Are you in a weight loss rut? I’ve been there before, trust me! And I had to figure out how to snap out of it. Sometimes I am more motivated than others. The weight just seems to come off more easily sometimes, too. Without that immediate sense of gratification or reward feeling from the scale, it can be tough to keep plugging away. When weight loss slows down or plateaus, it can cause us all to lose focus or intensity. I can’t always tell exactly why these things happen, as there can be so many causes. Environment, stress, hormones, sleep, etc. I just know I have to stick in there and do what it takes to keep myself going. So how do I do that? How do I push through a rut?
Take care of yourself.
When my focus starts to veer off of my health and fitness goals, and I need to reign myself back in, I try to take a good look at things and figure out why. Usually, there’s a pretty good reason or two that I can pinpoint that are causing the issue. Am I trying to take on too much? Stressing out too much about things I can’t control? Bringing work issues home with me? Not getting enough sleep?
There’s a saying that, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This is very true. I have to realize that I have to take care of myself first if I’m going to be able to take care of everyone else. And I have to keep myself healthy in all aspects of my life if my physical health is going to stay where it needs to be for my body to feel healthy enough to be able to let go of excess fat.
If there are thing that you realize are causing you to lose focus from you health and fitness goals, take steps to remedy them. Go to bed earlier. Get some things off your plate. Have a difficult conversation with someone about whatever it is that’s been nagging at you. Spend some quiet time alone. Get a massage. Use exercise to vent out your frustrations. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, or everything that’s bothering you and tick the items off one at a time. Get them all off of your shoulders. Get organized.
Make room in your life for your health and fitness.
Life is about continuous improvement in all areas. When is the last time you read a book about health and nutrition? Not necessarily a diet book because you know how I feel about those. They good for kindling, that’s how. I’m talking about a book about nutrition and healthy eating in general. Not a bandwagon diet book. Or if reading a book isn’t your thing, maybe try listening to a podcast or two. There are some great ones out there. What if you’re in a rut because what you’ve been doing for so long isn’t what you need to be doing anymore? Your nutritional needs have changed, or there are new and better ideas out there for you. It would be nice to know that instead of continuing to spin your wheels, right?
I also find the more I educate myself, the more it motivates me to succeed. The more I learn about the right behaviors, the more I want to implement them and stick with them. Also, the more I read about healthy food, the more I crave healthy food. It’s like the opposite of watching pizza commercials.
My blog is intended to motivate and inspire people to do what I did, and to show them that they can achieve absolutely anything. I’m here to offer any support, encouragement and wisdom from my own experiences that I can. But, as hard as these words are for me to type, I don’t know everything. Whew! That was tough! There is so much information on health and nutrition out there that I can’t even scratch the surface in my own research, let alone be able to tell each of you exactly what will work for your body type. Please educate yourself as much as you can. Don’t rely on fad diets and Pinterest infographics like I did for so many years.
Don’t try to fix it all, it may not be broken.
Just because you hit a bump in the road doesn’t mean you should toss your whole program out the window. A plateau on the scale doesn’t mean your body chemistry isn’t changing. You could be building muscle. Your clothes may be fitting better. There are plenty of non-scale victories. Check out a few here. If you really do think something isn’t working for you, the best way to find out what’s working and what isn’t is to change one thing at a time. Adjust things slowly.
Another thing to think about is whether you are concentrating enough on your successes, or are you focusing only on your failures? Celebrating your successes, and all of the hard work that have gotten you to whatever level of weight loss achievement you have reached this far is important. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t lose sight of all of the good things you’ve done. Go back and remember these when you feel like giving up. Think of where you were last year.
I do that all the time. Anytime I’m feeling stuck. Or that I’m not doing enough. I go back through my weight loss memory and think of where I was exactly 12 months ago. I just checked My Fitness Pal. Exactly 12 months ago I weighed 258 pounds. Today I weigh 196. In a few more, I hope to be at 160. If I had given up at any time along that path, I’d have had to start over and lose those pounds again. No fun for anyone. So give credit where credit is due and really take time to look at and measure the amazing achievements you are making.
Try something new. Do something fun.
If you feel the need for a change, try an activity that’s totally off the wall for you and outside of your comfort zone like a cooking class, a spinning class or a climbing wall. Or do something that’s calming and relaxing like hiking or yoga. Something that takes you back to your happy place, and reminds you of how grateful you are to be healthy and happy and have the ability to go out, be active, and do these things.
Or, do something that will keep you motivated like getting new running shoes or buying a cute new water bottle. If you’re having trouble getting up the motivation to go hit the trail, or drink enough throughout the day, these may be just the right motivators you need to get you going!
Do what you need to do to keep going and don’t feel bad about it.
If you are just plain bored of your routine, change it up. If you just can’t choke down the same thing for dinner again, and you’ve already made all of the awesome recipes on my blog, like Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce and Thai Shrimp Curry, then go to the library, check out 10 healthy cookbooks and go through them all until you find enough new recipes you haven’t tried to keep you busy for a few weeks. Then hit the grocery and fill the cart up with produce. Go a little crazy. I had a few weeks where I knew I wasn’t quite eating right because I was just plain bored and a little stir crazy.
One Sunday afternoon, I decided I was filling up a “clean” cart and coming home with nothing but awesome, healthy stuff. I did just that, and the bill was $300. (About $150 more than usual. I don’t even know what all I bought.) The mailman raised an eyebrow and asked about it, but he certainly didn’t begrudge me my week of healthy splurging. I needed it to get myself back on track.
Lately I’ve been eating a whole lot of berries, nuts and rotisserie chicken. Are these things cheap? No, but neither is being overweight and unhealthy! I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I just make sure I buy enough for everyone. I would feel guilty about telling my kids the healthy foods were just for me.
The message here is the most important part of weight loss is hanging in there. Yes, there may be times when things are easier for you than others, but success comes to those of us who don’t just throw in the towel. A weight loss journey is like a marriage, we’re in it for the long haul, for better or for worse. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Let me know what you think! Any tips for sticking in when things get tough?