I had been playing with the same 4 pounds for a month. I would lose three, gain back one, then lose two, and then gain them back, etc. Then for two weeks, the scale refused to move even though I was working out three times a week and staying within my weekly WeightWatchers points.
When I logged my weight into my page on the WeightWatchers website, it provided me with a link to an article on weight loss plateaus. I read the article and gleaned from it that most weight loss plateaus come from not following the plan closely enough. For example, instead of using our measuring cups to measure out our portions, we eyeball it and underestimate how much we are eating and then put the wrong measurements into our journals. Or, we think it’s okay to have an “occasional” treat which then becomes a several day a week habit.
I thought about it and realized that this was probably true for me. After having lost more than 40 pounds over the last twelve months, I felt like a weight loss pro and didn’t always use my measuring cups to figure out my food portions. Also, I was eating out a lot more and drinking more than two cocktails in a single day if I went out.
One of the things I love about the WeightWatchers program is that you can eat out seven days a week on the plan so long as you know how and what to order and how to accurately estimate your portions and your points. But, if you allow yourself to attack the bread basket every time you go out or drink more than two cocktails in a day (they have many empty calories and cause you to retain water), then you are setting yourself up for failure.
With these ideas in mind, I got a little less “relaxed” about my adherence to the plan and, sure enough, the scale moved in the right direction the following week. I lost another pound. You might scoff, but a pound a week is 52 lbs a year. Keep scoffing. I’ll be taking off the weight while you do.
When I complained to a member of my writers’ group about hitting a weight loss plateau, he reminded me of something I had heard the exercise gurus say over the years: variety is the key to weight loss. If you’re doing the same workout, day after day, your muscles get used to it and you don’t burn as many calories per workout. With that in mind, I decided to shake it up a little. So, last week, I did a 45 minute belly dancing workout one day, a Leslie Sansone kickboxing workout another day, a Pilates workout the third day, a Leslie Sansone fast walking interval workout on a fourth day and another Leslie Sansone interval workout using a stretchie band on a fifth day.
When I hopped onto the scale on Tuesday, I had lost another 2.5 lbs. This time, when I entered my weight into the WeightWatchers website, it suggested that I slow down my weight loss since I had lost more than 2 lbs in a week. Since I am averaging approximately a pound per week, I am not worried.
So, in my experience, the best ways to break weight loss plateaus are to make sure that you are accurately accounting for the calories you consume and to shake up your exercise routine. Try something new. Give your muscles a new experience. It will also serve to stimulate your mind.