I mentioned last week how difficult change can be. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am extremely conservative and love to stay inside my comfort zone, and I will not deny it for a minute. However, there are times when change can be good. One great example is when your weight loss routine is stuck in a rut. Here are 10 ways you can say goodbye to a weight loss plateau.
1. TRY A NEW RECIPE.
Often times when we “diet”, we end up eating the same things over and over. It gets boring, we feel deprived, and eventually we give up. Well, don’t let boredom be the reason you surrender your healthy eating habits. There are numerous healthy recipes at your fingertips. Search Pinterest or Google for “healthy” or “low fat” (fill in food that sounds good) . This week I am trying Grilled Fish Tacos from Old House to New Home.
2. MAKE A NEW PLAYLIST.
Breathe life into an old workout with invigorating music. Listening to a few of your new (or old) favorites can give a boost of energy not just to your exercise routine, but it might also put a spring in your step while cleaning house or walking the dog. I just added “Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer to my playlist; I love the fast lyrics and upbeat tone. I bet I squeeze in a few more reps of whatever I’m doing when it comes on.
3. TRY SOMETHING NEW IN YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE.
Similar to trying a new recipe, switching up your exercise routine can help reinvigorate you. You might check out a new class at the gym, try a new exercise tool (kettlebell, BOSU, resistance band…), a new exercise video, or even new workout clothes or shoes. Even though I love the 21 Day Fix workouts, my muscles need a little jolt, so I am going to try Focus T25 for a while. (Don’t think less of me, but my husband purchased it a year ago, and we only tried it for a few weeks before we gave up.) I know it is going to be tough, but it will be good to surprise my muscles with a new challenge.
4. TRY A DIFFERENT FRUIT OR VEGETABLE.
There is such a wealth of fresh fruits and veggies right now. We currently have the great summer crop, but stores are starting to introduce the fall harvest. Different colors of fruits and vegetables contain different vitamins and provide a variety of health benefits, so if you always eat green, try something red or orange. I tried beets last week; I wasn’t a fan, but at least I tried them. Not sure what I will try this week when I go shopping, but I think I might try to find something in the blue or purple range.
5. REARRANGE YOUR FRIDGE AND PANTRY.
Put healthy food choices at eye-level, front and center. Whether you find yourself famished after a long day or you simply grab food out of boredom, we are more likely to choose what is right in front of us. It is also smart to keep easy-to-grab containers of chopped fruit or veggies in the front of your fridge. I currently have an opened bag of chocolate chips in my refrigerator, but I buried them in the back behind a mound of baggies full of carrots, peppers, cucumbers and jicama. It has worked well so far.
6. SET A GOAL NOT BASED ON WEIGHT.
It is easy to get discouraged when the scale doesn’t reflect a change (or it reveals a change in the opposite direction), but the scale does not know all. If you are increasing your workout routine, you might be adding muscle weight. Your body can be changing for the best, but the change does not show on the scale. So set a goal based on a different measurement tool. Maybe you want to lose a few inches, fit into an old pair of jeans, climb the stairs without breathing heavy, or look down and see your toes (instead of your gut). Set a variety of goals and celebrate your successes, even if the scale says otherwise. It’s not all about the number, it’s about being healthy.
7. EXERCISE AT A DIFFERENT TIME OR IN A DIFFERENT PLACE.
While establishing habits is great, it can also be good to switch things up. If you work out in the morning, try an afternoon or evening. If you exercise in the family room, try a different room in your house or even go outside. The change in routine (scenery, scent, temperature, …) can awaken your senses, making you more “present” in the workout. Maybe you decide you like your original routine best, but you might find your body responds better in a new scenario. Give it a shot.
8. RESET YOUR MIND.
Just like your body can get stuck in a rut, so can your mind. It is easy to feel like nothing is going to change. Look for a positive quote to repeat as a mantra or to just give you a different way of thinking. One quote that has helped me was “I don’t diet. I just eat according to my goals.” It reminds me I am not depriving myself of my favorite foods; I am simply choosing to try new foods to help me change my body.
9. MEASURE AND/OR TRACK YOUR FOOD MORE CAREFULLY.
If you are anything like me, you measure your food diligently for a few weeks, and then you think you have all your portion sizes down pat and you can now eyeball them. I do it all the time. But over time, my eyes get a little lazy, and my portion sizes tend to grow. If you track calories, it is easy to stop writing down everything that goes in your mouth and just mentally add up the calories you consume. Whatever your method is, try to tighten it up and go back to doing what you did when you started. It never hurts to “calibrate” your system . I know I was losing more weight when I measured every colored container and wrote it all down. I got lazy about it, and my weight loss did too. I can now tell you my food journal is back on the top of my desk calling my name all day long.
10. BUDDY UP!
Everything is more fun with a friend. Find someone to join you in your journey. It can be a family member, a colleague, or even an online challenge partner. Share your goals, encourage each other, and check in with one another. I used to run with a friend before work in the morning, and even when I didn’t feel like it, I got out of bed to exercise because I knew she was waiting for me. Just like when I was younger and my mother told me “there is safety in numbers”, there is more success in weight loss when you have a support system. It also makes it more fun.
So there you have it: 10 ways to say goodbye to a plateau and keep moving forward on your weight loss journey. More power to you!
Try one of these tips to give your routine a kick in the heinie. Then come back and let me know how it goes!