Guest Post by Sarah Williams
Please welcome guest blogger Sarah Williams with some great suggestions for a frustrating situation: the dreaded weight loss plateau!
As usual, the theoretical author of this blog, Crabby McSlacker, is off doing other things besides writing blog posts. This may or may not involve travel to a major metropolis, and some half-assed futzing around on her novel-in-progress (which, in a shocking development, is going Really F–cking Slowly). Plus she has lately been distracted by some real-estate wheeling and dealing, which could be potentially quite exciting! On the other hand, Crabby has watched enough HGTV to know that the whole shebang could fall through once the house inspector arrives, so she prefers not to jinx things just yet by going public about the details. But either way, triumph or bitter disappointment, she will be back with more blog posts at some point before too long, as she misses everyone and want’s to find out what you’re all up to!–Crabby
We’ve all been there, standing stark naked on top of our scale staring in agony as, for the second week in a row, the numbers haven’t budged. Like many of my girlfriends, when this happens I often throw my hands in the air yelling some type of profanity and hop off, grab a towel, and head downstairs for a couple frozen waffles with extra syrup. Because who is going to pick a banana and almond milk smoothie over the delicious aroma of an Eggo when it’s doing nothing for the scale?
Am I right? The problem is, I don’t stop with the Eggo. I toast another one and then because I haven’t had protein and am still hungry, I end up blowing through half of my daily calories before the coffee has finished brewing. Sure the scale stood stationary for a week or two, but what I often forget is that though it didn’t change, I did. While the pounds may be stationary, my fat has been busy converting into muscle and my digestive track has been enthusiastic about the huge amount of nutrition I’ve been throwing its way.
A plateau is inevitable in all things.
We experience them in our exercise, diets, workplace successes – you name it. The plateau is a sort of “test”, a limbo where you can hang around and wait to see if anything is going to happen, or you can take the reigns and jump the hurdles to get closer to your finish line. Think of the runner who has been training for a faster time and just isn’t making it. Do they sit on the sofa and say “oh well”, keep doing what they’ve been doing, or change up their routine?
When losing weight, you have to think of yourself as that runner who will make the necessary sacrifices, who will push and challenge themselves, but who loves doing it because they can feel their body getting stronger. Your goal weight is your finish line. The number on the scale that you’re aiming for is your medal. Go get it.
Enjoy the food.
So you’re stuck in a rut, the scale isn’t moving, you’re eating somewhat healthy, exercising moderately, but just not seeing any improvement. The first thing to ask yourself is, are you enjoying the food you’re eating? Are you having fun experimenting with new recipes, trying new produce from your local farmer’s market and trying out local organic restaurants? Or are you begrudgingly eating the same Smart Ones frozen dinner every night? Are you making workout dates with a friend or local running group? Or are you walking on the treadmill at the gym with a scowl on your face. If you chose the latter of either scenario, you’re likely not only going to plateau, but regress.
Maintaining a healthy weight and level of fitness is, and has to be, done with a positive mindset. You have to embrace the body genetics gave you and learn how to forge it into the best one you can have. You have to learn that eating healthy doesn’t just lower your weight, it lowers your cholesterol, blood pressure, risk of heart disease, and cancer. Exercise does the same thing, plus gives you the empowerment that you are strong, and you are able.
Make it fun.
Say cardio isn’t your thing, but you wish it was. Sign up for a 5k. Have a friend sign up for it too. Print out one of the many free online training schedules or sign up for the wildly popular Couch to 5k program. Hold yourself accountable to the training by making walking/ running dates with your workout buddy. It’s a lot harder to skip that workout if you know someone is waiting on you. Spend the time exercising to also catch up on life and reward yourself for your progress. If coffee’s your thing, grab a decaf latte after your final lap. If you’re head over heels for ice cream, pick up a pint of coconut milk ice cream from the supermarket on the way home.
Make the training fun and then ride the wave of excitement from the awesome atmosphere of the race. The great thing about runners is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Bad knees? Sign up for a bike race. Take a group fitness class. Join a swim team (yes they have them for adults too). Get moving doing something you enjoy!
When it comes to eating, you have to make sure you never feel like you are depriving yourself. Strict diets often end in failure because we were made to enjoy good food, enjoy eating and so when we feel like we can’t fully partake of one of life’s greatest pleasures, we get discouraged. Don’t know your way around the kitchen very well? Sign up for a cooking class. Get a friend or relative to join you. Many organic markets and chains now offer wonderful cooking classes for people who are trying to bring health to their plates.
Make a meal plan for your week and stick to it. Fill the spaces with things that you enjoy and can look forward to. Choose foods rich in flavors and experiment with spices which are packed full of nutrition. Don’t fall into the trap of eating the same old bland food over and over again. Fill your refrigerator, cabinets and countertops with healthy, organic, fresh food that will satisfy the craving for good nutrition that your body so desperately craves. Your scale will start moving again, but this time, the right way.
If you get a bad review at work, you don’t quit, you work harder to improve what was wrong. When you reach a point in your relationships where they aren’t growing, you don’t walk away, you work at them. You learn how to add spice and flair and keep them lively. Weight loss should be the same way. Always remember that eating healthy and exercising should be part of who you are, not a quick fix to obtain a lower number on the scale. Weight loss is a journey, not a destination.