6 Tips for Staying Motivated When You’ve Hit a Weight-Loss Plateau
Plateaus in weight loss are normal, but no one ever said they were fun. Here’s how to stay motivated and on track when you’re not feeling love from the scale. By: Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
March 08, 2015
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Take a step back, and look at all the progress you’ve made that the scale doesn’t measure. Are your clothes looser, or have you been able to go down in size? Have you lost inches from your waist? Are you able to exercise longer or harder now? Jot down a list of these accomplishments to pull out when you get frustrated with the scale.
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If your plan includes both diet and exercise, you’ve likely made improvements to your overall health that you can see in blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, or reductions in medicine. Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? All of these results are just as important—if not more important—than the number on the scale. So don’t take your hard work for granted.
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It’s normal to get comfortable in a routine, but don’t get so comfortable that you become less diligent with portion sizes or exercise. Assess your daily habits by journaling your food intake and exercise for a few days. You may find an area or two where you can improve, or you may get confirmation that you are doing everything right and just need to continue with it.
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Shake It Up
If you can’t find any issues in your journal that might be slowing weight loss, then look for ways to shake up your workout. The body adapts to usual patterns of activity, so it may be time for a change if you’ve been doing the same routine. If you’re a walker or runner, try incorporating intervals by changing up speed and inclines, or try a new sport or fitness class—anything to get you out of your workout comfort zone.
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Instead of focusing on your weight, concentrate on another health measure such as steps taken or miles walked each day. Pedometers are the least expensive devices to measure steps, but high-tech gadgets such as the Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone UP24 band measure all-day activity in various forms. They also allow you to set challenges for yourself and compete with friends, which can be a healthy and much-needed distraction from the scale.
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Remember that the reason you’ve hit a plateau is because of the weight-loss success you’ve had so far. New dieters don’t have plateaus; those who’ve been successful do. If the scale is stressing you out, take a two to four week break from it. Focus instead on your eating, activity, how you feel, and how your clothes fit to keep you on track.