Fight or Flight

This time of year is filled with goodies, binge watching the Hallmark channel, festivities, and sleeping in. All those things are pretty great, but if we’re not careful, we can reach what the fitness world refers to as a “plateau.” And I say “we” but come on, we all know who I’m talking about here…

I’ve been relatively successful these past few months at exercising and eating healthy, especially when I don’t want to. Of course I’ve cheated here and there, but you have to in order to keep your sanity. But in the past few weeks, I’ve come to a place in my fitness journey where the scale doesn’t move and I don’t seem to want to exercise as much. It’s frustrating and my morale isn’t exactly at its peak.

So why does this happen? And what can I do to overcome this inevitable bump in the road?

Weight loss plateaus can be caused by a variety of things: lack of sleep, underestimated calorie intake, a monotonous exercise routine, an increase of stress, not enough protein, and too many carbs. Also, as we lose more weight and our bodies become smaller, we need less and less calories to get the nutrition we need. And our metabolism slows down.

Personally, I can tell you right now that my weight loss plateau is because of at least half of those causes I just listed. I’ve been busy preparing to go on a big (to me) vacation with my sister, I haven’t put in much effort in my meal planning (so I just eat what’s available), my stress level has probably doubled over the past couple months, and as a result I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I my body needs. My exercise routines have also become boring to me, so I’ve been finding any excuse not to exercise at all. I am calling this my “fight or flight” phase.

And maybe I’m not the only one going through this. If you can relate to any of these symptoms, lean in, because I’m about to tell you how to come out of this on top! And you and I will be doing this together, so it’s not like I’m giving you all this great advice because I know exactly what to do or anything. This is new for me too.

So (as she cracks her knuckles), here’s what I’m going to do about it:

Sleep, sleep, sleep! I don’t think most of us truly understand how important sleep is to our bodies for optimum health. These past few weeks I’ve been going and going, and since my priority has been given to to-do lists during the day, sleep has been tossed by the wayside. Since then, I’ve noticed a decrease in energy, patience, and normal function. So now I will pay extra attention to how much sleep I get a night, making sure to make that a priority instead of my to-dos.

Shake things up a bit. I’ve been doing most of the same exercise routines for a good part of the year, because I know they work for me. But I guess I’ve finally reached the point where doing the same thing all the time, even though it’s still exercise, is only maintaining my weight, not getting rid of it. So, what I’m going to do is still research beginning/intermediate workouts, but maybe choose a couple different ones to rotate through the week. And maybe I’ll start exercising more often than my usual three days a week.

Track those calories. Something big I’ve been slacking on is how many calories I’ve been consuming. In the first few months of my diet, I was extremely careful with how many calories I was eating, but again, when life got busy, not so much…I’ve just kind of been assuming I’m doing okay with my calorie count. But if how I’ve been feeling lately is any indicator, I definitely shouldn’t be eating as much as I am if I want to lose more weight.

I have only included a few ways in this post to jump back on the weight loss wagon for a reason. I personally can only focus on so much at one time. So, by only changing two or three areas of my health for now I know I can do it. I’ve got plans in life, and none of them include gaining my weight back!