Weight Loss Plateau: 5 More Ways to Beat It
You’re doing everything right, such as eating healthy and working out regularly. Weight was coming off, and you were making progress towards your goals. But then your weight loss came to a screeching halt. You’ve reached a weight loss plateau.
I frequently get questions about weight loss plateaus, and I have previously written an article on this topic – be sure to check it out too.
What causes a weight loss plateau?
A weight loss plateau can occur for a few different reasons. As you lose weight, your calorie needs change. For example, if you start at 200 pounds, your body requires a certain number of calories to maintain that weight. If you take off 40 pounds, your body now needs fewer calories to maintain your new weight. When you don’t adjust your calories accordingly as your weight decreases, weight loss may slow down and eventually stop – the dreaded weight loss plateau.
Another reason the scale may stall is if you’re not sticking to your weight loss plan as closely as you did when you first started. It’s not uncommon for people who are working at losing weight to slack off a bit after the first few months. If you have started to splurge more on the foods you eat or occasionally skip workouts, it could explain the plateau. Be honest with yourself about your habits.
It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s normal for weight loss to slow. You’re not going to lose as much weight six months into your program as you did the first few weeks. A month during which you lost 2-3 lbs. might feel like a plateau, but it’s not. Make sure your expectations are realistic.
Pushing past a weight loss plateau
Although a weight loss plateau can be frustrating, you can get past it. There are several things you can do to reach your weight loss goals including:
1. Mix things up
Your body might get used to the same exercise routine. Consider doing something different during your workouts. For instance, if you bike, switch it up by jogging a few days a week. If you exercise three days a week, add a fourth day or a second workout on one day, or increase your workouts by 15 minutes. The goal is to do something different to challenge your body.
2. Reevaluate calories
Track everything you eat and drink each day – a fitness app is ideal for this – and determine how many calories you are taking in. Try cutting 100 – 200 calories a day as long as you are not dropping below 1200 calories daily. Eating too few calories will cause your body to go into survival mode and your metabolism will slow, which will only reinforce a plateau.
3. Increase workout intensity
Regardless of what type of exercise you’re doing, rev up the intensity a bit. Consider incorporating high-intensity intervals into your workouts. For example, if you run at a steady speed for 30 minutes, alternate sprinting and jogging instead.
4. Determine if anything has changed
Stress, hormones, and sleep can all affect weight loss. Are you getting less sleep or dealing with more stress? Fluctuating hormones can also play a role in weight loss. If you examine these factors and think one or more of them might be contributing to a weight loss plateau, make the necessary changes to get yourself back on track.
5. Look at the big picture
Remember, the number on the scale doesn’t tell the entire story. Your workout routine might be helping you build muscle and lose inches and fat, but the scale may not be moving much. Tracking your body measurements, testing your body fat percentage, or considering how your clothes fit can all be alternative indicators of your progress.
Looking for more ways to break through a weight loss plateau or get restarted towards achieving your health, fitness, or weight loss goals? The personal trainers at Elite Triangle Fitness can work with you to develop a personalized program to help you get the body of your dreams. Contact us for a free consultation today!