Stuck in a Weight-Loss Rut? Here's How to Pull Out of It

Have you recently hit a weight-loss rut?

Do you feel like you are doing everything right but the scale just isn’t budging? 

Weight loss can feel like a huge uphill battle for many.  Often, when we start a diet or a new program to help us achieve our goal, the weight tends to come off faster in the beginning. Then, after a few weeks or even months, we hit a plateau and find ourselves no longer losing even though we feel we are still doing everything right.  

This plateau in weight loss can be the moment where we either stick with it and continue to our goal weight OR we give up.  

Usually, it is the latter because we start listening to the internal chatter of “this is too hard” or “what’s the point, I might as well be eating my ice cream if I can’t lose any more on this diet". 

Here are a few helpful ways to break through that weight-loss rut. 

1. Re-evaluate and recommit your reason for wanting to lose weight

We all want instant gratification, but the truth is, weight loss takes time and effort. It is all about making progress each day and not worrying so much about how long it takes you to get all the weight off.  Your “why”, the reason for wanting to lose the weight needs to be strong. It isn’t just about the number on the scale or looking good in a swimsuit, there is more to it than that.  What is your why?  Is it to be a healthy role model for your kids?  A strong reason keeps us going through the toughest times.

2. You have relaxed more than you realized with your eating

When we first start a diet or weight loss program, we are gung-ho and excited. We are strict with sticking to it to a T and keeping our focus on our goal. Over time, we get comfortable and a little more lax with our eating habits.  We start to get thoughts like “I can get away with a little bit more on my plate” or “this small bite of food here won’t make a huge difference”.   We see the scale going down and we think, “it will still go down if I indulge occasionally”. 

3. You are snacking without realizing it

While your meals may still be fantastic and your portions great, small bites here and there can add up fast. For example, moms will often take a few bites off of their kid's plates or finish their leftovers even though they just ate their own meal. Really check in with any food that isn’t part of your actual meal. Do you really need that snack? Are you nibbling here and there mindlessly? 

4. You’re not eating balanced meals

A balanced meal is your friend. It helps with hunger, cravings, and keeps us feel satisfied longer.  When it comes to weight loss, focusing on protein can be very helpful. First off, it is the most filling of all three macronutrients. This means that if most meals have a lean protein in it, you will feel full longer and not need to eat as much for the day.  The other two macronutrients are carbs and fats. Let’s think about carbs as whole grains and veggies here.  Having lots of fiber in your meal from leafy greens/starchy veggies/or brown rice will also help you feel full longer.  Lastly, we have fats. Fats are a necessary nutrient and we want to have them in our meals BUT we don’t need to eat tons of fat. The reason is that fat is much higher in calories. Yes, it is great for you but it also can make a salad go from healthy to over 1,000 calories.  For instance, 1 gram of protein OR 1 gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories. Whereas 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. So when it comes to creating and portioning your meal, focus on veggies and proteins and keep the fats light.  This includes oils, nuts, nut butters, cheeses/dairy, dressings, and avocados. to just name a few. 

5. You aren’t tracking your eating

We don’t have to count calories to lose weight BUT we do still need to be aware of our eating habits.  Tracking your eating by counting calories is one way to go. You can also just keep a food journal without calories to help you see what you eat, how much you eat, and to notice times where you might eat when you aren’t even hungry. By tracking your food each day, you become aware of what could be getting in the way of weight loss. Could it be larger portions? Mindlessly nibbling between meals? Unbalanced meals leading to cravings?  Not getting enough sleep?

If you are stuck in a weight-loss rut I challenge you to do the following four things for one full week and see how easy it is to pull out of a weight-loss rut and get back on track to reaching your goals.

  1. Create a strong why for weight loss
  2. Log everything you eat/drink that has a calorie 
  3. Check in to make sure you are only eating when hungry and stopping when full
  4. Create or choose balanced meals with a focus on veggies and lean proteins

Meaghan is an outdoor enthusiast who found her passion while traveling Europe. A Certified Holistic Health Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer, she specializes in guiding men and women to transition from autopilot to intuitive eating and exercise by focusing on the mind-body connection and self-love.
Read more blogs from Meaghan Mcelroen

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