We’ve all experienced it. When we try to lose weight, the first few pounds seem to go super quickly. We feel great and like this time will be “different.” Yet, all of a sudden, our weight loss stalls despite doing “what we are supposed to be doing.” Yep, we hit a plateau.
Welcome to dieting.
Why are weight loss plateaus so common?
For starters, highly processed, “tastier” foods are more convenient, and we are surrounded by the temptation to consume them everywhere we go. A little here and there starts adding up, and we often stray from the Alexandria Wellness “food as fuel” mentality.
Yet I believe the number one culprit is this: motivation alone isn’t enough – and it has its limits. After the initial excitement of losing the first few pounds wears off, motivation often decreases, and we slowly return to old habits.
This is why HABITS are so important. Our motivation fluctuates every day, every hour, and even every minute. We may wake up from a great night of sleep and tell ourselves, “I’m going to be super active and eat healthy today.” Yet as the day goes on, we get busy and stressed. Then, it’s dinner time, and we are just reaching for the easiest, most convenient food, like frozen pizza.
If we haven’t established healthy habits like prepping meals ahead of time, breathing when stressed and getting our beloved sleep, losing weight will feel like a constant lifelong struggle.
So how can you avoid a weight-loss plateau? Here are my top seven tips:
- Strength train consistently. Continuing to build muscle is one of the best tools to keep the weight off or continue losing weight. Why? Because when we build muscle, our metabolism increases, and we burn fat all day long, even while sleeping or checking emails!
- Eat minimally processed or unprocessed foods. These foods have higher volume, more nutrients, and less calories, meaning you can fill your plate without “overindulging” (for example, grilled chicken, sweet potato, and Brussel sprouts).
- Shift your mindset. Instead of trying to lose ‘X’ amount of weight in ‘X’ amount of time, shift your mindset. Every single study on weight loss – not commissioned by food companies – which is so many of them – teaches us setting goals like “taking back my health” or “on a health journey for good” or a goal not associated with a number like “dancing at my kids’ wedding” are much more powerful. If you are feeling better and improving your health, THAT is what matters.
- Reduce snacking. Stick to satiating, nourishing meals. The time between meals allows your body to digest your food. It takes us up to 8 hours to digest a meal. Give your body the time to process the last meal before you add more food on top of it.
- Don’t obsess about the number on the scale. Focus more on how you feel, how clothes fit, etc. You may not be losing weight, yet you could be gaining muscle, and your body composition could be improving.
- Include protein in every meal. Protein keeps us feeling full and helps us build muscle which leads to more fat burning. Protein also has lower calories per gram than fat and alcohol so that you can eat “more for less.”
- Control your portions. We hear it all the time, yet this is one of the hardest things to do consistently, especially when eating at restaurants or on the go.
We want to help you (and your team!) take charge of your health and wellness. Here are two ways you can get started today. If you are interested in joining our new concierge small group, where you’ll have a built-in community of others seeking holistic wellness, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.