Weight loss Plateau

Are you stuck in a weight loss rut? The kind that feels like all the exercise and diet routine that helped you melt pounds away in the past suddenly doesn’t seem to be budging the scale much anymore.

Five women Who took the Woman’s Day Live Longer and Stronger Challenge, and have been making over their heart health under the supervision of WD contributor and nutrition expert Joy Bauer, R.D.N., know what it is like to hit a brick wall.

Here are their tips and tricks for overcoming plateaus.

1. Set definitive short-term goals.

This is something all the challenge participants agree on: Knowing what you want to achieve week-to-week or month-to-month will help you reach your goal at the end.

2. Share your goals with someone.

Telling friends and family what you want to achieve will give you more accountability to stay on track.

– Dominique Iboyi, 31

3. Increase activity.

You already know about the benefits of exercise. It increases many different metabolic processes (like your heart rate), all of which burn extra calories, and aerobic activities like running or bike riding keep your metabolism humming at a higher speed for hours after you finish, which burns even more cals. Our Live Longer & Stronger challengers are already logging at least 10,000 steps daily or doing some other form of activity, but to bust through a plateau, you may need to step it up and go above and beyond.

—Bauer


4. Change it up.

Lift weights three times a week? Add the elliptical. Eat oatmeal every day? Try egg whites and veggies, instead. Mixing up your daily routine will keep things interesting and make you likelier to stay on track. 

Tina Hoffman, 54

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5. Boost your metabolism.

Your metabolism naturally slows down as you lose weight, which can make it harder or take longer to meet your weight loss goals. Good news: Exercise can keep it stoked. On top of the cardio you’re probably already doing, consider adding two to three days of strength training with weights. Strength training helps to preserve and build muscle, which gives your metabolism the lift it needs. —Bauer

6. Make yourself a priority.

Eating healthier and exercising more can be time-consuming, but setting aside enough time for yourself is important to lead a healthier lifestyle. 

Christie Jones, 40

7. Keep a food log.

After following a diet for awhile, we tend to loosen up and begin to grab this and that — it’s amazing how much extra food we can munch on without realizing it! Eat mindfully and keep a food log for accountability (try it for a week) if you’re not already doing so. Pay attention to your beverages (alcohol, sugary drinks, and even what’s going into your coffee and tea), which might be adding more calories to your diet than you think. And reconnect with your measuring cups and food scale — most people routinely underestimate portion sizes, which might further pad your calorie intake. —Bauer

8. Remember that your body is unique.

Don’t compare your weight loss journey to anyone else’s — everyone loses weight at their own pace, and nobody’s experience is quite the same.

Melissa Oakley, 51

9. Drink two cups of water before meals.

Water is essential for a healthy metabolism. In fact, about 60% of your body is water, so you need an adequate H20 intake to ensure your body functions properly. A simple strategy to stay hydrated is to drink two cups before you sit down to each meal — this boosts your hydration and will even help you eat less by taking the edge off your hunger. —Bauer

10. Don’t expect instant gratification.

Commit to the process. When the scale doesn’t reflect your hard work, remember that losing weight isn’t instantaneous, it’s a process.

Marilyn Giles-Arnold, 64

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