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I am sure that like me, many of you had been at that point in your weight loss journey where you feel like the number on the scale is stuck. And that no matter how hard you try to stay on track, you just can’t make any progress. I’ve been there recently, and it is so very discouraging.
Here are some strategies I use when the scales are stuck.
All change takes time
Realize that one or two days of following a healthy eating practice or watching the amount and quality of what you are eating will not create weight loss. It takes time and effort, and unfortunately the process will be much slower than you want it to be. For me, I will sometimes avoid weighing myself because I know I expect to see immediate results, and when they aren’t there I will sometimes give up before really getting started. Be patient and stick with it. The overall goal is to create a new way of living that you will follow for the long term.
Planning is everything
Have a plan or road map to get you through the day or the week. The times that I make an effort to plan ahead for my meals I find it much easier to stay on track. It’s way too easy when I haven’t planned the day to come home exhausted and then find myself ordering or eating out rather than cooking.
Once you have a plan in place, look for ways and strategies to prep ahead. This way you will ensure that if time gets tight you have something already somewhat prepared. I usually set aside a few hours one day over the weekend to cook for the week. Prep ahead lunch or breakfast to take on the go whenever possible.
Focus on all your achievements, not just a change in numbers
Start a “Non-scale victory” Jar. In this jar think of one thing each day that you have done that resulted in a healthy win for the day. It could be as simple as getting 7-8 hours of rest, going for a walk after dinner, or some form of self-care you gave yourself. Over time the jar will fill up, giving you a visual of all your accomplishments.
When the scales get stuck and you begin to get discouraged you can even take out the papers and read through all your wins!!! I think of this as a concrete way to measure your accomplishments and take the focus away from just a number on the scale.
Determine your goals
Spend time thinking on your goals. Ok, so you want to lose 10 pounds. Why? Is it to look good for that vacation you have scheduled in three months? Or is it from a desire to live a healthier lifestyle? Or maybe it’s actually a combination of several goals. Whatever, the reason it is important to know what you want to achieve and why you want it. Once you know what that goal is and understand your why, write it down, and take steps every single day towards achieving it. When the scales get stuck you may need to revisit that goal daily to remind yourself the reasons you should stay motivated.
Break up your goals into smaller pieces
Focus on little changes. Instead of implementing a bunch of changes all at once. Focus on just one thing each day. Today, it may be drinking 6-8 glasses of water. Tomorrow, it may be to move more throughout the day. You may find it helpful to spend a bit more time working on a change or habit. I suggest that instead of focusing on something different every day, pick one or two habits or changes you want to implement and spend the entire week or month just focusing on taking steps toward them. Once you have those changes or new habits formed, add something else. In time, you will look back and be able to see how far you’ve come.
Find a motivation buddy
Share your goals for the day or week with someone you know and trust. Someone who will support you without judgement when you are successful or when you experience setbacks in the day or week. Someone who will also encourage you in a ways that help your motivation.
Be sure that in selecting this person, you choose someone who will not judge you. You certainly don’t need someone else beating you up if you aren’t successful because if you are like me, you are already hard enough on yourself.
For me, when I share my goals daily or weekly with someone else, it also creates a sense of accountability for me. Making me feel more motivated to stay on track.
Practice gratitude for your body
None of us are perfect despite what the media and advertisements show us each day. Be thankful for being alive. Be thankful for the legs that allow you to walk and support your body. Be thankful for the heart that is beating and keeping you alive. As you practice gratitude for what you have, you may discover that you want to take better care of your body. This shift may inspire you to create healthy practices that may or may not lead to weight loss.
Reward yourself for any progress even those non-scale victories
Find a way to reward yourself for achieving goals. Any success is a reason to celebrate. Maybe your celebration is that you won’t give up even if you aren’t seeing things progress quickly. My suggestion is that rewards are not food related. Instead try to find something else that will give you pleasure or joy. Maybe it’s a new pair of yoga pants, a massage, a new book, a visit to the park, or even just taking an hour out of the day to do something you really enjoy.
Try to keep it interesting
It will very hard to stick with anything long-term if you get bored with what you are doing or eating. Look for new recipes, new activities to keep you moving. Variety will help to keep things more stimulating and you will be more likely to not get bored and steer off course.
I love to use Pinterest to find new recipes and this strategy helps to keep me engaged with healthy eating. Bored with your workout? What about taking a yoga class or even a dance class? Any movement is good and sometimes you may need to focus on what you find fun rather than what you think a workout should be.
My hope is that maybe one or several of these strategies will work for you when the scales are stuck. The most important thing to remember though when you feel stuck in your weight loss progress is to keep pushing forward and to make every effort to live a healthy life each day.
What helps you get past weight loss plateaus or those thoughts of giving up? I’d love to hear what you think and what strategies or techniques work for you. Please share them in the comments.
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