How to End The Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau
We've all been there - that dreaded plateau, where despite our best efforts, nothing seems to be happening. That can be difficult to
accept with our "instant breakfast" mentality, and it is exactly where many decide their efforts aren't working. Wrong! That is exactly when
things are working, inside, where they count. Think day-to-day, rather than minute-to-minute. Think long-term rather than short. Keep doing
what you know is working, and you'll reap the benefits.
Keeping a tally or score on your weekly efforts is the best way to track your progress. Just like the stock market, the line will go
down, then up, then down, then down, then up, while over time, if losing weight is your goal, then you will eventually reach your goal,
if you are doing the things that support your efforts on a daily basis. Tracking daily may cause insanity due to the ups and down
attributed to the foods you eat, the liquids you drink, whether you sweat, etc.
Here's a Weight Loss Progress Graph you can use to track your progress.
What Should I Eat?
I don't generally dictate what people should eat, but there are guidelines which depending on your size, if followed, will lead to
less fat, more muscle, and better health overall.
Guidelines: Calories: How many? That depends on many variables including your muscle mass (requires more calories to be maintained)
whether you exercise, and your basic resting metabolism. I eat close to 2,000 a day, so don't think you have to eat 1,000 calories a day
to lose some weight. It's simply not true. I'm active, and the more active I get, the more I can eat and still maintain my weight. I
don't count calories so much as I'm aware. If something I'm thinking of eating has a ton of calories (cheese fries?) then I'll decide
whether it's worth it.
Calorie Bank Account
Think of your day's calories as a bank account. I won't waste my calories on crummy food choices, such as I won't nibble a stale
cookie just because I see it sitting there. I won't grab a handful of peanuts out of the bowl on the counter, even if it beckons
because until I saw it, I didn't want it.
Stop mindlessly putting things in your mouth. Everything counts. Make good choices. If you want it, have it, but make sure you want it, and
there isn't something else you'd rather have. My motto? I'd rather have cheesecake.
If I see something, I first think, "Do I want it more than something else I could have" If yes, okay fine, I'll have it. If not, I'll wait
for something better, go get something better, or just let it go, this time. There's always a next time.
Eat 2 - 4 cups of vegetables daily. This can be accomplished by eating a big salad with some non-fat dressing (Don't waste your "fat" calories on salad dressings.) Frozen vegetables are great. Nature made them sweet, no need to add sauces, etc. Learn to eat a
raw carrot, freshly pulled from the ground is really great!
Eat plenty of protein but don't go overboard. Bacon is a treat, not a staple (way too fatty). Choose lean meats, low or non-fat dairy,
and seek out wild fish. How about tuna mixed with salsa, wrapped in a tortilla? Think outside the box. Visit your local butcher.
Support your local farmer. ;-)
Eat fruit, everyday. At least one piece, more is better. I know it's got sugar. It's supposed to be sweet. We crave sweet, nature set it
up so we'd want to eat fruit - so surprise, we crave sweets. Big deal. Go for it, but satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits and vegetables
and you're less likely to be driven to eat junk. Did you know carrots and onions are both very sweet? So are beets, and lots of
other foods straight out of the garden you wouldn't think about as being a treat.
Drink plenty of water. Make an effort to drink six to eight glasses a day. Every day. Yes, that seems like a lot. Do you drink soft drinks?
Start substituting water every few soft drinks. Consider how much money you'd save, if you need an incentive.
Track your movement and strive to add more. If you get five minutes of exercise, write that down. Five minutes every day is far better than zero
minutes every day. Start from the beginning and you can slowly build to more minutes. Find exercise you enjoy, it's not supposed to be
torture. If you don't like it, you won't continue. Mall walking is good in the Winter. You can even climb your house's stairs a few
extra times a day.
Eat frequently, more often is better than less, never less than three times a day, even six is fine. Every time you eat you stoke the
metabolic fires, your furnace heats up, and you burn more calories just by being alive. Fuel the fire. If you are afraid to eat, that may
be the biggest problem, you aren't fueling your fire and so the fire is burning as little fuel as it can just to get by (slow calorie burn
means sluggish metabolism). Hunger is not the enemy.
Remember when someone says to eat more often, they aren't saying to eat the same amount at each meal you eat now. Instead split a
sandwich and have half now, half later, that would count as two mini-meals.
Don't be afraid that if you eat more, or exercise more, that you'll gain weight. Athletes tend to eat an enormous amount, but they only
get fat when they stop exercising and don't adjust their eating accordingly.
If you eat a clean diet (mostly), move your body (exercise), and get plenty of quality sleep, you'll be healthy, happy, and your weight
will fall in line with what is healthy for you. I know you want the end result now - we all want it now, but wouldn't it be great if you
could drop some weight and know it's gone for good? Wouldn't you like to stop the "losing it, only to gain it back" cycle?
Start today by noticing the quantities you are eating. I eat cereal most mornings, but for awhile I measured it, so now I know by how
full my bowl is just how much I'm eating. An ounce of cheese isn't much but I find an ounce slice, cut and spread across a couple rye
crackers, eaten slowly, is a nice snack.
Most of us are used to the huge portions served in restaurants and now we expect to see a lot on our plate. Get a smaller plate, if
need be. I saw some really great tiny plates at an antique store this weekend. You can even share dinner with someone else. A few
people I know just order one, two or three appetizers as their meal. Might you consider that? Take a quarter or more of what's served
home for tomorrow's lunch (get your doggie bag at the beginning of the meal). Suddenly you've got two for the price of one!
Remember, skip the bread unless it's special, dress your salads, rather than drowning them, and don't waste money and calories on
beverages (drink water instead).
If your weight loss has stalled or you're experiencing a plateau, just start noticing what you're doing every day and you may find
some places where small changes can produce the results you want. It's okay to ride a plateau too. Give yourself credit for what
you've achieved so far, and be happy you're at your new weight. If you aren't gaining it back, then it's a good thing.