With the end of the year — and the decade — not too far off, those New Year’s resolutions can’t be far behind. You’re probably thinking of a new plan to get to a healthier weight but at some point you find you’ve hit a plateau and just can’t seem to lose any more weight.
Weight loss plateaus are very common but they can be so frustrating you may feel like giving up.
Before you do that, here are 10 tips to consider as you probe what might be contributing to the stall in your goal.
1. Review your habits.
Make sure you haven’t slowly reverted back to some of your old habits, like eating larger portions, stopping at the coffee shop for a mocha grande and a muffin, or deciding to skip your exercise routines. An honest review may find that the relaxation of some of your good habits is contributing to your plateau.
2. Incorporate lean proteins at each meal or as snacks.
Protein foods suppress ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite. Foods high in fat actually raise this hormone, causing increased hunger. And eating meals or snacks that are mostly carbohydrate often make people feel hungry shortly after eating. It’s the protein foods that really help to keep people feeling full.
3. Step it up.
To burn more calories, increase your workout by 15 minutes, add another day to your weekly routine, or increase the intensity of your exercise. Try alternating intervals of high and moderate intensity. Add strength training to increase your muscle mass which will help burn more calories even at rest. And to give your muscles a new challenge, vary your physical activity. Check out our Exercise Well video series for step-by-step workouts.
4. Think outside the gym.
Increase your general activity throughout the day by walking more, using your car less, taking the stairs, doing more gardening and yard work, and cleaning your house.
5. Use an activity tracker to track your steps.
10,000 steps a day is the goal for overall good health, but you may need to aim for 12,000 to 15,000 for weight loss.
6. Be careful about cutting too many calories.
Lowering your caloric intake is important for weight loss, but make sure you’re not going below 1,400 calories if you’re a woman or 1,700 calories if you are a man.
7. Get seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night.
Turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before bed. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature. Go to bed at the same time every night.
8. Manage stress eating.
Use a distracting activity like drinking a cup of hot tea, going for a walk, calling a friend, or writing in a journal. Cravings usually only last about 45 minutes. If you distract yourself, you should find you’ve gotten past them without the need to stress eat.
9. Watch restaurant overeating.
Share food with a friend or order a takeout container with your meal; put half your food in the container before you start eating and you have lunch for tomorrow!
10. Reassess your weight goal.
If you’ve tried all these tips and you still are unable to lose more weight, you may want to revisit your weight-loss goal. Celebrate the success you’ve had and the weight you’ve lost. Perhaps the number you’re striving for is unrealistic for you. Consider a consult with a registered dietitian to discuss your concerns.
Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition.