Achieving your weight loss dream goal can be challenging at times, especially if the scale won’t budge after a few weeks and you are not sure what to do to improve your results. Am I eating too many carbs? How much protein should I eat to boost my results? Is my Mocha-Frappuccino really slowing my progress? It can be frustrating when you want fast weight loss, but instead it’s slow. And the problem with slow weight loss – even though it can be healthy – is that it feels, well … slow. And when weight loss feels slow, it’s easy to quit.
But here’s the crucial message: don’t let a lack of progress on the scale discourage you from reaching your goal. Let’s explore why the scale might not be moving, alternative ways to measure your success, and how to stay motivated on your journey.
Understanding Weight Loss Plateaus
Water Retention and Muscle Gain: When the scale remains unchanged, it’s essential to consider factors beyond pound loss. Your body may be retaining water, or you might be gaining muscle, which is denser than fat. These factors can mask your progress and make the scale an unreliable measure of your success. Losing fat and gaining muscle leads to being slimmer and leaner – and your clothes fitting better.
Inaccurate reflection of reality: Many home scales (and those in doctor’s offices) don’t differentiate between muscle, fat, bone, or water weight. They just record your overall weight. They offer a simplified view of your body composition and might not accurately represent your health and fitness improvements. Many people weigh more in the evening than in the evening or at certain times of month or after traveling long distances or while taking certain medications, etc. There are many reasons the scale might be temporarily stubborn. A professional Body Composition Analysis can help give you a more exact picture of what is going on at any given time.
The Non-Linear Nature of Weight Loss: Weight loss isn’t a linear process. Your body may lose weight in bursts, and plateaus are a natural part of the journey. In fact, some people lose weight each week and their journey looks like a sloping hill, but others lose weight more like a staircase (their weight will hover and drop, hover and drop). Understanding this can help you stay motivated during challenging times. Remind yourself to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Measure ALL Your Progress
The number on the scale is what motivates most people, of course, but “non-scale” goals can be just as important. How you feel and how your metabolic factors like blood sugar and blood pressure improve are important to your overall wellness and the reason many people want to lose weight in the first place. So, practice becoming aware and congratulate yourself for all your progress. In fact, people who celebrate their “non-scale” progress are more likely to stick to their diet plan and reach their ultimate weight loss goal. Celebrate every achievement, no matter how small, whether it’s losing a pound or walking an extra mile, acknowledge your progress.
Here are some examples of successes you can acknowledge:
- Eating More Healthy Foods
- Reducing Elevated Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure or Cholesterol readings
- Feeling More Focused
- Having More Energy
- Fitting Into Your Clothes Better
- Moving More Easily
- Sleeping Better
- Feeling More Confident
- Gaining A Positive Outlook on Life
- Liking Your Selfies
- Moving Toward Your Goal
Regain Motivation (…Not Weight!)
Here are some tips to help you stay motivated throughout your weight loss journey:
- Set Clear, Realistic Goals: SMART GOALS define your weight loss goals with specificity. SMART goals are “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound”. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” say, “I want to lose 20 pounds in six months.” Instead of saying “I want to look great”, say “I want to go from a size 20 pant to size 18 in 16 weeks”. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration.
- Follow a Plan: A structured weight loss plan that includes a healthy diet and exercise routine makes it easier to stay on track and measure your progress. Medical weight loss clinics can provide you with a personalized food plan and professional body measurement.
- Track Your Progress: Keep a journal or use a weight loss app to track your daily food intake, exercise, and weight changes. Regularly reviewing your progress can provide motivation as you see your hard work paying off. You might still be 20 pounds from your goal – but you’ve also lost 45% of all your extra weight. That’s an important perspective.
- Stay Accountable: Share your weight loss goals with a friend, family member, or a support group. Having someone to share your journey with can keep you accountable and motivated. Professional diet coaches are trained to provide this kind of support that is a cornerstone of weight loss success.
- Visualize Your Success: Imagine how you’ll feel and look when you reach your weight loss goals. Visualization can be a powerful motivator.
- Reward Yourself: Treat yourself to non-food rewards when you achieve milestones. This can provide positive reinforcement for your efforts. Call an old friend. Go to a movie you’ve wanted to see. It’s important to find things that make you feel good that are not food related.
- Stay Informed: Educate yourself about healthy eating and exercise. Understanding the benefits of your choices can be motivating for the long term.
- Find What You Enjoy: Choose physical activities and foods that you genuinely enjoy. If you like what you’re doing, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
- Mindful Eating: Pay attention to what you eat. Practice mindful eating to savor your meals and avoid overeating.
- Manage Stress: Stress can lead to emotional eating and hinder your weight loss progress. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
- Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling to stay motivated or have underlying health issues, consult with a healthcare professional, nutritionist, or personal trainer.
- Be Patient: Weight loss takes time. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient with yourself and focus on long-term health.
It’s just a fact that motivation can ebb and flow. We have to find motivation for all the things that we must do in life as adults. There will be days when you’re highly motivated and others when you’re not. During the less motivated times, it’s essential to rely on discipline and the habits you’ve built to keep you on track. Top of Form
You Can Do It!
The number on the scale should not be the sole determinant of your success on your health and fitness journey. Remember that weight loss plateaus are normal, and there are various ways to measure your progress and stay motivated. Focus on non-scale victories, celebrate small wins, and don’t let the scale discourage you from reaching your goals.
Need an experienced professional to help motivate you and keep you on track? If you’re ready to get fast, effective weight loss now, schedule your FREE Consultation at LivLight Weight Loss to speak with one of our friendly, expert diet coaches today.
Call us at 703-591-2091 to speak with someone today!
Written by Susan Malzone, Director of LivLight Weight Loss