If you are experiencing a weight loss plateau or stalled weight loss progress, I've got three reasons why and what to do about it.
There are three things you could be doing right now that are blocking you from that weight-loss breakthrough. If you are in the middle of a weightloss plateau, I've got some strategies to help you breakthrough and reach those weightloss goals you have.
Many of the women that come to me have goals - to lose weight, to lose body fat percentage to build muscle, and to gain confidence and feel good in their clothes - to feel like a sexy badass in whatever they are wearing.
Have you lost weight in the past and stalled out at a specific point? Have you lost weight and then gained it back, and are you starting that journey again? Or maybe you are in the middle of your weight-loss journey, and you just feel like you're stuck? Let’s go through the three things that could be blocking you from that weight-loss breakthrough and how to overcome those roadblocks.
1. Focusing on the damn scale
I say this in the most loving way, but you need to throw that damn scale out the window, even if it's just for a little while. So often there is a certain weight that we think we should reach — whether it’s the right goal or not. Maybe you're trying to finally get below 200 pounds. Many people focus too much on the scale that they end up psyched out about the specific number. What eventually happens is you focus on the number on the scale and you forget EVERYTHING else.
You forget the habits, the long-term game, the sustainability, and the consistency. All you focus on getting to that number on your scale. If you are on a weight-loss journey, and you’re stuck at this plateau, focusing on a number is not going to help you. I'm going to challenge you to stop doing that, and maybe check your weight weekly, every other week, or even monthly.
You can also invest in a smart scale that measures your body fat percentage, muscle mass, and lean mass and syncs to your phone. Then maybe you only look at those percentages monthly instead of your target number on the scale.
The other option is to avoid looking at a scale and take progress pictures or measurements instead. There are other ways you can track your weight-loss progress.
2. Thinking you can just exercise more and eat what you want
Spoiler alert - that does NOT work. Trust and believe I have tried it. It may have worked for me when I was younger but it doesn't work anymore. Unfortunately, food is the key to weight-loss breakthroughs, more than your workouts. Yes, you do need that element of moving your body. Yes, you do need strength training and movement, especially for your mind. Don't get me wrong,if weight loss is a specific goal for you, how you feel in your body is going to make the most difference.
Every coach has a different philosophy and modality around what they teach. I am a huge believer in intermittent fasting. I created a whole online course around it, teaching women how to practice intermittent fasting, which is eating within a specific time window. It's also about what you're eating within that window. For example, we can't just eat Doritos. I wish we could! Your girl loves food more than anybody else out there!
I'm hungry right now just thinking about all the food that I want to eat, but how I feel in my body and how you feel in your body is a direct correlation to your weight loss and physical performance — from the way you look and feel in your clothes, to your confidence, all of it.
Exercising more and eating whatever you want will not work and your body will not love you for it. There is such a thing called overtraining. Your muscles, your joints, and your metabolism will not be happy if you overtrain. So you cannot just exercise your way out of a bad diet.
I don’t intend to induce shame for anybody. I also struggle with this, so you know. All of us struggle with self-sabotage. This is a big one for me; I see this with many of my clients. It is so deep on so many levels. So, what do I mean by self-sabotage?
For example, when you see a whoosh on the scale and you've dropped a couple of pounds or all of a sudden your favorite pants don't fit you anymore - they're way too big. Or maybe your neighbor's like, “Dang, girl, you look good! You've lost some weight! What are you doing? Tell me all your secrets!” you see a win!
Then somehow, subconsciously, you start reverting to your old ways. This is not something that you do intentionally. You're not like, “Okay, I'm gonna self-sabotage now.” Self-sabotage happens under the surface.
This is the easiest way I can describe self-sabotage. The main job of our brain is to keep us alive with as little effort as possible. Your brain is constantly receiving input - is this a threat? Is this dangerous? And that brain of yours always wants to take the path of least resistance just to maintain the status quo.
So when you start to see a change in your body, or to see a new low on the scale, or suddenly be like, Who the hell am I? Who is this person who is saying no to the wine? Your brain will identify this as a threat because this is new energy you have to put out, meaning your brain has to work harder. Since this is a new pattern, your brain is lazy and it just wants to revert to those old ways because they were comfortable and easy.
It's just like how tough it can be walking in the snow with your shoes sinking. But if you walk in someone's footprints the snow is already packed down and it takes less effort to walk through.
Your brain always wants to take the easier route - sitting on the couch and eating a bag of potato chips or going to the drive-through, eating a whole pint of ice cream, drinking too much in one night or deciding we don't want to work out the next day and instead eat carbs all day. We immediately sabotage our progress and then it takes days to get back on track.
So what can you do to help you get over these blocks?
If you're aware that you're focusing on the scale too much, then you can correct your course and quit jumping on the scale so much. You can maybe go from weighing daily to weekly or weekly to monthly. Just knowing that that is a bump in the road ahead, it's going to help you drive the car around that bump.
This applies to self-sabotage, too. Being aware is a normal and natural thing that the brain does. However, if you can be self-aware enough to see it happening, or even to anticipate it to happen like, I've never run in my life, and I just ran a 10k after all this training - your brain will not know what to do with this success so avoid self-sabotage encouraging yourself to hold the course of your health journey and keep doing what you’re doing.
Focus on what you can control
Focus on today. If your goal is to drink water every day, exercise daily, or master your intermittent fasting window, then you focus on that. Trust the habit that you are building, trust the coach you're working with, trust your accountability partner and trust your intuition.
Simply focus on the habit or the task at hand. Don't get overwhelmed. You can be in the present and control your next choice. You can decide what the next piece of food you put in your mouth will be and when you do your workouts.
It's Never too late to Start Again
Veer off course? Get tripped up by one of these roadblocks? Girl it's okay! We all do it. The difference is how fast can you course correct? How quickly can you pull yourself up by the bra straps and start again. Instead of thinking of it as 'starting over' let's think about it as 'starting again.' Much less daunting, huh?
You've got this!! Keep going. Keep trying.
I want you to think about these points and if this is exactly what you needed to hear, then trust that you're right where you need to be. Follow me on Instagram @TheFitLifewithJessica for more health and fitness tips.