Over the past year I’ve struggled with my weight. In the past, I found it relatively easy to lose fat and stay lean but then I went overseas, became more relaxed in my eating, exercised less and the weight started creeping on.
As I was living alone, I didn’t even notice the weight gain until I found some fresh stretch marks and then I became seriously stressed out. I began to try to lose the weight and struggled to do so, and it seemed like the more I tried to lose weight, the more weight I seemed to gain.
Looking back on the past year, there are certain things that I wish I had done that I know would have helped me in that situation. I don’t want anyone to struggle and stress like I did, so here are a few of the lessons I learned about what to do when your weight refuses to go down.
Make sure you aren’t self-sabotaging.
If you eat well throughout the day and then come home and eat a whole lot of junk food, it is okay. If you eat well throughout the day and then come home and eat a whole lot of junk food every day, it begins to add up and you will end up eating more calories than you burn and thus gain weight. Its perfectly fine to treat yourself but if you treat yourself every day you may just self-sabotage the results you are wishing to see.
Let your body heal.
Whether you believe in “metabolic damage” or “metabolic adaptation” or not, it is true that your dieting past affects your present body. A past of dieting and calorie restriction may come back to bite you one day when your metabolism is not as effective as it used to be and your body holds onto fat much more tightly than previously. In my experience, the only thing that can be done here is to give your body time to heal. Eat foods that allow you to be your most healthy and give it time. It may be frustrating and you may be tempted to begin to restrict again but focus on the long-term and your health.
Acknowledge age and hormones
As well as the impact past dieting may have on your metabolism and ability to lose weight, hormones and age also play a role. There isn’t much that can be done about age (and sometimes hormones cannot be controlled either), but it is worth acknowledging and understanding that your lack of fat loss may be related to either.
Stop stressing about your weight!
Stress makes a huge difference to your dieting success. At times I was so stressed about my weight and the fact that I wasn’t losing fat at all and I would look at my stretch marks and cellulite and freak out even more. It’s been proven that stress does inhibit weight loss, so (as hard as it may be) try to stop caring. Once I stopped worrying about my weight, I started to lean down again. Funnily enough, it wasn’t until my scales actually stopped working because the battery died and I couldn’t be bothered to replace them that I stopped weighing myself and (surprise, surprise) my weight went down. So throw out the scales and try to relax.
Switch up your exercise.
Try different forms of exercise if the current ones don’t seem to make a difference. During my journey of weight loss, I began to focus on exercising to improve my fitness, not just for aesthetic purposes. I also embraced new forms of exercise such as cycling and HIIT-style resistance training, and I focused on how these forms of exercise made me feel, not how they may make me look. Once I stopped stressing about and focusing on fat loss, it happened.
At the end of the day, life happens and weight fluctuates. You may go through periods where you cannot exercise as much as previously or where your diet is not as healthy as it could be, and your weight may bounce up (or down) as a result. Remember that it happens to everyone.
Try not to stress about any weight gain or body changes that you perceive as negative. Focus on general health and well-being as a long term goal and I promise you will start to see the results you desire.