Having been on my fitness journey for over 3 years now, I've hit many plateaus. They're frustrating. You think you're doing everything right and just cannot understand why you're not losing weight or seeing changes. Here are some things to consider that I've been through on my journey:
1) TAKE PHOTOS! This is a HUGE one! Especially for women, that scale can be a real bitch! Our weight fluctuates like crazy throughout the month. It has taken me a LONG time to finally stop judging myself by the number on the scale. Now I just take progress photos and measurements. Even sometimes my measurements won't seem to budge but my clothes will fit better... who knows?! Just trust me... it may suck to take that before photo but you will be SO thankful you did when you go to compare a month or two down the road.
The great debate comes over how MUCH water to drink... and well, that varies per person.. on average about 11 cups (88 oz) a day for women, and 16 cups (128 oz) a day for men.. but here is a good breakdown:
- 2-3 hours before exercise: 17-20 oz. (this is when I like to drink my water with lemon)
- 15-20 minutes before exercise: 7-10 oz
- During exercise: 7-10 oz every 10-20 minutes
3) Not eating enough. I get this issue a lot with some people. Luckily the Beachbody programs all come with meal plans that walk you through what you should be eating for your weight. However, every single person is different! We can't always fit into a cookie cutter plan. For example, I'm doing 21 Day Fix Extreme... I've completed 10 workout programs including a lot of strength training. This program had me in a 1200-1499 calorie bracket.. that just won't fly for someone who has built up muscle! At least not long-term. So I upped myself to the next bracket and got awesome results! We're all different but it's trial and error. If you're busting your butt in your workouts and not eating enough, that can cause some metabolic changes. Eventually your body is going to need to conserve energy. Here are some of the side effects of a low calorie intake:
- It can slow your thyroid production which is responsible for fat, carbs, and protein metabolism.
- You can decrease your muscle mass. Your muscles are one of the first things your body is going to turn to for energy.
- Lowered testosterone levels. Both men and women need this hormone and without it, it is harder to maintain or gain muscle mass.
- Decreased your leptin levels. This hormone regulates energy and is known as your "hunger" hormone. With low levels, your body doesn't receive that signal to stop eating and thinks it needs more energy... therefore more food.
- Decreased energy levels. With low calories your neurotransmitter production is limited and that can lead to fatigue and a lack of motivation.
If you're totally lost at what your calorie intake should be, here is a good start:
4) Snacking too much. Ok you know we all do it... one little bite here and there won't hurt... and while that is true.. it won't undo all of your hard work, you do have to be conscious of how often you're doing it! Do your Friday night cheat meals turn into cheat weekends? All of that food adds up! While I think a cheat meal once a week is an awesome thing, just be sure you don't extend it more than that meal!
5) Doing the same workouts. Your body needs you to switch things up every now and then to challenge yourself. You may need to up the intensity of your workouts or try something new! A combo of cardio and strength training is always a great option! And you don't need to spend hours at the gym either! A 30 minute intense workout is much better than just 60 minutes on a treadmill!
The fitness journey is a crazy one... but whatever you do, DO NOT give up! You are doing something amazing for yourself