Are you eating well AND working out, but not seeing the progress you want? It happens and I know from experience, it’s sooo frustrating! Before you give up altogether and go elbow deep into the ice cream pint, there are a couple of things to know.
1. Hitting a progress wall, though frustrating, is not actually a bad thing.
When progress seems to come to a screeching halt, it means that there has been significant progress. It means that you’ve made drastic changes in your lifestyle but your body has grown accustomed to them.
Acknowledge and appreciate the changes you’ve made. Maybe you started eating cleaner, greener, foods, or you finally started consistently going to the gym. These are great things! Don't let a number on a scale make you think otherwise.
2. Plateaus may be frustrating, but they are not impossible to overcome!
A body plateau refers to a period of time in which your body no longer responds the same way to your fitness or diet routine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Our bodies are SMART!” They are perfect functioning machines. When our body senses drastic change, it automatically begins to adjust. Plateaus are the results of our body’s impressive (but sometimes irritating) ability to adjust to change.
Please pause for a brief science intermission: Body mass is the major factor that determines your body’s basal metabolic rate, or resting metabolism. When you reduce your body’s mass through exercise, your basil metabolic rate also declines. Your body burns fewer calories at rest, and weight loss tends to slow or stop completely.
Fear not! There are ways to kick this back into high gear. The most common plateau cause is consistently doing the same type of exercise. As a running fanatic myself, I experienced this firsthand. When I was only running, 5+ times a week, of course it made a huge difference at first. Running is a great workout, and I burned a lot of calories in a short window. However, my plateau arrived with a vengeance. While I saw significant progress in my legs, for example, the rest of my body was lack luster.
Variety in your fitness routine is crucial. In order to avoid or break through your plateau, you want to target different parts of your body by mixing up your fitness routine. This will “shock” your body and prevent it from adjusting accordingly, aka the dreaded plateau.
Knowing this, take a look at your diet and exercise routine. Is it varied enough? Are there things you can add in to help counteract the progress rut?