Losing weight isn’t easy, and when you invest a lot of time and effort into your weight loss goals without seeing any results from all of your hard work, it can be downright depressing. The good news is that there are heaps of great tips and tricks out there that can help you overcome a weight loss plateau without starving yourself or spending hours upon hours at the gym, and today I’m sharing with you 8 of my best tips.
1. KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL
While I’m pretty good at keeping a mental note of what I eat, and understanding when I’m staying within my target calorie intake for the day, it wasn’t until I started to record every single thing I eat using a calorie tracker (I use My Fitness Pal on my iPhone) that I really understood where I needed to make changes. Overall, my diet was (and still is!) very healthy with a great balance of vegetables, fruits, protein, and good fats, but all of the extras I was eating (the crusts of my daughter’s grilled cheese sandwiches, a handful of chips here and there, the occasional bite (or 4) of the chocolate cake at dinner the other night…) were really adding up. But by making the commitment to myself that I would write down every single thing I consume each day, I not only gained a better understanding of which foods I should avoid, but I also became much less likely to snack between meals. It’s amazing what a difference a little bit of accountability can make!
2. PAY ATTENTION TO PORTION SIZES
When I first started keeping a food diary, I was just eyeballing my portion sizes, but when the weight wasn’t coming off I decided to take it a step further and weigh my food. As it turns out, I didn’t know the first thing about portion control. In fact, those 3 tablespoons of peanut butter I was having as my afternoon snack were actually 6 tablespoons!!! I now try my hardest to measure my portions properly, and it has made a huge difference!
3. DRINK MORE WATER
I know. I know. I get irritated when people tell me to drink more water, too. But staying hydrated not only keeps you from feeling bloated and puffy, but it also fills your stomach so you don’t overeat. I like to chug a glass before each meal, and whenever I get a craving for a late night snack, I make a deal with myself: I’ll have one glass of water, wait 20 minutes, and if I’m still hungry I’ll have a light snack.
4. LAY OFF THE ALCOHOL
While I’m the first to admit that I enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day, I also know that alcohol is my biggest impediment when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. I find booze dehydrates and bloats me, and while upping my water intake can sometimes counteract this side effect, I find it next to impossible to beat food cravings when I have wine floating around my body. Now, this isn’t to say that I abstain from alcohol completely, but I try to limit my intake to one or two nights a week, and I prefer to indulge when I know I won’t have access to a lot of snacks.
5. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE
For a long time, I was eating most of my protein in the late afternoon and evening as I often found I was beyond starving at that time of day, but after reading about the correlation before protein and weight loss, I started incorporating lean protein into each of my meals. The result has been pretty amazing – I feel full longer, I don’t snack as much, and I’m seeing more benefits from my strength training sessions at the gym.
6. DITCH THE SODIUM
If you struggle with bloating and puffiness, try laying off excess sodium for a few days and see if you notice a difference. And when you do indulge in salty foods, make sure to counterbalance it with extra water. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes!
7. SWITCH UP YOUR WORKOUTS
For about 2 years, I ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week, and while I initially saw some pretty fabulous results, I eventually reached a plateau and didn’t know what to do about it. I loved running and didn’t have the time to do any of the classes at my gym, but felt so defeated that no matter how hard I ran, my weight never budged. I eventually just accepted that it wasn’t possible for me to get back to my ideal weight, but when my daughter started full-day kindergarten in September and I started adding spin classes and weight training into the mix, I immediately noticed a change. I now make sure I keep my workouts fresh, and I am seeing results I never thought possible.
8. GET MORE SLEEP
I am the last person that should be lecturing you about sleep because I rarely get more than 6 hours of shut-eye a night, but there is so much literature on the internet supporting the notion that increased sleep helps with weight loss, and every trainer I’ve ever spoken to has confirmed that getting enough sleep is keep to weight loss. So let’s make a deal that we’ll try to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, shall we?