It has happened to just about anyone who has tried to shed those excess pounds. There will come a time when you’ll “hit the wall” so to speak. You’re eating right, working out regularly, and doing everything in your power to change those negative habits that caused you to gain those excess pounds. Then the day comes, when the scale refuses to budge. No matter what you do, you feel that you are never going to lose another pound. You’ve hit a plateau and you can’t seem to get pass it. People around you tell you, “Just keep pushing and you’ll make it through” but you’re now discouraged and feel like giving up entirely. Weight loss expert Jillian Michaels explains,
Having a stretch where your weight loss slows to nothing is a natural phenomenon. You’re consuming fewer calories than you used to, so your metabolism has slowed down to conserve them.
While these words may be true, it can be hard to feel committed when you’re not seeing results. It may help to change your perspective on what are real results before you decide to throw in the towel. Here are a few points to try to keep in mind.
Don’t Just Look for Weight Loss
Many people have become weighing scale addicts. They use the scale as the only means of measuring their progress in their weight loss efforts. But the problem with the scale is that it only measures a body’s total weight so it is not always an indicator of what’s going on in the body. As long as you’re continuing to exercise regularly, your body is going through changes. Your body is comprised of a combination of muscle, fat, and bone, each adding to your total weight.
It’s a known fact that muscle weighs considerably more than fat, so while the scale may be showing that your overall body weight is not changing, you are more than likely replacing your fat stores with the healthier muscle tissue. Thus, instead of relying on the scales to measure your progress, look for more toned muscles, a smaller waistline, more physical strength, and better endurance as a measure of your success. As explained by Brianna Wilson, to Fit Day,
Perhaps the best way to measure weight loss has nothing to do with numbers at all – it’s how you feel…. You can move around easier since there’s less pressure on your joints and you’ll most likely feel like you have more energy.
As your muscle to fat ratio and your body composition change you’ll begin to notice many of these subtle changes that are not always recognized by the scale. By changing your parameters for measuring weight loss success you can better fight off the discouragement that naturally comes with a weight loss program.
The Problem With Losing Vanity Pounds
You also have to consider your reason for losing weight. Someone working on losing an extra 100 pounds will have a much easier time shedding the excess weight than someone working on a few vanity pounds that they may have picked up over the holidays. If it’s vanity weight you’re working on remember that the smaller the amount of weight you need to lose the tougher it will be to break that plateau. Since your body is already in good physical condition your approach will have to be a bit more creative in order to get the results you’re looking for. Some experts recommend that you take the body confusion approach and vary the amount of calories you take in each day. Keep the count somewhere between 1800 and 2400 calories for a few days and then go back to your usual calorie count and it should eventually unstuck your scale.
Change Your Workout
Your body has a memory of its own. Once you’ve done any routine for an extended period of time, your body will adjust to the routine and eventually it will not require much effort to succeed. By changing your routine, you reduce your body’s chances of developing muscle memory and having results that are ineffective. When you make subtle changes in your routine, alternating the amount of weights you lift, changing the type of exercises you do, or even adjusting to the amount of time you work out, your muscles will become confused and won’t be able to adjust to any type of routine. The results will be that your workouts will prove to be much more effective and you’ll see those numbers begin to drop again.
See Your Doctor
A weight loss plateau is normal for everyone but even in the most difficult of circumstances it should not last for more than a few weeks. If you find that you’ve tried a variety of techniques and have been unsuccessful in your attempts to drop any excess weight you might be dealing with a hormonal imbalance of some kind. This type of imbalance may not show any other symptoms so it may not be readily evident. If you’ve tried everything you can think of to shed that weight and nothing has worked, it may be worth your while to make an appointment to see an endocrinologist to investigate the possibility that your hormones could be causing you to have weight loss resistance.
Always remember, that even though weight loss programs seem to lump all people with excess weight in one category we are all unique in some way or another. As discussed by Marcelle Pick of Women to Women,
“It is not just our genetic makeup, but also our emotional makeup, and our lifestyle and environmental factors that play roles too. It takes time to figure out what is at the core of weight loss issues… so it can be corrected.”
It is important to realize that our efforts for losing weight are not just physical, they are emotionally and mentally challenging as well. In order to be successful in your efforts you have to become a student of your own body. Once you know what your body needs and how it works, your ability to lose weight and keep it off will no longer be a dreaded challenge in your life but just another way to see success at the end of the rainbow.