Portrait of funny overweight young redhead male with sports band on his head having unhappy and sad look, holding glass jar of sweets, longing for unhealthy carbohydrates after physical exercises
Health & Wellness Behaviour Resources

Overcome Your Progression Regression

Overcome Your Progression Regression



When we embark on a journey to better ourselves, whether it’s achieving a new career milestone or improving our physical condition, it’s inevitable that we’ll face hurdles. Life rarely offers a smooth trajectory towards any worthwhile goal. In terms of personal fitness and well-being, these hurdles often manifest as plateaus or even regressions, where it feels like progress is grinding to a halt or moving backward.

The Emotional Toll of Plateaus and Regressions

The emotional impact of encountering a plateau or regression cannot be understated. You’ve likely invested significant time, effort, and perhaps even financial resources into your fitness journey. When results aren’t forthcoming, it’s natural to question the worth of your investment and even consider giving up. It’s a disheartening phase that tests your resolve, making it all too tempting to fall back into old habits or abandon your goals altogether.

The Silver Lining: Opportunity for Breakthroughs

Here’s where the real magic happens. Plateaus and regressions are not just stumbling blocks; they’re opportunities for introspection, recalibration, and ultimately, significant breakthroughs. It’s like a wakeup call that invites you to reassess your strategies and perhaps uncover inefficiencies or flaws that you weren’t aware of. This is a golden chance to fine-tune your approach, engage in targeted training, and maybe even seek professional guidance to break through the obstacle.

The Breadth of Applicability

While the focus of this article is on reigniting your momentum in weight loss, the underlying principles are universal. Whether you’re trying to advance in your career, learn a new skill, or improve a relationship, the strategies for overcoming plateaus and reigniting progress are broadly applicable. Every area of life that involves growth or improvement is subject to these natural ebbs and flows. Learning how to navigate them effectively is crucial to long-term success in any domain.

So, this isn’t just an article about weight loss; it’s an article about mastering the art of perseverance, strategic planning, and self-improvement. Through actionable strategies grounded in both science and real-world application, we’ll explore how you can reignite that vital momentum and move closer to your goals, no matter what they may be.

Stress Levels 

Stress Management & Bodily Impacts Health

Stress serves as a double-edged sword in the context of weight loss. On one hand, a moderate amount of stress can sometimes serve as a motivator to adhere to your health goals. However, chronic or elevated stress can have the opposite effect, not only halting your progress but potentially setting you back.

The Cortisol Conundrum

Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” is released in higher amounts when you’re under stress. While cortisol has essential roles in the body, elevated levels can wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts. The hormone encourages the storage of fat, particularly in troublesome areas like the abdomen. This natural yet vexing process occurs because the body, under stress, goes into a sort of ‘survival mode,’ conserving energy in the form of fat.

Emotional Toll and Self-Sabotage

Another layer of complexity is the emotional toll that a weight loss plateau can take. If you’ve been rigorously following a well-structured plan, a lack of progress or even regression can be demoralising. This stress feeds back into the cortisol loop, creating a vicious cycle that makes it even harder to lose weight. In this stressful state, you’re more likely to engage in self-sabotaging behaviours, such as emotional eating, skipping workouts, or skimping on sleep, all of which are counterproductive to your weight loss journey.

Hormonal Havoc Beyond Cortisol

Moreover, chronic stress doesn’t just elevate cortisol levels; it can disrupt your overall hormonal balance, affecting hormones like insulin that manage your blood sugar levels. When insulin balance is thrown off, your body’s ability to process fats and sugars becomes compromised. This hormonal disarray can lead to a sort of metabolic stalemate, where despite your best efforts, you find yourself stuck, neither losing weight nor gaining muscle.

Breaking the Stress-Weight Plateau Cycle

So, what’s the way out of this gridlock? Awareness is the first step. Understanding that stress can be a significant barrier to weight loss allows you to address the problem head-on. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, short mindfulness breaks, or even seeking professional advice can go a long way in managing your stress levels. By controlling stress, you’re not merely improving your mental well-being; you’re also creating a physiological environment where weight loss becomes achievable again. A proactive approach to stress management can be the missing piece in your weight loss puzzle, helping you break free from plateaus and restart your journey toward a healthier you.

Prioritise Sleep

Sleep, Recover, Rest

The Hunger Hormone Dance: Ghrelin and Leptin

When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body’s levels of ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and leptin (the “satiety hormone”) can get out of balance. A lack of sleep elevates ghrelin levels, which ramps up your appetite, while suppressing leptin, making it less likely you’ll feel full after eating. In simpler terms, sleep deprivation can make you hungrier and less satisfied with your meals, creating a perfect storm for overeating or making unhealthy food choices.

Insulin Sensitivity and Its Weighty Consequences

It’s not just your eating habits that suffer when you’re sleep-deprived; your metabolic functions are also adversely affected. Poor sleep can make your body less responsive to insulin, resulting in higher levels of insulin resistance. Over time, your body becomes less effective at shuttling sugar from your blood into cells for energy. This inefficiency can lead to increased fat storage and even pave the way for more severe conditions like type 2 diabetes. This study highlights the impact on cortisol when sleep is minimised

Impact on Physical Performance and Activity Levels

Reduced sleep doesn’t only play havoc with your hormones and metabolism; it can also significantly undermine your physical performance. Imagine the toll it takes on your body and motivation to push through a challenging workout when you’re running on empty. Lower energy levels and increased fatigue can make your regular exercise routine feel like a herculean task, further exacerbating your weight loss plateau.

The Cognitive Toll and Decision-making

Additionally, your body uses sleep to perform a range of restorative functions. This includes everything from muscle repair after a strenuous workout to the consolidation of memories, both of which are vital for long-term weight loss success. Poor sleep quality interferes with these processes, leaving you both physically and mentally drained. This can have a direct impact on your motivation levels and your ability to make sound decisions that align with your weight loss goals.

The Action Plan: Making Sleep a Non-Negotiable

If you find that your weight loss has hit a standstill, it might be time to re-examine your sleep habits. Are you getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep? Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, crafting a relaxing bedtime routine, and setting up a conducive sleep environment can all contribute to better sleep quality. A dark, cool room and a comfortable mattress can make a world of difference. By giving sleep the priority it deserves, you’re not only enhancing your general well-being but also creating an internal environment more conducive to effective weight loss.

Increase General Activity

Understanding the Role of NEAT in Weight Loss

The process of weight loss often evokes images of rigorous gym workouts, cardio sessions, and tightly regulated exercise plans. While these elements are crucial for your fitness journey, they represent only a small portion of your daily life. What may surprise you is that the rest of your waking hours also offer abundant opportunities for calorie-burning, thanks to Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or NEAT.

The Hidden Potential of Daily Activities

NEAT encompasses all the physical activities you participate in outside of formal exercise—walking to the shops, cleaning the house, taking the stairs, playing with your children, or even fidgeting at your desk. Over the course of the day, the calories burned through these NEAT activities can accumulate significantly. Importantly, these actions contribute to your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which needs to surpass your caloric intake for weight loss to take place.

Why NEAT is Effective for Weight Loss

The effectiveness of NEAT in weight loss lies in its less strenuous nature, which allows you to sustain these activities for more extended periods, compared to high-intensity workouts. Furthermore, these activities are usually integrated seamlessly into our daily routines, requiring little to no additional effort. By consciously enhancing your general activity levels, you can more effortlessly achieve a calorie deficit.

Incorporating NEAT into Your Daily Routine

You can introduce more NEAT activities into your daily routine in a variety of ways. Consider walking or cycling for short distances instead of driving. If you spend much of your day at a desk, make an effort to stand and move around at regular intervals. Perhaps try a standing desk or even walking meetings. Simple household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening, also contribute to your NEAT levels.

A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss

The key message here is to incorporate more general activities into your day consciously. Don’t limit calorie-burning to formal exercise sessions; adopt a holistic approach to your daily routines and identify opportunities to include more movement. This shift in perspective can significantly reignite your weight loss journey, helping you overcome plateaus and keep progressing.

Broaden Your Metrics

Beyond the Scale: The Limitations of Single Metrics

Let’s face it, scales and mirrors can be both motivating and damning, often in the same week! The numbers and reflections we see are simple, immediate, and easily understood, which is why they often become our go-to metrics for success. However, these methods can be misleading, not to mention discouraging, especially when you find yourself in a weight loss plateau. Factors like water retention, hormonal fluctuations, and even muscle gain can distort what the scale tells you.

The Hidden Nuances: Water Retention and Muscle Mass

For example, water retention often occurs due to a high sodium diet or hormonal changes in the body, making you feel like you’ve gained weight when you haven’t. Likewise, if you’re on a strength training regime, you may be gaining muscle mass, which is denser and thus weighs more than fat. While your scale might show an increase in weight, this is actually a sign of improved body composition, a critical aspect of overall health.

A 360-degree View: Incorporating Multiple Metrics

Rather than narrowly focusing on just one or two metrics, consider broadening your perspective. How do your clothes fit? Are they getting looser around the waist but tighter around the arms and chest? That’s likely an indication of fat loss and muscle gain, even if your overall weight hasn’t significantly changed. Biometric scans can provide a more detailed picture of your body composition, revealing the percentage of muscle mass, body fat, and even bone density.

The Intangibles: Energy Levels and External Feedback

In addition to these more quantifiable metrics, don’t underestimate the importance of qualitative factors like your energy levels, mood, and feedback from people around you. Are you feeling more energetic, confident, or even receiving compliments on your appearance? These are often the first signs that you’re on the right track, even before significant changes show up on the scale or mirror.

The Power of Patience and Pragmatism

Being practical and patient in your approach is key to long-term success. Remember, your body is a complex system, and change doesn’t happen overnight. Just because you haven’t noticed a difference in your weight or appearance in a short period doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made. By adopting a more comprehensive set of metrics, you’re more likely to catch the subtle but significant shifts that signal you’re moving closer to your goals. These additional metrics can serve as both motivation and affirmation that you’re doing the right things and that results are just around the corner.

So, the next time you find yourself frustrated by a lack of apparent progress, take a step back and look at the broader picture. Are you taking into account all the ways in which you might be improving? If not, you’re doing yourself a disservice and potentially missing out on the positive reinforcement that comes from recognising all forms of progress. After all, success isn’t solely about the numbers on a scale; it’s about the holistic improvement of your well-being.

Reduce Carbohydrate Intake 

Giant plate of spaghetti for carb loading performance

The Water Weight Phenomenon: Initial Drops in the Scale

Firstly, let’s talk about what happens when you initially reduce carbohydrates. Each gram of carbohydrate holds onto about four grams of water. So, when you cut down on carbs, you’re not just shedding those carbs but also the water they retain. This leads to an immediate and often motivating drop in weight, which is mainly water weight. Now, while this isn’t fat loss, it can act as a psychological boost, offering immediate results and encouraging you to stick with your weight loss regimen.

Appetite and Satiety: How Carbs Can Influence Hunger

Secondly, the impact on appetite is crucial. Carbohydrates, particularly simple carbs like sugars and refined grains, can cause rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. This rollercoaster can make you feel hungry again shortly after a meal, encouraging a cycle of overeating. On the other hand, a diet lower in carbs and richer in proteins and fats can stabilise these blood sugar swings, thereby suppressing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. This can be a potent tool to prevent overeating and help you adhere to your caloric goals more comfortably.

The Caloric Density: Understanding Energy Provision

Don’t forget, carbs can be pretty calorically dense, particularly when they come in the form of sugary snacks and processed foods. Reducing your intake of high-carb foods can make it easier to create the caloric deficit needed for weight loss, simply because you’re cutting out a significant source of calories.

The Hormonal Aspect: Insulin Sensitivity

The hormonal factor also plays a significant role. Carbohydrates are the primary drivers of insulin secretion. Insulin is a hormone that aids in the storage of nutrients; when out of balance, it can contribute to fat accumulation and hamper fat loss. By reducing your carb intake, you can potentially improve your insulin sensitivity, making your body more efficient at using stored fat for energy. This hormonal change is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to break through a weight-loss plateau.

The Caveats: Individual Variation and Nutritional Balance

However, it’s crucial to note that reducing carbohydrate intake isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. People respond differently to dietary changes based on their metabolism, activity levels, and even genetics. It’s also essential to ensure you’re still getting all the nutrients you need; low-carb shouldn’t mean low-nutrition. Be mindful to incorporate a balanced mix of protein, healthy fats, and fibrous vegetables to meet your nutritional needs adequately.

So, if you find your weight loss journey has hit a bit of a wall, examining your carbohydrate intake might offer a viable strategy for getting things moving again. By understanding the various ways in which carbohydrates can impact your weight loss, you can make a more informed choice about whether a low-carb approach is right for you.

Take A 5 Minute Action

Protein Powders are potable and convenient

The Inertia Conundrum: Overcoming Stagnation Through Action

One of the most insidious obstacles to achieving your weight loss goals is inertia—a lack of motion or change. Often, when you’re feeling unmotivated or stagnant, the thought of initiating a significant change can seem overwhelming. This is where the power of 5-minute actions comes into play. By taking just a small step towards your goal, you can disrupt this inertia and create a ripple effect that leads to bigger changes over time.

Flipping the Script: Action Fuels Motivation

Most people believe that they need to feel motivated before they take action, but psychology and behavioural science suggest that the exact opposite is true. It’s action that begets motivation, not the other way around. When you engage in a positive behaviour, no matter how small, you create a sense of accomplishment and a boost in mood, which in turn fuels further action. It’s a virtuous cycle that starts with that initial 5-minute commitment.

Micro-Commitments: The Manageable Path to Macro Goals

In the context of weight loss, a 5-minute action could be as simple as doing a quick set of push-ups, preparing a healthy snack, or even jotting down your food intake for the day. These micro-commitments are incredibly manageable, almost to the point where it seems silly not to do them. Yet their impact should not be underestimated. Consistently making these small choices builds up to substantial long-term results.

Cognitive Shifts: Redefining Your Self-Image

Another fascinating aspect of 5-minute actions is the subtle shift they can induce in your self-perception. When you continually take small steps towards your goal, you start to see yourself as someone who is proactive, disciplined, and committed to their well-being. This cognitive shift is remarkably powerful, reinforcing your actions and strengthening your resolve for the challenges that lie ahead.

The Domino Effect: Cascading Impact on Your Day

You’ll often find that what starts as a 5-minute action cascades into more extended periods of productivity. Perhaps that 5-minute walk around the block turns into a brisk 30-minute jog, or maybe the 5 minutes you spent planning a healthy meal leads you to do a complete dietary overhaul. It’s a beautiful domino effect that starts with one straightforward choice.

If you find yourself at a weight loss plateau or simply need to reignite your passion for your health journey, don’t underestimate the transformative power of 5-minute actions. They’re not just a quick fix but a foundational strategy for sustained success and progress. By making this simple yet effective tactic a regular part of your routine, you’ll not only see better results but also enjoy a renewed sense of motivation and purpose.

Don’t Wait For Motivation

Protein Headache

The Fallacy of Motivational Waiting

It’s a common narrative: “I’ll start when I feel motivated.” The truth, however, is that waiting for the right mood or the perfect set of circumstances can become a perpetual cycle of inaction. It’s a procrastination technique that we often use, perhaps subconsciously, to absolve ourselves of the responsibility to act.

Motivation as a Byproduct, Not a Prerequisite

It’s crucial to understand that motivation is more accurately described as a byproduct of action rather than a prerequisite for it. You don’t need to feel motivated to take that first step; rather, it’s the act of starting—of committing to that first push-up or cooking that first healthy meal—that generates the motivation to continue.

Proactivity as a Catalyst

Taking proactive steps, regardless of your initial emotional state, triggers a psychological shift. It generates a momentum that not only propels you toward your objective but also fosters a sense of agency and empowerment. It’s a positive feedback loop: the more you act, the more competent and motivated you feel, which in turn encourages more action.

The Ripple Effect on Your Environment

Another often overlooked advantage of taking proactive steps is the positive impact it has on those around you. Your actions serve as a tangible display of commitment and resolve, which can inspire your friends, family, or even strangers to take their own steps toward a healthier lifestyle. It’s not just about you; it’s about creating a virtuous cycle of improvement within your community.

Dismantling Barriers Through Incremental Steps

If the prospect of significant change feels overwhelming, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. This tactic not only makes the journey more achievable but also disrupts the paralysis often induced by overthinking or excessive planning. You’d be surprised how even the smallest of steps can dismantle mental and emotional barriers, leaving you free to pursue your goals with renewed vigour.

In conclusion, waiting for motivation to strike is an exercise in futility. It’s a passive approach that often leads to stagnation rather than progress. Opt instead for a proactive mindset that embraces action as the real catalyst for change. This forward momentum will not only propel you towards your goals more effectively but also cultivate a broader culture of positivity and growth.

The Run Down

Progress in weight loss, muscle gain, and overall well-being is rarely linear. It’s common to experience setbacks, but how you manage these moments significantly influences your overall success. Trust the process, utilise the expertise of your coach for guidance, and stay committed. Your goals are not just attainable; they’re well within your reach. Keep going.

Related Articles

In the world of health and fitness staying informed is crucial for long term success. Here are a list of articles I can recommend you check out. Click on the article name to access.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *