouts listed and another with each week's nutrition goal and healthy recipes. Print them out and check off each workout and day of healthy eating as you complete it.
3. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.