Real talk: At some point, every woman working to lose weight gets seriously annoyed. Between the sugar cravings and recipe fatigue, it’s enough to make you want to flip a table. But since your reaction to those setbacks is crucial to reaching your goal, you’ve got to check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Here’s how you can give the five most common weight-loss hurdles the finger for healthier, lasting results.
1. Sluggish Results
No matter how attractive instant weight loss sounds, it just doesn’t work that way. In fact, most experts say that losing 0.5kg to 1 kg per week is the right rate of weight loss. Though that number largely depends on how much you have to lose, says Michael Smith, medical director and chief medical editor at WebMD. A kilo is a much larger part of your overall bodyweight percentage when you only have five kilos to go.
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All poundage aside, it’s important to remember that the benefits of healthy eating and exercise show up in more ways than the scale. (FYI: Muscle weighs more than fat!) That’s why gauging your progress on how a certain pair of pants fit, workout personal records, and your energy levels can be way more accurate than stepping on the scale. Focusing on how exercise slashes stress and helps you sleep better, rather than weight loss, increases your chances of sticking with healthy habits over the long term, says board-certified sports dietitian Marie Spano.’
2. Stressing About Certain Spots
We all know that spot reduction is a myth. And, unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss, some locations on your body—usually the ones you want to work on the most—are the last frontier. “The areas you gain weight first tend to be the last places you lose it,” says Smith. Woof.
Genetically, every body carries its weight differently. And if your belly, hips, or thighsare susceptible to weight gain, you’ll likely notice changes elsewhere first, he says.
But worrying about your “trouble spots” (let’s stop calling them that, shall we?) keeps you from recognizing all of the progress you’ve made and ultimately loving your body.“Caring for your body will change your entire outlook on nutrition and physical activity,” says Spano. That’s because you’ll see healthy meals and exercise as a way to keep your body happy, instead of a punishment for what you don’t like about it.
An effective weight-loss plan has to be one that you legit want to stick with over the long term. That means arming yourself with a variety of nutritious foods that you actually enjoy, as well as a wide range of workout options, says Spano.
“Use your new eating habits and gym time as a reason to try new things,” says Gilles. If you’re having trouble coming up with new meals or workouts, consider teaming up with a friend who is also trying to lose weight or improve her fitness. Besides pairing up for a run, you can also swap recipes, share exercise ideas, and try out new classes together, he says.
4. Missing Your Favourite Foods
It’s important to remember that the sugary, fatty foods you love can be integrated into an overall healthy lifestyle. (It’s the sum of your behaviours, not the occasional donut, that determine your degree of success.) It’s also possible that those foods won’t be your favourite after you spend time eating healthy, says New York City psychologist Paul Hokemeyer.
By focusing on the pleasures of healthy living (you know, like green smoothies, cycling classes, and avocado toast), you’ll find them more enjoyable over time, he says. And, as any woman who lost weight and kept it off will tell you, there comes a point when eating doughnuts and frozen pizza just isn’t as exciting as it once was.
5. Plateauing Weight Loss
“Your weight loss is going to plateau no matter what you do,” says Smith. But that’s not a bad thing. Whenever you lose weight, it takes your body time to adapt. “Plateauing for a week or so doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong or that you’re stuck,” he says. “Just keep doing what you are doing.”
If your plateau lasts for more than a couple of weeks, shake things up a bit, says Smith. As you lose weight, your body becomes more efficient at your workouts so you burn fewer calories per day, he says.
You may need to cut an extra hundred calories or so or add some new challenges to your workout, says Gilles. That might mean increasing your work in the weight room,running at a faster pace, or challenging yourself with moves that really kick your butt. “The best way to burn more calories is to do something that you’re terrible at,” he says.
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