Weight Loss & Diet

Troubleshooting Plateaus and Relapses in Your Weight Loss and Health Journey

Troubleshooting Plateaus and Relapses in Your Weight Loss and Health Journey
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Getting so far in Lark DPP is quite the accomplishment. As you continue your lifelong health journey, you can be confident that Lark has given you tools that can help you make healthy choices and stay motivated

There are sure to be setbacks, but, as the Lark DPP check-in pointed out, there are ways to prepare for them. Here are a few strategies so you can be prepared if you reach a weight loss plateau or find yourself going back to less-healthy eating habits or skipping workouts.

Check your records

Looking at a written record of what you have been eating or how much you have been exercising or sleeping can clue you into where you might be able to make a few changes. Logging your food, physical activity, and sleep in Lark DPP lets you see what may have changed since you first noticed that things were getting a little shaky. Earning fewer green badges with food logging or reducing how much or how often you get active can give you a lead.

Identify any schedule changes

Having a few barely noticeable changes in your schedule can lead to noticeable setbacks in weight loss or health. Let’s say you start having coffee and a bagel and cream cheese each Saturday with a friend, your boss starts providing snacks at a weekly afternoon meeting, and you cut out one trip per week to the gym because you need to pick up your child from a new after-school activity.

Those changes together could add up to about 1,000 to 1,500 calories, or about one-third of a pound a week. That could be enough to tip the balance from losing weight to maintaining, or from maintaining weight to gaining. Being aware of these changes can help you reduce their impact, such as having unsweetened coffee and a half-bagel, bringing your own snack to the meeting, and lengthening your other workouts by 5 to 10 minutes each.

Resume logging

If you have stopped logging, going back to it can be enlightening. You may notice, when you resume logging, things like an oversized serving of salad dressing and a handful of dried fruit adding several hundred calories to a lunchtime salad that you thought was low-calorie, or that what you thought was an “occasional” soft drink in the afternoon has actually become nearly daily.

Consider all options

Lapses and plateaus can be related to parts of life besides eating and exercising. Take a look at your sleep patterns or stress levels. Being short on sleep or having too much stress can directly interfere with health as well as prevent you from making smart decisions about what to eat and when to get active.

Love your healthy choices

Every so often, following a healthy lifestyle can feel burdensome, and that feeling can hamper your ability to keep up the smart choices. Changing your mindset can help. Remembering that each decision is a choice, and you are choosing to be healthy because you want to be, can truly make a difference. 

Practicing mindfulness can help you enjoy your actions. For example, eating slowly and savoring each bite can let you get more pleasure from vegetables, lean proteins, and other nutrient-packed foods. During and after workouts, noticing the increase in energy and how good you may feel can let you appreciate your body and how well it works when you treat it well.

Try something new

If boredom is kicking in, mixing up your usual routine can do wonders for your motivation and results. This can mean trying different classes at the gym, for example, or taking your workout to a park instead of staying indoors. It can also mean trying new recipes or, if you are sick of cooking for yourself, going out to restaurants after carefully checking the menu to make sure you know which lean protein and vegetables you will order.

Your health is largely in the hands of the most qualified person to manage it: you. When you have momentum and when things get rough, you can be the expert at making the right decisions for you and your body. Lark is always there to support and encourage you.