It’s happened to us all - progress, progress, progress, and then nothing. One day it’s “you look amazing,” and the next day it’s cold-turkey compliment cutoff. Your body has inadvertently crossed its proverbial arms, plopped down in a corner, and stuck out its pouty lip… Not. Moving. There comes a point in every body-changing, goal-attaining journey when the tires of progress come to a screeching halt, no matter what the changes and goals may be. It’s unavoidable, yet not undefeatable. Keep calm and take these Carnigirl suggestions into consideration.

1) Do you actually know specifically how much you’re eating? It’s a simple question that might get a shotgun “yes” answer until you stop and reflect. Much less common knowledge is how much our bodies need. For example, too much of a calorie deficit can cause your body to cling to unwanted fat for dear life, and dehydration can cause your body to hold all the extra water, which looks and feels weighty. Try this: start by tracking every bite and sip you take for 1 week. Write it all down on a pad measuring and counting calories. Plug your numbers into any online Calorie Deficit Calculator. Your numbers will reveal if you’re headed in the right direction.

2) How are you tracking your progress? Is this a real plateau or has the scale just stopped moving? Maybe you’ve added some beneficial (and heavier) lean muscle mass in place of fat. Are your clothes fitting better? Are you getting more restful sleep at night and feeling more energized during the day? The point is there are more than a couple of ways to track progress besides a scale. Pick a new one or three and give it a few weeks to show some change.

3) What about your hormones? Are you helping your body recover completely through nutrition, hydration, and rest? Maybe you need to add a supporting supplement to your daily routine (i.e. a high-quality multivitamin). Where is your stress level and how are you managing it? High levels of cortisol (produced from high levels of stress) keep your body in constant fight-or-flight mode and can have harmful effects on immunity and digestion, among other things. Various factors can cause shifts in your body’s levels of leptin, insulin, estrogen, and even cortisol - all of which contribute to weight control and can wreck your progress train when out of balance. Bottom line, check yourself. Better yet, have someone check you.

4) Have you settled into a certain diet and exercise regimen that is no longer challenging your body, causing it to respond with change? The longer you eat and workout a certain way, the more comfortable your body gets. Essentially, your plumb line is always moving. If you’re not actively responding to your body’s new baseline, you will absolutely stop seeing forward progress. Add a little more weight to the bar. Pick up the pace or throw in some interval work. Try intermittent fasting, a total diet overall, or (my fave) a fad diet for a minute. Do something that will shock your system out of comfort mode and back into work mode.