The first few months of your weight-loss journey are behind you. You’re feeling good about yourself and your body, and you look better than ever before. But have you started to notice the needle on the weighing scale going up, or that you’ve had to loosen your belt by a notch. Sometimes after the first phase of weight loss is over, many individuals find that their weight has increased.
Here are some reasons why.
You’ve Hit the Weight Loss Plateau
The weight loss plateau is when your rate of weight loss begins to slow. In the early weeks of a weight-loss plan, your body uses up glycogen for the energy it needs. Glycogen is made of water in part, and contributes to rapid but temporary weight loss. This is especially true when you’ve lost weight by watching calories, as your body has burned available calories instead of new calories that you’ve put into your body. You’ve also likely lost some muscle, along with fat, and muscles keep your metabolism high. With lost muscle, your metabolism (the speed at which you burn calories) declines, so you will have to work harder to burn calories at the same rate as before.
Solution: To keep your weight loss going, you’ll need to increase your metabolism or further reduce your daily calorie intake. Ensure that you maintain your recommended daily calorie intake so that you’re not putting yourself at risk of hitting the weight loss plateau. You could try adding more intensity or time to your regular workout, or increase the amount of activity you do every day. Even getting off the bus before your usual stop and walking an extra mile home or taking the stairs at work could make a huge difference over time.
Your Motivation Has Decreased
Whenever anyone begins a fitness program, motivation is usually at its peak for the first few weeks or months. You, like most, probably feel the positive difference almost every day. Your friends, co-workers, and family members have gathered around to support you, and your weight has been your constant focus. But as the weeks go by, you begin to feel less interested in what it takes to continue your weight loss journey.
It was bound to happen. While it was fresh, your weight loss journey was exciting and encouraging. But once everyone goes back to their own lives or stops asking you about your progress, it’s just you and your workout schedule. If you’re finding that it’s a struggle to go for a workout or count calories, your lack of motivation could translate to extra inches under your belt.
Solution: Sometimes, it’s not enough to dream about your “ideal” body, especially if it seems like achieving it is so far away. Instead, find other ways to keep your enthusiasm burning, along with those calories. You could consider finding an exercise buddy to keep you disciplined about workouts. Set smaller goals for yourself and work out a list of fitness-related rewards for yourself for when you hit each goal – like that new pair of running shoes or a pair of jeans in a smaller size could be great rewards.
You’ve Been Making Excuses to Binge-Eat
“I’ll eat all the pizza I want this weekend and start again on Monday.”
“I’m on vacation! I’ll drink as much as I can and start the diet again when I get back home.”
“It’s the holiday season! I can’t be dieting when there’s all this good food around!”
It’s always easy to find an excuse to indulge in fatty foods, but it sets off a dangerous pattern. If you binge eat, it means that you are not enjoying the weight-loss process, but actually denying yourself all that you like. This prevents healthy eating from becoming a long-term lifestyle goal, and turns it into a temporary punishment.
It also means that a single lapse, whether it’s an extra slice of cheesecake or an extra pint of beer on a Friday night with friends, becomes an excuse for you to stray from course for a few days.
Solution: Your diet plan should make room for your favorite indulgences. If you enjoy a beer on Fridays, try to squeeze in a run through the park on the weekend. Try replacing chocolate with dark chocolate for a healthier treat that will satisfy your craving. Practice splitting a dessert with your friend or partner instead of ordering individual portions. If you don’t feel like you’ve been denied, you’re less likely to binge-eat.
During special occasions like birthdays or holidays, look for healthier variations of your favorite food, or find new ways to exercise. If you’re vacationing on a beach, go swimming or run on the sand.
You’re Just Bored
An exercise routine will become boring when it becomes just that – routine. Counting calories before every meal can be a real drag. You find yourself dreading the thought of doing those sit-ups again, and refusing to go to the gym. And that’s when the pounds start to make another appearance.
Boredom with an exercise routine is one of the most common reasons for your weight to start creeping back. But it’s also one of the easiest problems to remedy.
Solution: Mix it up. If you’re working on your weight loss on your own, do some research or talk to a fitness-loving friend for tips. Sign up for a boot camp or a dance class – whatever catches your interest. Simple things like working on your running playlist or changing your run route can help. If you work out with an instructor, ask them if you can switch to a different type of exercise for a while.
If your diet plan is boring you, talk to a nutritionist or diet specialist for options. Look online for recipes from different cuisines that match your recommended calorie intake. Instead of your plain brown rice and grilled chicken, you could be making a spicy Spanish meal instead.
Seeing weight gain while you’re exercising and watching your calorie intake may seem discouraging, but it only means that you’re ready to take your weight-loss game to the next level. Now you’re working on the real deal.
We’ve identified the biggest culprits leading to those inches creeping back, which will equip you with ways to handle them. This should help you turn your weight-loss regimen into a lifestyle you love and can maintain for the rest of your life.