Long-term, sustainable weight loss often comes with prolonged periods where you lose nothing. You watch everything you eat and hit the gym regularly, but your weight stays the same. The scale just won't move -- a plateau. When this happens, it can be demotivating and intensely frustrating. After all, if you're doing everything right, why won't the weight go away? The simple answer is that your body adjusts to changes. When you're losing weight, sometimes it adjusts a little too well. You've cut back the calories, and your body responds by slowing your metabolism.
Jump past the plateau by changing up your routine. Here are a few quick tips to get back on a losing trend.
1. Mix up your exercise routine
If you do the same exercises every time you go to the gym, they get easier. This means you burn fewer calories at each workout. To get the maximum benefit from every minute you spend at the gym or on the track, try changing up your routine. If you usually lift a lot of weight for fewer reps, do the opposite for a week. If you run for half an hour every day, try doing some interval training. Changing your exercise routine ups the difficulty and helps burn more calories.
2. Increase your calorie intake
It might sound counter-intuitive, but if you went from eating more than 2,000 calories a day to just over 1,200 calories, your body might be confused. Starvation mode slows your metabolism and causes your body to hang onto every calorie. Try adding calories to your daily allowance or do up and down days. For example, on a day when you don't hit the gym, you eat around 1,500 to 1,800 calories. On a day when you do, add an extra 300 to 400 calories.
3. Check your macronutrients
Sometimes, it's not the raw calories impeding your weight loss; it's the source of those calories. High carbohydrate diets can cause some people to have trouble shedding pounds. Look at the amount of fat, carbs and protein you consume; cutting back on the carbs and upping the protein can often give your weight loss a big boost.
4. Wait it out
Most plateaus only last about three weeks. If you stick with the program and eat fewer calories than you burn each day, the weight will eventually come off. The trick is to be honest about what you eat and track your diet consistently. If you get back to the basics of watching everything you eat, you can likely reveal where you might be going wrong.
5. Check in with your doctor
If none of the above solutions work, it's time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Get the all-clear from your doctor before you try anything drastic with a weight loss routine. It could be a medical condition that's preventing you from shedding weight. Be sure to get tested for:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Insulin resistance
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Other metabolic disorders
Proper medical treatment and specialized lifestyle remedies for these conditions can help you get back on track with your weight loss.