- Am I building muscle? It is typical for dieters to lose muscle when they lose weight. But your metabolism slows when you lose muscle, so you want to keep as much muscle as possible. One way to do this is by weight training. Quick fix: Make sure that at least two of your weekly workouts include strength training. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a body builder, but simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups and lunges will help you maintain a healthy body composition.
- Am I eating enough protein? Protein has been shown to mitigate some of the metabolic adjustments that happen when you lose weight. Researchers believe this is because protein helps us to maintain the muscle we have and build new muscle. Quick fix: Evaluate the nutrient balance of your current diet. Make sure that you are getting enough protein to adequately build the muscle you need to maintain a healthy metabolism.
- Should you re-evaluate your goal? It is frustrating when you hit a weight loss plateau, but it might be a good time to re-adjust your goal. Maybe your current weight is healthy. How do you like your current body size? Could you stay where you are and be happy in the maintenance phase? Quick fix: If you decide that you still want to lose more weight, set new short-term goals to keep yourself invested in the program. Evaluate your successes and ask yourself how you can raise the bar to include new achievements.
- Am I still motivated? Are you still as motivated as you were on day one? Probably not. Every dieter goes through a honeymoon phase and the phase that follows usually includes the plateau. This is when reality sets in and we get lazy about making healthy choices throughout the day. Your new short-term goal may help to get you reinvested in your plan, but you can also use new motivational techniques. Quick fix: take the time to acknowledge and be proud of your progress so far. A plateau is really a badge of honor, so give yourself some credit! Then, don’t hesitate to set up new rewards for yourself to keep your plan on track.
- Are there medical factors at play? Plateaus are normal and almost every successful dieter hits one. But if you have gone through this list and none of it applies to you, it may be time to check in with your doctor. There may be a medical cause for the lack of weight loss. Quick fix: After you’ve tried all of these quick fixes, make an appointment to talk to your doctor. New diet medications are on the market that may work for certain people and weight loss surgery may be an option for you as well.
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