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4 Encouraging Tips When You Reach a Weight Loss Plateau

There is nothing more frustrating than counting calories and busting your butt in the gym, only to get on the scale and seeing the same darn number day after day. I know how this feels because this is how my last 2 weeks have gone.

If I didn’t know better, and know that my hard work would eventually be reflected on the scale, it would be very tempting to quit. If I hadn’t personally experienced these frustrating plateaus right before a drastic drop in weight, and have that experience already, I would have said “forget this!”. BUT, I knew that success was just around the corner. I knew that if I just kept sticking it out, that all my hard work and dedication would indeed pay off – and pay off BIG. However, I had to get through this discouraging slump first – without letting it get to me.

In preparation for a photo shoot, I started counting my calories with the LoseIt iphone app and boosting cardio to shed some fat and lean out. Although I always eat pretty healthy, I knew I needed to be absolutely perfect with my diet, so I tracked every single calorie I consumed. Ironically, when you start dieting, it’s common for your body to resist weight loss. The “start” is the hardest part of the process. It’s also when you have the most cravings, feel the most hungry, have the least energy and see the least results.

What My Scale Said
I started at 147.9lbs, which is my average weight. I need to get down to 138-140lb when I want to lean out for something special. A few days in, I dropped to 146.6lbs and stayed there for days. Then, I got on the scale, 8-9 days in, and my weight went back UP to 147.6lbs – and I was like “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Now, mind you, I’m in the industry and know what my body is going through. I also knew I felt better, and I was literally seeing less body fat on me. I knew for a fact that my body was making all the positive changes I expected – but the scale was not in agreement. BUT, that doesn’t change the fact that stupid number was totally ticking me off and messing with my head.

While I was going through this scale battle, so was my husband. As he prepares for a bodybuiling show, he too was counting calories and being very strict on his diet. Like me, he was seeing positive changes in his body but not seeing what he wanted to see on the scale.

FINALLY, I weighed myself this morning and BAM! I was at 143.4lbs. 4.5lbs down finally! It literally took 2 weeks of sticking at my starting number until my efforts were reflected on the scale.

I know I’m not alone and this happens to a lot of people. So, here are my tips to get you through those times the scale doesn’t reflect your hard work during your weight loss journey.

1. Focus on how you FEEL. When you are doing the right things, you should FEEL good. You should FEEL thinner, FEEL more energy, FEEL tighter, FEEL more attractive and FEEL successful. If the scale doesn’t agree, keep doing what makes you FEEL good, and eventually it should be reflected on the scale. The only time you need to worry is if your plateau last longer than a month. In that case, you need to accept you are doing something wrong and start aggressively troubleshooting.

2. Focus on how clothes FIT. I’ve had MANY people totally freak out because the scale says one thing and their clothes say another. Listen, if your clothes are fitting better, then your body is changing. Don’t let the number on the scale rob you of the joy you get when you put on a pair of jeans that are loose. How your clothes FIT you is a good, and accurate, measure of how you are doing on your diet.

3. Focus on the way you LOOK. If you look in the mirror and you can see more definition, or you can tell you are smaller, don’t let the scale ruin that excitement for you! And, if people are bragging on how good you are looking, don’t tell them how the scale doesn’t agree with them. You literally can be losing fat and gaining muscles, and making some serious changes before it is reflected on the scale, so focus on the way you LOOK and enjoy the changes you SEE!

4. Focus on your PROGRESS. Just yesterday I was griping about how I couldn’t believe I haven’t dropped one pound in two weeks. But I knew in my heart I was making progress. I knew I was doing everything right. Not only was I in control of my eating, having power over cravings, and saying no to some of the things I love to eat, but I was sticking to my training plan and staying focused. THAT, my friend, is something to be proud of. It’s progress. It’s progress because I am in control of my body, instead of letting my body control me. Also, I’ve been putting in the cardio and the work. This is also progress.

If this is you, you should enjoy victorious moments, knowing you are putting in the time and effort no matter what the scale says. The fact is, if you are doing all the right things, THAT alone is something to be proud of. When you do what is right, it WILL pay off.

Gain Control of Your Body AND Mind
The above tips are what keeps me going when I’m not seeing the numbers I want on the scale. They keep me balanced and level-headed – and they can help you too. Don’t let the scale steal the joy you should be experiencing when you are staying disciplined and working hard. Soon, and VERY soon, the scale will tell you exactly what you want to see to seal the deal and make your victory even sweeter!

Is Exercise Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?

Top 5 Excuses for Not Losing Weight

1. I’ve probably just gained a lot of muscle.
2. Muscle weighs more than fat.
3. I’m just holding more water.
4. I think my scale is just wrong 
5. Honestly, they’re just making clothes smaller these days. 

When was not getting results acceptable? If you joined a gym to lose weight, and even if you’ve firmed up, but you still weigh the same as you did the day you joined – something is wrong.

Rarely, are any of these above excuses the real problem, and the problem is rarely exercise. The problem is almost always diet. Sure, it would be much easier to commit an hour of day sweating off the pounds rather than actually having to control what you eat the other 23 hours a day, but if you want results you have to commit to a good workout and good eating habits.

Eating Healthy is Not Enough
So you tell me how healthy you eat. It doesn’t matter. So you tell me how much protein you’re getting, but you don’t know how many grams. You say you eat very few carbs, but you weren’t including fruits and vegetables. I ask you how many calories you are eating, but you don’t know. Are you seeing a pattern here? You eat “healthy”, but you have no idea just how much healthy food you are actually consuming or where you are getting your calories from. You are guessing your way through this. Who succeeds in anything based on guesses? Very few people.

Exercise is Deceiving

Before I address diet,  let me boldly talk about the one thing I believe sabotages many people’s success: Exercise. Am I saying exercise is bad? Of COURSE NOT! I’m in the working out business! What I’m saying is exercise messes with our body and our head.

Exercise Makes us WANT to Eat More
It’s only natural for our body to want to replace the calories we burn in the gym. When we exercise, our metabolism speeds up and we get hungry. This hunger is a good thing if we know what it means – it means we are burning calories. However, we aren’t supposed to FEED it, we are supposed to USE it.

What do I mean? Now that your metabolism is revved, every time you are hungry celebrate! You’re flying through the calories. Instead of eating to satisfy hunger, eat to fuel your body so it can keep burning calories.

  • Eat low-glycemic foods (limiting or avoiding processed foods, sugar and starches).
  • Eat small meals and snacks (100-150 calories snacks & 300-500 calorie meals) so you don’t replace the stored food (body fat) you’ve been working hard to burn off.
  • Eat 5-6 times a day. Using the calorie guidelines for snacks & foods, you will be eating somewhere between 1200-1800 calories a day. Women, stay on the low end, men can stay on the higher end.
  • Eat .5-.7gms of protein per pound of ideal body weight (150lb person can eat 75gm-105gms) so you don’t lose muscle while you lose fat.

Exercise Makes You Think You DESERVE to Eat More
When you work hard, it’s easy to think you now deserve a reward. Think about money. As soon as we get a raise, a new job, or a bonus – the first thing we think of is NOT saving that money. We think about how we can spend it. We think of the bills we could pay, the clothes we could buy, the vacation we’ve been wanting – all because we “deserve it”.

This is how we treat exercise and food. As soon as we start “working” harder and begin to reap the reward, instead of thinking about all the calories we are saving, and the weight we are losing, we think of ways to “spend” those calories. We talk ourselves into believing we can “afford” a reward. But we haven’t even “got out of debt” yet.

We walk around carrying our “food debt”, storing calories we’ve previously borrowed on our backside, but haven’t paid off. Just like money, we really never have any business spending calories on anything until we remove the debt we already have. Just because we work a little in the gym doesn’t mean we can start spending yet. We have to allow enough time to remove that debt altogether. Just like credit cards, the best way to use them wisely is to spend only what you can pay off over a short period of time. So once you reach your goal, you can reward yourself here and there, without getting yourself in trouble, as long as you are willing to “pay it off”.

“Only eat in one sitting what you can burn in one hour”

Every time you face a plate of food or temptation, instead of thinking about what you want to eat, ask yourself this question: “Do I want to add 800 more calories to my fat stores, or do I want to get rid of 800 calories from my fat stores by not eating it?” 

6 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

New Year’s Resolutions isn’t just about making new goals. It can be making the old goals actually work. Another words, after weeks or months (and yes, for some people it’s been YEARS) of doing what you think has been right, without getting the results you wanted, maybe it’s time for a change.

Like Albert Einstein once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

You don’t have to receive the Noble Prize to relate to this statement. I think we’ve all caught ourselves, at one time or other, in the vicious circle of insanity Einstein was talking about.

I witness this firsthand every day. People talk themselves into believing what they are doing is right, even when their results are wrong. With that belief system firmly set, they continue their same routine with the hope it will all magically start paying off one day – or they settle as if that’s just as good as it gets. If you are one of those people who feel like you are just spinning your wheels, maybe it’s time to make a change. Here are a 6 ways to help you break the cycle.

1.  Re-examine your diet. Diet is 80% of weight loss. Even if you fully believe you are eating healthy low-calorie meals, start tracking your calories (yes, ALL of them) everyday for 30 days straight. Many times those little “cheat meals or snacks” adds up more than you think. You may even want to do pre-packaged meals for a couple of weeks to leave no room for mathematical error. If you lose weight, then you know you are miscalculating or measuring incorrectly.  Read the rest of this entry

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