As I’ve found out, this weight loss journey is not always going to be full of upward momentum and big successes. There’s going to be both ups and downs, and the rough patches are all just part of the experience. I’ve been dealing with one of those rough patches lately, as my weight loss has slowed down and I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. When you hit a plateau and stop seeing the results you’re used to, it can be so easy to feel depressed. You may even feel like giving up.
I know this is a huge issue that so many of us face when we’re trying to lose weight. I’ve been stuck at the same weight for about a month now, and while it has been frustrating, it has also helped me to switch things up and try new things to get my weight loss going again. I am finally starting to lose weight again, and I wanted to share all that I’ve learned during my plateau period. Hopefully it will help you on your journeys and motivate you if you’re stuck in your own plateau.
Re-evaluate Your Diet and Exercise Plan
I think a lot of times, we get caught up in eating the same old boring foods and doing the same workouts over and over. Our muscles get used to being worked the same way, and we end up burning fewer calories than we did when we first started a new workout. We need to challenge our bodies in order to see results, and getting stuck in the same old routine can prevent that from happening.
In my case, I think I just got too comfortable and treated myself to unhealthy food too many times. At the end of October, I went to Florida for a family wedding, and I will be the first to admit that I didn’t stick to healthy eating as much as I usually do. Whether it was the french fries I devoured at lunch or the piña coladas I enjoyed by the pool, I definitely treated myself more.
When I got back from my mini vacation, it was Halloween, and I found the candies too hard to resist. I didn’t go totally crazy, but I also didn’t avoid eating them either. I typically avoid candy and chocolate when I can, but this was a special circumstance, and I wasn’t being too strict with myself. I found myself in a bad habit of eating unhealthily.
Because I was still keeping myself active, I didn’t actually gain any weight back from consuming these extra treats. While I was pleasantly surprised to see that I hadn’t gained weight, I was also pretty disappointed that the number on the scale hadn’t changed at all. My extra helpings of fried food and chocolate had prevented me from losing any more weight and caused me to get stuck in a plateau.
This was definitely a wake up call for me, and ever since I have been more diligent with eating healthier. I’m not saying that I won’t have a treat every once in a while, but I have been more focused on getting a lot of vegetables in and trying low-calorie desserts. As we go into this season of holidays and all of the delicious, unhealthy foods that go with them, I will try to stay as healthy as I can. You should use your own plateaus to re-evaluate your eating and workout plans and make changes where you need to. Use this as a learning experience, not a reason to put yourself down.
Don’t Get Discouraged
When we start our weight loss journeys and start seeing successful results, we get used to seeing the number on the scale drop as the months go by. When that progress comes to a halt, it can be depressing and discouraging. We feel like failures and wonder where we went wrong. I remember looking in the mirror and feeling like the old me that was 40 pounds heavier. When you get stuck at a certain weight, you start to think that you will never lose more weight.
It’s definitely a scary feeling. While I’m not pushing myself to lose weight in a certain amount of time, I do have a goal weight in mind, and getting stuck at the same weight can be the worst thing for motivation. I remember thinking that it didn’t matter if I had an extra slice of bread or bigger dessert here and there, because I wasn’t losing weight anymore anyway. It would have been so easy for me to give up when I encountered a plateau, but I am so glad I didn’t.
Basically what I’m saying is, feelings of discouragement and failure are totally normal when you feel like you’re not making progress, but you need to be able to move past those feelings and continue on your journey. This journey is not meant to be easy. You will encounter obstacles in your way and have tough moments. But what is most important is how you react to these obstacles. Don’t wallow in your shame and let yourself give up. You are so much stronger than that.
For me, reflecting on all of my hard work and seeing all of the goals that I have met so far helped me to feel more motivated. A year ago, I was 40 pounds heavier and in the worst shape of my life! It’s still amazing to me to see how far I’ve come.
Believe me, I had a couple of weeks of feeling sorry for myself and feeling like I wanted to give up when I hit my plateau. But being able to push those negative feelings aside and focus on all of the positive things that my weight loss journey has brought me was the best thing that I could have done. It helped me to rise above all of the obstacles and move ahead.
I hope that this advice has helped you in some way and motivated you to continue on your own health and wellness journeys. We all encounter plateaus of some kind along the way. The most important thing is how we’re able to react to those plateaus.
Have you ever encountered a plateau? How did you move past it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!