Hey guys, this is Cori from Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks podcast. This is a show where I share all my free work on the nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is, if you’re enjoying the podcast, to leave a review or leave a five star rating or, even better, share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone you know. So let’s jump right in.
Progress is never linear Along the way. There will be plateaus, times when your results slow or even seem to stop building, and too often when this happens, we get frustrated and we give up. We stop doing all of the habits that moved us forward, but this leads to us just regaining the weight and losing all of the progress we’ve made. That’s why I want to go over why we often see our results plateau and what we can do about it. First, I do want to clarify what a plateau actually is. This isn’t just not seeing results for one week. It isn’t even gaining a pound one week after losing to the week prior. A true plateau is at least four weeks of no changes whatsoever no changes in measurements, no changes in weight, no improvements in workouts, nothing. And it’s at least four weeks for a number of reasons. For instance, a woman with her period will see fluctuation based on the time of her cycle. A woman in menopause may have changing hormone levels leading to slower changes. As we get older, results simply happen slower even as we don’t have the optimal hormone environment we did when we were younger. And an advanced trainee may have adapted and can handle more. So it actually needs a longer time and greater training stimulus to see results. Basically, you can’t just say you’ve hit a plateau because results aren’t happening fast enough, and while we never will happen fast enough, and while we don’t want to keep repeating something that isn’t working, we also need to realize what is realistic before we make a change. And the answer when we do plateau isn’t just doing more. We can’t just keep trying to slash our calories lower or train harder and longer. That may even sabotage our long-term results. So here are five reasons your results may have plateaued and how to address these situations.
First, a plateau doesn’t actually mean you aren’t still making progress. I did mention this because you may just be in a dead zone. You may be in that phase where your body is fighting the weight loss process, because our body does want to fight the process. It believes where we’re at is natural and normal and taking in fewer calories seems like a threat to your survival. Your body doesn’t want to lose weight, so it’s going to do everything it can to resist those changes and hang onto the fat stores’ fuel for future use.
This is when you have to stay consistent. You’ve hit a period where you’re doing the right habits, but things just need to accumulate more before you see the payoff. It’s almost like you just have to give your body time to embrace and trust that it can still survive as you make the changes. So, while it feels like nothing’s happening and you’ve hit a dead zone, avoid the desire to want to do more or change things up. We have to remind ourselves that we don’t need more tactics, lower carbs or new exercises or fancy tools or crazy fat burning supplements. We just need more time, more time doing the habits that add up. So, as hard as it may be, your plateau may just be that you haven’t been in long enough. You saw that initial pop of results with your first big changes. But now you just need to keep up the plan and things will snowball. Stay consistent and keep tracking what you’re doing. Realize that results are accumulating and will only show if you don’t give up.
The next reason we often plateau is that we haven’t reassessed our needs in a while. Often it takes longer to reach a goal and along that journey we have to adjust and evolve. Nothing works forever. Our lifestyle and schedule may change, impacting how we need to train, and if our training shifts, we may need to adjust our nutrition to match. Even our body and hormones may shift, impacting what we need. What you need before menopause is different than what you’re going to need during menopause or even after menopause, and if we don’t adapt as our body needs, goals and lifestyle evolve, we won’t continue to see progress towards our goals and may even find we go backwards.
So if you haven’t assessed how all of the systems are working together and making you feel it may be time to review everything, too often we emphasize just one component over looking at how all the systems are working together. We seek a better move, a better macro ratio, we search for an ideal, but one component alone doesn’t fix a broken system. So if your results have stalled, assess how everything in your lifestyle is working together and if it’s actually meeting what your body and even mind need right now. And as you assess, you’re going to need to be honest with yourself. I bring this up because too often we’ve plateaued because our consistency simply isn’t there. We’ve gotten lazy with habits we’ve gotten comfortable with. We see progress and start to put some of our healthy habits on autopilot, and often 1% deviations over time lead to us drifting further and further, of course, and so we aren’t even implementing a lot of what we need and we start to regain the weight. But we can stop this drift off course before it happens, by honestly assessing, when results are plateaued, if we’re truly being as consistent as we think.
Tracking your food, recording your workouts to watch your improvements and consistency can help us stay on track. What gets measured gets managed. Don’t let how you feel about your habit color what’s actually going on. Don’t make the excuse you’re being good enough actually slide. If you’ve hit that plateau, it’s time to see room for improvement and growth with the habits you’re already doing. Find those deviations in your consistency and address them. Once you have, you can then assess if those habits are no longer in line with what you need. But don’t stop doing something until you know your consistency is there to validate needing a change.
Too often we stop doing what could lead to growth, thinking it isn’t working just because we ignored the inconsistencies in our calories or macros or even workouts that are actually there. Along with ignoring those inconsistencies that allow us to feel like we’re being better than we are, we stop pushing our comfort zone. We stop building off our healthy habits. We make one or two easier changes that lead to results initially, but we don’t keep going. But to reach a new and better result, a goal we’ve not achieved for a while, or maybe even ever, we need to keep pushing our habits and lifestyle forward.
As weird as it sounds, you’re creating a new you, a new identity and lifestyle as you work to become the person that has the goals and results you want. That means we have to keep making changes, even when we start to feel more uncomfortable. And while I know this isn’t a popular opinion or a fun thing, to own success is sacrifice. The loftier our goals, the more we have to be willing to push ourselves. So if you’ve found your results plateauing, ask yourself. Am I continuing to push myself to make changes or have I fallen back into what’s comfortable? Well, we don’t want to be changing everything all the time. We can’t stop driving forward and become complacent.
If we want results, and throughout your weight loss journey, you need to give yourself credit for the changes and results that are building, because too often we just say my results have plateaued, when results are actually snowballing. We’re just choosing to measure progress in only one way. If we want to lose weight and we don’t, on the scale one week, we can decide we aren’t progressing and give up on something that’s working. When really results are building. We just happen to eat later than I before, or drink more water or do something that made the scale fluctuate up that single day and instead of recognizing that our pants are fitting looser, or that our lifts went up that week, or that we’re sleeping better or our aches and pains have diminished, we say we aren’t progressing because we just didn’t see progress in one specific way. That’s why we need to manage our expectations and set more than one way of determining success. The more ways we measure success, the more ways we give ourselves to be successful, and this is what keeps us moving forward, to give results, time to snowball. So just because the scale isn’t changing doesn’t mean results aren’t building.
Track other complementary goals that help you repeat the habits you need to keep moving forward. Track improvements in how you feel, how you’re sleeping, your energy levels, your lifts, your runs, your rides. Even track the consistency and celebrate wins in repeating those habits. But realize that often what we even label as a plateau really isn’t one. We just didn’t see progress in one specific way, even though we’re moving forward. Remember that plateaus are normal and they’re just chances to assess how things are going and if we truly are meeting ourselves where we’re at.
Don’t simply give up. Don’t simply try and do more. Simply use this as a time to assess and give results. Time to build as you meet yourself where you’re at with those habit changes. Thanks for listening to Fitness Hacks podcast podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is, if you’re enjoying the podcast, to leave a rating review or share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change life with someone you know.