When the goal is to get lean and lose weight, it's easy to become fixated on that goal. It's measurable and transparent. But weight loss is rarely linear; the scales probably won't show a loss every week, and it can be discouraging when that's your marker for success. It's essential to have a way to stay committed to weight loss when the scale isn't moving as quickly as you'd like.
Just because the scale hasn't caught up doesn't mean you haven't lost weight. There are lots of reasons why the scale might not yet reflect your fat loss. You may need to use the bathroom. Perhaps it's hormonal where your body is holding onto water because it's that time of the month. Or maybe because you ate later (or a saltier, or more carbohydrate-heavy meal) than usual the night before.
None of these explanations is a problem either; you don't need to start using laxatives or banning bread from your diet, just knowing that there are dozens of reasons that the scale might not show a loss. Remember the scale only indicates your overall mass - not your body fat, muscle density, or worth as a human being. That said, there are a few ways you can feel more committed to weight loss when scale losses have slowed down. Let's dig into 5 strategies that can help.
#1. Reframe Your Thinking
If you're feeling like you've failed because you're not losing consistently every week and it's taking too long to get to your goal, remember that you didn't gain weight overnight either. Lasting weight loss, like any change, takes time, and requires time to adjust your lifestyle to the new ways of eating, tracking and possibly exercise that you're trying to make part of your routine.
Recognise that there are lots of ways to find progress other than just the scale too. Perhaps you could focus on the behaviours, such as cooking more often at home, or going to the gym three times after work this week and looking forward to it - where before it felt like a chore. There are so many changes happening when you're losing weight, that only considering the scale ignores the vast majority of what you're achieving.
#2. Rest And Recover
our body will struggle to lose body fat when you're stressed because your biology is putting effort into dealing with those stressors. Understand that intensively exercising is another form of stress for your body. It doesn't distinguish between "healthy" stress like exercise and "unhealthy" stress like a difficult time at work. Your body treats all stress the same.
Stress also disrupts sleep - both quality and quantity - and being inadequately rested is more likely to cause you to overeat and make less optimal food choices. So rather than pushing hard and overtraining, consider giving your body a rest. Allow more sleep for a few nights or a week, eat slightly more food and spend time engaging in activities that bring you joy whether that's attending a dance class, walking in the forest or socialise with your friends. You can always return to the aggressive dieting phase when other life stresses have settled down.
Dramatic calorie reduction will help you lose weight. Still, to sustain it long term, there need to be fundamental changes to your lifestyle. You can't solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created that problem. It takes a long time to adjust these lifestyle factors because they've been ingrained over many years of unconscious behaviour.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, you might consider focusing on changing one thing at a time until that feels easy to maintain (e.g. including one more vegetable with your evening meal) and only then introducing a new habit.
#4. Stay Focused On Your "Big Why"
Your "Why" was the driving force in getting you started with weight loss in the first place. It could be an internal goal, such as wanting to have more energy to play with your children - or an external target, such as wanting to look your best on your wedding day. There's no right or wrong goal, but it will be something that you can return to and feel motivated by when you feel fed up and think about quitting.
#5. Practice Self Care
Intentional, appropriate movement is a way of expressing respect for your body. Choosing the right type of training that aligns with how your body feels on any given day will achieve just that. You can also reward yourself for small achievements by purchasing new gym gear or a new set of workout headphones. Listen to the music that gets your mojo going, feel free to cultivate your workout playlist carefully.
When it comes to your nutrition plan, understand that no food needs to be off-limits in a well-balanced diet unless you have a medical problem that requires a specific diet. Eating mindfully, and in moderation, is an excellent way to stay on a diet without being too restrictive.
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