Today’s post is brought to you by my friend Becky, who blogs over at Simply Intentional Life. She blogs about saving money, health, and even has free budget sheets available over on her blog!
If you have ever tried to lose weight in the past, you are probably familiar with the dreaded weight loss plateau. In a nutshell, a weight loss plateau is when you have successfully lost weight but then can’t seem to lose anymore.
It is incredibly frustrating and overwhelming. I have seen this in a lot in women when they are trying to lose the last 10-15 pounds. They feel so close to their weight loss goal, yet so far away because nothing seems to be working when they hit a plateau
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to aid in your weight loss efforts.
Take a deep breath.
First, understand that it happens to everyone and the more stressed out you feel about it, the more likely you are to keep ahold of the weight. Stress actually impedes weight loss so the best thing you can do is look at the situation in a pragmatic way. Don’t get down on yourself because you are already doing a great job.
Keep a food diary.
If you haven’t kept a food diary up until this point or you have slacked off on the food diary a little, start/go back to a food diary. It will help you understand everything that is going into your body. You may be getting some hidden calories in your diet that you weren’t aware of and it may be as simple as cutting out a few calories.
Even if you have been on the mark with your diet, it is a good way to see if you need more variety. Our bodies can get used to the food we eat and our metabolisms may slow down if we aren’t changing up the foods in our diet.
Eat more fiber.
There is a common misconception that when you are dieting that you have to eat less. Don’t do this! Your body is craving the right foods and the right mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. When you are trying to lose the weight, especially the last 15 pounds, make sure you are keeping up with your fiber intake. Fruits and vegetables are the best type of fiber you can eat. Make sure your diet is plentiful with a good variety of these.
Consider any medications you are taking that may cause weight gain
I recently coached a girl who was trying to lose the last 5-10 pounds and she had been working at it for months. She eats well, she exercises and she just wants to lose the last few pounds. When I saw her food diary, it was very well balanced.
We started going over her medications and exercise schedule and she told me that she noticed that when she stops taking her birth control that she loses at least 3-4 pounds.
I personally feel that it makes sense that birth control could add a little weight and it is a side effect listed for most types of birth control. If you feel like you have seen the same pattern, talk to your doctor about trying a different birth control. There are tons out there and it may be worth a shot. I will say that this is a rare side effect especially with oral birth control, but I still can happen.
Vary your exercise routine
Here is the other big thing I noticed when I coached the same young girl. She exercised 6 days per week including weight training. She was lifting pretty heavy weights and that will make a difference if you are actually trying to lose weight. Here is what I want you to know about weight lifting though
Weight lifting is so good for women.
It helps prevent osteoporosis, helps balance, and makes you look toned. It is a really great form of exercise…. But, if you are weight lifting, you probably won’t lose too much weight doing it especially when you are down to the last few pounds. If you want to lean out a bit more, cut down to 2 days per week with weights and opt for some Yoga or Pilates or even increase your cardio.
Having said all of the above, the number on the scales is just a number. Don’t make it the number that defines how you feel about yourself. If you feel healthy, you are fueling your body well, and you are exercising, that is the most important thing. (Ok, rant over!)
The girl in particular that I mentioned above- she was doing a mix of running and lifting and we came to the conclusion that she needed to cut down on her lifting just a little to 2 days per week and add some Yoga in 1-2 days per week instead.
Yoga has so many benefits. It is great for stress relief, increased flexibility, muscle tone and so much more. Try Yoga if you are struggling to lose the last 15 pounds.
If you haven’t been exercising at all, I would try to add in some cardio 3 days per week.
Eat small frequent meals.
I generally tell people that they should be eating 5-6 times per day and there are a few big reasons for this. First, you don’t have a chance to get super hungry and overeat at meal times. Second, it keeps your metabolism steadily burning calories. I usually recommend about 300-400 calories for meals and 100-150 calories for snacks for moderately active women.
Eat more protein.
Increase plant-based protein in your diet. The great thing about plant-based protein is there is usually a really good mix of healthy protein and fats, especially in nut butter. Other great sources of plant protein are edamame, tofu, nuts, chia seeds, beans, tempeh, and lentils. Eating more protein keeps you fuller longer and helps the sugar cravings.
Watch the sweets intake.
Make sure you are eating sweets in moderation and if you can help it, opt for sweets that are low calorie. I was addicted to sugar in the past and I found several ways to reduce the sugar craving. The thing that worked the best for me was finding lower calorie healthy sweet snacks to help me reduce my sugar intake. Try this if you find yourself indulging in too many sweets.
Make sure you are limiting alcohol consumption.
Alcohol adds calories to your diet. If you drink wine, it is being metabolized as sugar so keep that in mind if you are trying to lose weight. Beer is also metabolized the same fashion.
Make sure you are drinking enough water.
Water is important to flush out your body. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water per day
Finally, make sure you make adjustments and try them for about 2 weeks before adjusting your routine again. You likely won’t notice a huge difference even the first week of varying exercise or eating different foods. Give it a little time and then try something else. Don’t give up. I know it is frustrating, but keep at it and will find what works and what doesn’t!
Becky Wolfe is a blogger at Simply Intentional Life where she helps women become more intentional with their health, money and life. She believes every woman should pursue her passion and create the life they want. She is a Mom of 2 young boys and works part-time as a Physician Assistant.
Health Guide for the Budgeter
Over the next 5 days, you'll learn how to eat healthy and exercise on a budget, why your health matters, and a way of thinking that helps people lose weight successfully.