You've ditched the processed junk foods and started bringing healthy lunches to work. These are powerful first steps that sound simple but make a profound impact. You even saw some significant improvements in the beginning, but you've seemed to hit a plateau. So, what's going on? While eating clean is of utmost importance when paving a healthier path, there could be some non-food related reasons why you’re not seeing or feeling any improvements lately. Are you…
Being too focused on the scale? When you feel like you’re doing all the right things, it can be frustrating not to see or feel any improvements. Try not to get discouraged, though. We tend to measure our success by the number on the scale, which isn't an effective way to gauge progress. With things like fluid fluctuations and building muscle, the scale can be deceptive. It is most practical and accurate to assess growth by how we feel and how our clothes fit. Don't let the scale tell you how you're feeling; you are much more than that number.
Not exercising? If you're eating healthy and not prioritizing exercise of some sort, you will likely hit that plateau. While eating clean is a crucial piece of staying healthy, exercise is the other puzzle piece necessary to achieve the goals you've set for yourself. You don’t need to work out in the gym for an hour every day if you don’t want to but at the very least, walk briskly for 20 to 30 minutes on most days. Find the exercise that fits into your schedule and that you enjoy the most.
Exercising too much? And yes, there’s a fine line to walk with exercise. If you don’t exercise enough, it's not ideal -- but if you exercise too much it causes stress and impairs your adrenal hormone production. So, if you’re working out too much in hopes to reach your goals faster, take a couple of days off and reevaluate your workout strategy for better results, like with yoga and weights instead. Contrary to what you might think, weights are an important part of an exercise that will help you build a stronger body, even when your body is at rest.
Still drinking sugar? Sure, you eat salads and healthy meals all day long but your morning coffee is filled with cream and sugar, or you’re drinking fruit juices or diet soda. If this is a struggle, make it a goal this week to begin making some changes in this area. If your drink of choice is something other than water, begin swapping water for your beverage of choice until you crave water more than that sugary drink. It will happen, I assure you! Try flavored sparkling water like LaCroix to satisfy the bubbly craving, and infuse your water with fruit to add flavor.
So when you feel like you're stuck in a rut, reevaluate the non-food related daily habits that may be hindering your progress.
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Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health and lifestyle coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes with guidance and gentle support for lasting weight loss and building healthier habits. Learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.