Plateaus are usually associated with stunning views. Think of the Massif Central in France, the Tibetan Plateau, and the Colorado Plateau, all with infinite views from any point that the landscape meets the sky. But a diet plateau? Not so much.
When diet and exercise ceases to result in the weight loss trajectory you’ve gotten used to, the plateau is a desolate and brooding place. What is a diet plateau? Typically, your body adjusts to all your hard work and resets its response to your efforts, slowing down your metabolism and, hence, slowing down your weight loss. Whenever this happens, and it happens to most people on any long-term diet and exercise plan, the plateau is a challenging place to land. What to do?
First of all, try not to go negative. You’ve already accomplished so much in terms of your goals. This is hard advice to follow, I must admit, but negativity won’t help you accomplish your #ResolutionReset, that’s for certain.
I hit a plateau about three weeks in, after losing six pounds, which exceeded my goal of one pound per week, up to that point. Here’s what has helped me get back on track:
Drinking more water. I try to drink eight glasses of water a day, but I don’t always. Increasing my intake of pure water helped me feel full and it helped me detox, flushing out toxins and reducing cravings.
Taking a break from the scale. It sounds counter-intuitive, but daily weigh-ins started to get me down, so I shifted to weekly, and at the end of my week of fine-tuning my diet and exercise, I’d actually lost 1.5 more pounds. Not as much as the two per week I’d started out with, but not too shabby.
Focus on specific food choices. I’ve found that when I eat more protein, my metabolism speeds up. Everyone is different, but fewer carbs have resulted in greater success for me.
Eat clean. What I mean by this is an attempt to avoid processed foods, choosing instead whole grains, vegetables, and high-nutrient foods of all kinds.
Maximize exercise. When I began to look at how I could ramp up my workouts without spending more time in the gym or out on my bike, I realized that I could increase my intensity, add hills, and take fewer breaks, all of which seemed to boost my fat-burning power.
Whatever your approach, experiment with both diet and exercise modifications and see how your body and mind respond.