Do you remember when you first started working out? You were hitting all of your weight loss goals. You were so excited! You saw great initial success, you were super dedicated, and you thought, “I’ve got this in the bag!” And then things slowed down… or maybe even completely stalled. Does this describe you? Most likely, yes. Because hitting a weight loss plateau is a common occurrence. Not only in athletes, but in us everyday average Joes and Janes as well. Don’t freak out, though! Just because you’ve hit a plateau doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it!
The thing is, what worked for you in the beginning just isn’t working for you anymore. And it doesn’t even have to do with your actual workouts. There are lots of other factors that cause you to hit a plateau. Let’s look at 3 things that you can do if you’ve found yourself in this incredibly annoying position!
Consult With Your Doctor
Sometimes, you can do everything right, but your body isn’t working properly. Often, this is one of the last steps that trainers and coaches have their clients take when they’ve exhausted all other options. You can consult with your doctor about the troubles you’ve been having, and they will run tests on you. Most likely, they will check your thyroid first.
Hypothyroidism, having an under-active thyroid, is one of the most common causes of weight loss plateaus and unexplainable weight gain. When your thyroid is under-active, your metabolism slows down. And we all know that metabolism is incredibly important in the weight loss process. There are medicines you can take that can assist your thyroid, so if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism you can start treating it and can get back on that weight loss train.
Another medical condition that can affect your ability to lose weight, especially in women, is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS negatively impacts your thyroid AND your blood sugar levels. Not only are you dealing with an under-active thyroid, but decreased blood sugar levels. So your metabolism is functioning more slowly AND you are craving more foods to get your blood sugar up. As with hypothyroidism, there are medications you can take for PCOS. With treatment, you can continue on with your fitness goals.
Get More Sleep
You’ve probably heard this so many times that you’re getting sick of it – I know I am!!! Sadly, it’s so very true, so we will continue to say it over and over. When you’re sleeping, your hormones reset. This is incredibly important to keeping your cortisol levels in tact. As we’ve talked about before, cortisol is your stress hormone. Increased levels of cortisol are shown to increase weight gain. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get more sleep.
This is an incredibly easy step you can take if you’re struggling to keep losing weight. Getting a full 8 hours might not be realistic for you, but even just sleeping MORE than you normally do will help.
For instance, Paul & I don’t get home until 8:30pm. Then I have to feed the baby and get her to sleep, so I’m not even eating dinner until 9:00pm. Realistically, the earliest we can get to bed is 10:00pm (because I need about an hour or so to start feeling tired after driving home). While we COULD stay up until 11 or 12 to spend more time together, we go to bed at 10:00pm because we get up at 4:30am (and 6.5 hours of sleep is already on the low end). So go based off of your schedule, but try to sleep as much as you realistically can.
Check Your Diet
As you continue on your weight loss journey, your body gets smaller. And when this happens, your metabolism slows down because there’s less of you to provide energy for. While working out does spike your metabolism, there’s a point where it tapers off and THAT’S when most people start to hit their plateau. You need to keep this in mind when you are meal prepping and looking at your diet. You might need to switch up your macros at this point, so that you can optimize your metabolism once again.
Another thing to look at in your diet is whether or not you’re getting enough protein. Protein has the highest thermic effect of all the macros. This means that it burns the MOST amount of calories during digestion. Make sure you’re getting enough protein so that you can burn the most amount of calories EVEN when you’re just digesting.
One more important thing to look at is how much water you’re drinking. Yes, I’m telling you to drink more water… shocking! But the truth is that, just like with sleep, IT WORKS! Your hunger and thirst cues can get mixed up in your brain. You may be thinking you’re hungry, but really you’re just thirsty. If you’re drinking enough water then you can always be sure you’re actually hungry.
So Just Relax
One of the biggest things I can say to help you overcome the plateau you’re at is RELAX. Worrying about it and stressing about it will also not help you. If you haven’t changed anything up in your routine and things have slowed down then try these tips out. BUT you also need to have patience. You won’t always see automatic changes. If you weren’t eating enough protein and have started increasing your daily amount, you need to wait a bit before you can determine whether or not that was the solution.
There also may not be just one solution for you. Every body is different, and so everyone will need different solutions. Trial and error is the key. And, honestly, you’ll probably be constantly changing things up throughout your life. Just remember that it’s okay to be frustrated… as long as you do something about it.
About the Author: Jordyn D’Arco is the Client Relations & Social Media Director here at Fit For All. She is mom to baby Sydney, wife to our head trainer, Paul, and the resident taco addict (“Do it for the tacos!” is her workout mantra, after all). In addition, she enjoys making delicious tea-lemonade, playing video games, and playing with her two fur babies, Winston and Lady. You’ll see her up front at the desk, and occasionally joining you in a class… don’t be alarmed if you catch her filming you!
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