No matter how hard you’ve been working to lose weight, it’s common to hit a plateau or lose motivation. When this happens, first, remember not to beat yourself up. You’ve likely come a long way already and now it’s time to take a step back and refocus.
Here, five tips to help you restart your weight-loss routine when things get tough:
Your intention is exactly what you want to achieve and how it makes you feel. Ideally, condense it into one concise sentence you can remember — sort of like a mantra. Make sure to write it as if you’ve already achieved it, so when you’re reading it each day, you truly get a sense for how you’ll feel once you reach your goal. For example, “I lost 20 pounds and I have more energy than ever.” Take a minute every morning to read your intention, which can provide extra motivation. One study showed believing you will be successful in losing weight resulted in greater success.
After you’ve set your intention, grab your computer or a notebook and write a detailed plan that sets you up for success. How many times a week will you exercise? What meals will you eat? When will you grocery shop? Who will cheer you on? The more detailed you can make this plan, the better. Keep a few copies around so you always know where to turn.
Losing weight can be hard if you don’t have people around to help support you and keep you accountable. Identify the people in your life whom you can lean on during your weight-loss journey. If you don’t want to involve anyone you already know, check with your local gym, visit meetup.com or even search to see if there might be a Facebook group that fits your needs.
It’s possible your weight loss plateaued because of a factor you weren’t aware of. A habit tracker such as MyFitnessPal can help you pinpoint the cause by logging your food. You can also track other factors such as your sleep and mood. After a few weeks you’ll probably start to see patterns and areas for improvement you may not have otherwise noticed.
Stress has a bigger effect on our bodies than most of us realize. When we’re feeling bogged down, our body increases its production of cortisol, which can increase fat storage. If you think stress might be the culprit, try meditating or a relaxing activity such as reading or going for a short walk.