It pretty much happens to every dieter.
You start off eating super healthy and sticking to your gym sessions, and as a result the weight steadily peels off. Then one day, the scale won’t budge. Reaching a plateau like that is totally frustrating and mysterious. But keep in mind that it’s also completely normal, and it's something everyone deals with!
If you're embarking on a weight-loss plan and want to avoid getting stuck in a rut—or you’re in Rutsville right now and are desperate to escape—read these smart strategies for getting the scale going in the right direction again.
- Make sure you're not slipping back into old habits. Often after some initial weight-loss success, you might unknowingly fall back into having dessert every night or sipping more than one glass of wine per night—and those extra calories have left you stuck. Take an honest look at your habits, and see if you've upped your calorie intake without realizing it.
- Vary your workout routine. Sucks but true: Once your body gets used to a certain type of exercise, it doesn't have to work as hard—or burn as many calories—to get through it. Keep your body working hard by adding in interval moves or some strength training after a cardio session, or switching between pulse-pounding cardio one day and then a flexibility workout, such as yoga or pilates, the next, to keep your metabolism jacked up.
- Cut another 250 calories. The secret truth about losing weight is that once you downsize a little, your body requires fewer calories than it once did to run smoothly. That means in order to keep losing weight, you have to subtract even more calories from your meals, or burn more during a more intense workout. A fitness website or app can estimate the right number of calories you need based on your new weight and current activity level, and then try to cut 250 from that new number.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water or unsweetened tea not only fills you up, but it keeps you from getting dehydrated, it also keeps your metabolism running high.
- Rethink your expectations. Sometimes a weight loss plateau isn't really a plateau but your body's way of stubbornly trying to hold onto fat it needs to function properly. Make sure your goal weight is realistic—roughly a pound, but no more than two, per week!