I see lots of people who reach a weight loss plateau and become very frustrated, defeated. Everyone’s bodies are different and we really need to honor our body. Pushing it too much can backfire. Our dieting world imposes lots of guilt, shame, and judgment. This only leads to weight gain since negative emotions often result in emotional eating and the body slows down metabolism when we feel more stressed.
It’s typical that the first few weeks, we see rapid weight loss. As we consume fewer calories, the body gets energy from glycogen, a type of carbohydrate. Glycogen is part water so our weight loss is mostly water loss. As you lose more weight, you start to loss muscle too, along with fat. Muscles help keep the rate of metabolism up. Unfortunately, this means that as you lose weight (and lose muscle), your metabolism declines burning fewer calories than when you were heavier. This is why we reach a plateau.
To lose more weight, we need to increase our physical activity or decrease calories consumed but be careful not to go too low. We don’t want to freak the body out and prompt it to store fat because we are eating too little. Always be kind to your body by providing love and patience. Here are a few tips to overcome weight loss plateaus:
- Assess habits: Yo-yo dieting contributes to plateaus. Make sure you do things that allows you to be consistent, not all-or-nothing. Are you underestimating how much you eat, overestimating how healthy you eat, and overestimating how much you exercise? Add lots of vegetables, complex carbs, and minimal processed foods.
- Check workout: Start with baby steps but we really need to move daily. 30 minutes or more would be ideal. Don’t forget to build muscle as that helps with chomping up fat.
- More action: Increase activity throughout the day, not just when you’re at the gym. Walk more, drive less. More stairs, less elevator. Clean your house vigorously, do yard work, dance around, pace while on the phone, play, etc.
- Enjoy your body here and now. When you’re calm about weight loss, provide the body what it needs, then all becomes easy. This is said by so many of my clients who feel like they “just don’t even try anymore, it’s easy.”
Whatever you do, don’t give up and have “the hell with it” attitude. Minor weight loss improves chronic health issues. Make sure your weight loss goals are realistic and please celebrate.
If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.
~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA