Breaking Your Plateau: How To Get Unstuck

Man doing a different workout to break weight loss plateau.

HAVE YOU HIT A WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAU?

Does this sound familiar? You’ve been working your tail off. You’re consistent. You go to the gym religiously. Your food is in check. You’re drinking enough water and journaling every crumb that goes in your body and every calorie that is burned. This time you’re going to do it! The first few weeks you saw results and you were so motivated, right? And then the results started tapering off even though you were dedicated and sticking to your plan. All of a sudden, your progress came to a halt. So now what?

I’ve been there! I feel your pain. I used to struggle with my weight and weight loss and balancing my hormones. I’ve struggled with performance improvements in sports – plateaus aren’t just for weight loss. I’m a female in my early 40s and changes don’t come as easily as they used to. Ugh! That being said, the good news is that I’ve overcome a plateau (or two) before so I have experience in breaking the plateau and forging ahead. And I’ve worked with a ton of our fitness retreat clients to break their plateaus. Luckily, this is not the end of progress for you. You might have to make some changes and dig deep but you can do it. You just need to know where to begin.

Man trying to break plateau with workout.

BREAK YOUR PLATEAU WITH CHANGE

*Before you choose one of the following, please see the steps HOW to break your plateau below.

What You Eat – What and how much you eat plays a major role in your weight loss success. Consider the following:

  • Are you eating the correct amounts for fat loss or strength gains or for performance improvement

  • Are you eating too little when your workload is heavy?

  • Are you always eating the SAME foods? Believe it or not, eating the same things all of the time can prevent your body from continuing to change. It’s best to rotate nutrients – all nutrients.

  • Are you eating the correct ratio of macronutrients?

  • Are you eating too little most of the time in general?

All of these things can be easy ways for your body to stall. In my private coaching, I teach how to understand and apply this information and translate into habits you can use in your everyday life.

These portion control containers can help you get the hang of how much to eat…

How You Eat – How you eat is just as important as what you eat. What do I mean by that?

  • When was the last time you actually tasted what you ate?

  • Did you chew your food for long enough for it to almost become a liquid? Did you know that your body doesn’t really know what to do with large particles of food that you don’t chew? Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva. If you’re shoveling food down your throat, not chewing and not tasting, chances are you’re missing one of the crucial parts of digestion. This is just one simple example of how you eat and how important that can be.

Change Your Workouts – The same rule of change applies with workouts. If you’re always doing the same workouts, chances are you’ll stop changing.

  • Try a new class.

  • Run instead of walk.

  • Add intervals.

  • Try Tabata.

  • Ramp up the intensity or change the duration of your workouts. Add in core work, balance work or dance.

Make your body move in different ways that it normally doesn’t so you can ignite that change fire again!

Back Off – Maybe you need a break. Sometimes, a break (more than 1 day off – 2 or 3 would be optimal) can do the body good. Rest, recover and repair. If you’re feeling tired, lethargic, extra hungry or lacking strength, you might want to consider a break. If you’re not willing to take a break, add in a day of super easy recovery work like stretching, foam rolling, light yoga or dynamic flexibility.

Add In Stress Reduction – Ah…STRESS! Stress can literally make you gain weight. The more stressed you are, the stronger your stress response. Cortisol, just to name one hormone, can be produced in excess during times of high stress. It causes weight gain in the mid section. Truthfully, there are so many hormones involved that any imbalance can lead to stagnation or weight gain. Try adding in light meditation, massage or yoga to relax and recover. Essential oils are also a fantastic way to relax. Diffuse some lavender oil in your home to induce relaxation.

Hydration – I’ve probably said this at least 10,000 times to clients over the years. Drink your water! Dehydration can lead to a host of issues. The most common problem is water retention. When your body doesn’t know if it will be fully hydrated, it reacts by holding onto water to save for later (emergency mode). In addition, your body must be fully hydrated to process food into energy you can use efficiently. Water also impacts output or energy expenditure. You can not possibly work at 100% if you’re dehydrated. So drink up consistently through the day. Drinking water too much too fast can be detrimental to your hydration. I suggest getting a water bottle that you can use to measure how much water you’ve had each day. I use a 22 ounce glass water bottle. I fill it up 5 times per day (you may not need as much water as me) so I know I’ve had enough.

If You’re Not Strength Training – ADD IT IN NOW! Your muscle mass will fuel your metabolism. Plus, you’ll burn calories for a longer period of time after your workout if you work out intently enough. I find that many people love to do cardio but they omit strength training. It’s not only important for your metabolism but also for your bone density. If you’re not sure what to do, hire a trainer or go to a class like Body Pump® to get your weight workout in.

Supplementation – Believe it or not, vitamins, minerals, omega-3s, antioxidants and phytonutrients are incredibly important for so many cellular functions in the body. A basic supplementation regimen may be what you need to get going again. I supplement my daily nutrition with a food based multi vitamin (vitamins and minerals), omega 3 supplement (to round out all of my fats) and a scoop of amazing grass (additional grasses and phytonutrients). You may not need all of those supplements or not be able to tolerate them due to medication/drug/vitamin interaction. It’s always important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new supplements.

Are You Really In A Plateau? – Are you measuring (not just weighing) and recording your 2 week measurements? Are you measuring other goals like speed, strength or cardiovascular improvements? Have you tracked your energy, mood and any digestion issues to food? Sometimes change is slow…not stalled so make sure you’re taking into account whether or not you’re truly stuck.

This 16 Week Journal can be a life saver when it comes to organizing and tracking your goals!

Get Real – Are you really, truly doing the work? I’m not saying you aren’t but what I’m saying is let’s have a serious reality check. It takes a huge amount of effort to see results. You can plan to screw up about 10% of the time but the other 90% needs to be hard work, clean eating and rest and recovery. 10% would equal about 2 meals that wouldn’t be so healthy or maybe you had a glass of wine or two. So go back and make sure that you’re really as dedicated as you think you are.

HOW TO BREAK YOUR PLATEAU

  1. Set realistic goals. Set goals you can actually achieve. If you’re not sure exactly how to do that, we’ve got a 5 step plan for you – How To Set Weight Loss Goals You Can Actually Achieve.

  2. Choose 1 Method. Don’t change everything all at once. Choose 1 method to break your plateau. Maybe it’s from the list above or maybe you have an idea of what you want to change. Either way, choose 1 method to start. It’s extremely difficult to tell what might or might not be working when you change multiple things at once.

  3. Track your progress. Choose 1 method above and track your progress with a journal or journal app. This way you’ll be able to tell if it’s actually working.

  4. Be patient. Yes, you need to be patient. You’ll need to track your progress for at least 2 weeks if not more like 4 – 6 weeks to determine whether or not the method you’ve chosen is working.

  5. Get help. If you still feel stuck, choose a different method and track it or sign up for our Health & Wellness Coaching to get professional guidance.

 

I hope this helps get you on your way to breaking your plateau! It can be extremely frustrating but consistency is the key to change – remember that. Anything you do, do it for long enough to see the difference and measure if there is any change. Stay the course!

Best In Health & Wellness,

Margot + The Vita Vie Retreat Team