Are you within 10 pounds from your goal weight? Do you hover there, getting close by exercising and dieting? Until Thursday, that is; and then the weekend rolls around every darn week. When you are almost where you want to be, say within five pounds, you tend to allow yourself more wiggle room. Your clothes still fit, but maybe not all of your clothes. You have your go-to outfits that make you look good enough, as well as a few reach dresses in your closet that you've slithered into once, but never since.
Wiggle room on the bathroom scales can be tricky. This is the mental space that lets you off the hook for that extra sliver of cake, the second glass of wine, the last of the Doritos.
Our dilemma is a byproduct of being in our comfort range, meaning we are at the farthest end of what we feel is our acceptable weight range. Typically, if we go above the high end of the range, we can trim those pounds right back down with a few days of mindful eating and exercise. No plateau here. But It's when we get closer to our ideal weight that our weight loss often slows or levels off. It's a weight loss plateau.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when your weight loss plateaus:
- It's harder to lose weight as you get closer to your goal weight. Don't be discouraged. Think of your weight-loss slowdown like a speedboat coming into a harbor; You have to slow down to get to your dock.
- It happens to most people. Most people that have more than 20 pounds to lose will hit one or even two plateaus before they make goal weight. If it were easy, everyone would own a bikini.
- The more pounds you have to drop, the slower the progress. As your weight drops, your metabolism will slow down to try to preserve its fat stores.
What you can do to break through a plateau:
- Reevaluate your calorie intake. If you have been losing weight steadily and then your scales won't budge despite no changes to your food intake, it's time to take a look and see if you can trim some calories. Also look at the timing of your food intake and perhaps limit eating after dinner or that afternoon snack.
- Beware of Calorie Creep. This is when you are consuming more calories than you realize. It can happen from eating at restaurants or at festive events where food is served while socializing. Calories can also creep in via dressings, toppings and even condiments. When you stop losing weight, ever calorie counts, so try measuring portions or having rules for yourself, like no eating in the car or while standing up, or only eating at your table with silverware.
- Consistency is key. It might be tempting to stop working out if you aren't continuing to see results, but focus of continuing to exercise and eat healthfully. Resist the urge to give up.
- Add little bouts of exercise throughout your day. Park the car at the far end of the parking lot. Add one more loop around your neighborhood after your bike ride. Take the dog on an extra evening walk. Sometimes just a bit more activity can rev up the metabolism and jumpstart your weight loss.
- Whatever you do, do not give up. If you get discouraged or have a bad weekend of eating or you missed your spin class two days in a row, get right back on track. Remember that plateaus are always surrounded by progress and your progress is on it's way.