3 Strategies to Keep You Motivated
Last week, you were feeling full-on & ready to tackle your fitness & weight-loss goals head-on. This week? Not so much. You're tired, you're hungry, & you're aching in places you didn't even know existed. But before you lose all motivation – everyone feels like this in their second week. "In week two, your body is generally in a state of severe breakdown. After all, you're eating less, exercising hard & your body needs some time to adapt to this new life change.
1. Don't panic if you plateau
You've worked & exercised hard all week & been extremely strict about your diet. So when you hop on the scale, you're ready to see the results. But here's the down-side: During Week 2, it's not unusual to get stuck or even gain a pound or two. "As your body adjusts to exercise cortisol, a performance-enhancing stress hormone is released. Part of cortisol's function is to promote water retention as a defence mechanism for survival. This causes you to feel puffy & maintain or gain some weight.
So, your body aches, you're hungry & the numbers on the scales are now moving in the wrong direction. It's no wonder you feel discouraged & are tempted to sack it all. But hang in there, your body will eventually get the message. It's a necessary part of the process. Sometime between Weeks 3 & 6, once your body adapts to your exercise program, you stop producing cortisol & flush the excess water from your system, which leads to you feeling & looking fitter & losing some weight.
2. Track progress, not just weight loss
While there's plenty of science behind your plateau, that doesn't make it any less frustrating. So when the numbers on the scales aren't moving, how can you tell if you're still on the right track?
Start recording your healthy habits - whether that means keeping a workout log or posting Instagram® shots of your meals - so you can see all the changes you've made.
Track the behaviour, not the outcome.
Track the food you eat, the steps you take & the calories you burn. Make those your markers of success." Seeing these changes will give you the motivation to power through this week's plateau: "Think of motivation like a tank of gas. The tank doesn't need to be full to move, but you can't run on empty."
3. Focus on the process
Sure, your biggest motivation might be squeezing into smaller jeans. But this week consider the process. Reconsider the way you think about exercising, let it becomes your escape, your path to wellness & health, something that’s yours and you do for you.
Our thoughts can have a powerful effect on our ability to change to a healthier lifestyle. If you're too focused on the scale, a second-week plateau may feel like a huge failure; if you focus on the "me time" you get while working out, you'll achieve that no matter what.
If that doesn't help, just acknowledge that this week won't be your favourite & it’s going to be hard. Belief in the process helps at this stage. You cannot make a total body composition change without suffering through a period where all of your goals seem like they are going backwards. Compare it to scaling a mountain or running an Ironman—miserable while you're in the thick of it, but insanely rewarding once you're done. Hang in there, there's only a few more days until next week.