It happens to almost everyone sometime during their fitness journey no matter how much we say we don’t care what the scale says. You feel leaner, jump on the scale for confirmation your hard work is paying off, only to be discouraged.
The scale isn’t moving. Or maybe the opposite, it’s gone up.
Unfortunately, being discouraged by the scale is probably the biggest threat to consistency.
I know, because I go through it too.
So, how do you stay consistent when the scale isn’t moving?
First things first, we need to make sure we are setting realistic expectations. Is it realistic to want to lose 10 pounds in two weeks? If you’ve eaten one “clean” meal, how much will your body change overnight?
Be Honest With Yourself
We often aren’t seeing the progress we want because we aren’t staying as consistent with our diet and exercise. You can’t be surprised that the scale hasn’t moved (or has gone up if weight loss is the goal) when you skipped a couple of workouts and didn’t stick to your nutrition for a few days.
Let me be clear, I am not saying punish yourself. The goal is to be honest with the effort you put in and the results you can expect.
Get More Sleep
How much sleep are you getting every night?
According to the Sleep Foundation, an adult should aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
Sleep deprivation can play a big part in weight control and muscle growth. Lack of sleep can cause your metabolism to slow down and can limit muscle repair and growth.
Our bodies regulate hormones at night, especially those in charge of fat burning and appetite. When you don’t get enough deep sleep, your brain thinks that you have insufficient energy stores and then goes into a state of starvation, which ups your appetite.
Track Your Food
If you feel like you’re doing everything right and still aren’t seeing progress, I recommend tracking your food for at least a week. I understand tracking can be a pain and it is not for everyone. However, whether you enjoy it or not, it is extremely informational and helpful.
There are lots of ways to track. One app I use often is MyFitnessPal. I use it to track my meals during this part of competition prep to keep me on track and accountable to what I am putting in my body. You also can just use a simple notebook.
Find your motivation
Finding your motivation to workout is absolutely essential in ensuring that you stick to a routine. Most people can vaguely describe why they want to workout (to lose weight, to prevent heart disease, to look great in clothing), but rarely do people take the time to really dig deeper to discover why exercise is important to them.
Write it down and reflect on it. Put a sign on your fridge. Place sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Make sure it is very specific and compelling enough to actually motivate you.
Measure your progress
I don’t mean with a scale. Use a body tape measure and take progress photos. Ask yourself, do your clothes fit differently?
Track these numbers and take notice of the changes. Your could be adding more muscle and the scale not moving as drastically as you’d like.
Plan your workouts. Look at your calendar and see when, where, and how much time you have to exercise on certain days. Put it on your calendar and block off that time!
You’re less likely to cancel what is on your calendar like a doctor’s appointment or important meeting. Be your own important meeting.
I plan all of my workouts. I even block out my lunchtimes so no one can place a lunchtime meeting or get together on my calendar cause it’s open. When I need to make adjustments I do, but I try to keep to the schedule I set.
Do What You Enjoy
It is much easier to be consistent when you do what you enjoy. If you actually enjoy what you are doing, you will feel excited to work out instead of obligated.
Have an accountability partner
An accountability partner is one of the most effective ways to achieve your goals.
Accountability partners, or APs, can help you when you feel like you don’t have the umph to go on, when you need that extra push and to be your cheerleader, But a good AP will also be someone who calls you on your crap.
Commit to 30 days
Start small. Commit to something for 30 days whether it’s exercising, cutting back on certain things, eating more vegetables or drinking more water.
Pick a number of days you want to do what you have chosen and then stick to that for an entire month, giving yourself permission that if you don’t like it at the end of the month, you don’t have to continue.
What are you willing to try to make some changes?