We members of the to tell us how they handled plateaus and setbacks while they were trying to lose weight. They told us some of the actual nutrition and fitness strategies they used to kick their weight loss back into gear as well as what they did to stay motivated even when things got tough.
Make sure you’re eating enough.
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“I went from eating 1500 calories [per day] to eating 1700 because my boot camp-style workouts were so intense. Only when I did that did I start losing weight again.”
— Jen T.
Learn more about eating enough to fuel your workouts , and more about calories and metabolism .
Stop weighing yourself so much.
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“In the first few months, I would constantly check my weight every few days to see if there were any significant changes. My mood would depend on these numbers on the scale. When my mom voiced her concerns about this obsessive checking .. She told me that I can tell changes in my body without having to see the numbers.
Mom was right. I saw that I have more endurance and my body was getting more toned.”
— Chris R.
Replace stress-eating with stress-reducing activities.
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“I’ve also identified the triggers that make me want to snack and found alternate ways to respond (take a walk around the block, keep apples and carrots in the house instead of snack foods, deep breathing exercises).
And sometimes I just have to call a friend and vent for a while, have a cheat day and then get back on track.”
— Enid B.
Get more info on ways to reduce stress .
Learn the difference between hunger and cravings.
“Hunger means it’s time to fuel the body. Cravings are what you want to fuel the body.
When starting a new regimen, people will often cut down on portion size. The problem is they forget to snack and drink water between meals. This leaves them with stomach grumbles which will often sound like ‘Five Guys burgers’ or ‘Chipotle burrito.’
Learning the difference between hunger and craving was a lightbulb moment. It really set me on the right path.”
Avoid plateaus altogether by setting lifestyle goals that have nothing to do with weight loss.
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“Without realizing it, I mentally prepared myself to avoid realizing I had setbacks and plateaus. The way I did this was by having multiple goals … It helped me to have lots of them, because if I got behind on one or didn’t reach one on time, I still felt good about the other ones that I HAD reached.
For example, my running goal was to run a half marathon by Easter, and I also wanted to hit my goal weight by Memorial Day. I ran the half-marathon, but I didn’t hit my goal weight before Memorial Day, but I was okay with that because I was able to reflect on my other accomplishment.
If I was having a rough week of workouts, I would set calorie goals to counter it, and vice versa. Because weight loss is complex, and difficult, I found it important to set myself up for success.”
— Deirde R.
Write down the reasons you’re trying to lose weight and refer to it often.
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“I’ve been using cognitive behaviour strategies … I have my lists of why I am doing it, and my cards to read through when I’m feeling setbacks coming up. I stop myself from having the setbacks — or at least [set myself up for] getting right back on track.”
Don’t deprive yourself. Do strive for balance.
“… You just have to say, ‘You know what, I am not perfect. I am going to eat a steak every once in a while, or that piece of cake, but it doesn’t lessen my value or my goal’s value.’
Constant reminders of self-worth are very essential.”
— Lauren L.
Keep the whole thing in perspective because you’re actually crushing it.
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“When I have setbacks and spend several days eating mostly trash, I remind myself that even on my bad days now, I’m still doing better than I was on an average day before.
Who cares if I go 500 calories over and hit 2000? It’s better than the 2400 I was easily consuming daily in the past.”
— Cheri H.
Measure fat loss not weight loss.
“The only thing that could motivate me once I hit a plateau was how far I had already come. My biggest tip would be to take pictures and document fat loss, not just weight loss.
That way, when you come to rough patches where the scale isn’t moving or you feel like nothing’s changing, you have solid proof through pictures or measurements or body fat percentage that there are definitely changes occurring.”
— Brooke C.
Drink less booze.
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“I love beer. However … it’s just not healthy for me to drink once a week. I sleep better, I feel better, and I really do think this has changed my metabolism, too. I never thought I’d be able to do without my happy hours, but it’s better this way for me.”
— Kortni M.
Learn about nutrition and exercise and experiment to see what works.
“To overcome plateaus I did some research in nutrition and did some experimenting. It can be so frustrating to be stuck at the same weight for weeks or months, but if you adjust your nutrition levels and your workout plans, types, and intensity, you can break it.
Weight loss slows down the closer you get to a healthy weight.”
— Melanie B.
And be sure to change up your workouts regularly.
“Mixing your routine up is always a good way to get out of a health rut. Running and weightlifting are my main workouts, but I’ve been getting into boxing and it is an amazing full-body strength and cardio workout!”
— Faith K.
Get some workout ideas .
Register for a race.
“I found out that what kept me motivated to keep going was that I was actually terrified of this [triathlon]. It was out of my comfort zone. It was something I’ve never done before and the fear of literally dying (drowning in the swim or crashing on the bike) is what pushed me to get up at 4:30 a.m. for the pool and to stick with my training and practice.
As terrible as that sounds, I scared myself into getting healthier.”
— Christina M.
Check out some awesome races .
Take it one healthy choice at a time and before you know it you’ll be on autopilot.
“People expect it to happen right away … But for most people, it’s waking up and spending a lot of your day reminding yourself to make healthy choices. It’s hard.
The longer you eat healthy, the less you want junk food! I thought it would be the opposite, but after a while it seems a little unnecessary. For at least six months I banned myself from having any sweets, and now I don’t want to touch some of my old favorite sweet foods. I love yogurt and fruits now, and I didn’t think that was possible.”
— Sarah O.
Learn simple ways to eat less sugar .
Join a community that holds you accountable.
Here's something that's been on my mind lately and I'd like to get everyone option on it. We all workout for different reasons, but one thing we all have in common is when we start to see those gains we don't wanna stop! I know damn well I don't! I've came a long way but what I'm getting at is when does it stop? No matter what every time I look in the mirror I'm gonna see that fat kid I used to be until I'm perfect, until my body is exactly how I want it to be! Even then though…will I be content? Lol idk but there's only one way to find out right?! Oh and one more thing, me and the squad might not be perfect yet but we're gonna get there! My squad will be your squad goals believe that! #CantGoBack #Flex #Squad #Bodybuilding #FitFam #Fitness #Gym #GymBuddies #SwoleMate #ClubFitness #GetBigOrDieTryin #LiftSum
“I joined a program that focused on clean eating and high intensity interval workouts. But the most important factor for me was the support, and the workout friends that became family.
If I hadn’t had that, there would have been many days where I would not have gone to work out!”
And most importantly, remind yourself who you’re doing this for. (You.)
“There will be times you want to quit, times you want to just let yourself go again, and times you will face negative people.
Ignore all of it because at the end of the day-looking in the mirror and smiling at yourself is more important than looking at a stranger and wondering what they think of you.”
— Aaron M.