So you’re trucking along. You’ve finally flipped that weight loss switch and the pounds are coming off. And you think, “I’ve finally got it!”
And then…. NOTHING. No more weight loss!
The scale stops moving. The good news, you’re not gaining weight. The bad, you’re no longer losing either. What the heck?
Here’s my thought process. I didn’t cheat but I did have that extra serving of low fat yogurt. That must be it. I just had too many calories. No sweat, I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow.
Not. The scale still doesn’t go down, and now you’re wondering what you’ve done wrong. Nothing, you’ve done nothing wrong.
You’ve just hit the often disastrous weight loss plateau.
But you can beat a weight loss plateau and here’s how…..
Weight Loss Plateau Myth Buster
You’re moving along with your weight loss nicely and boom! Suddenly you’re at a stand still. Your weight won’t budge and you haven’t done one thing different, or so you think! What does it mean?
Well it doesn’t mean your weight loss journey is over. Perhaps a slow down is giving you indication that you did eat one too many things that you should not have. Don’t sweat it, and done get discouraged. Just jump back up on that horse again.
Okay so you haven’t cheated and allowed some additional calories in, so that might be an indicator then of your metabolism slowing down. Let’s look closer at why this plateau happens.
Weight Loss Plateaus- Why It Happens
Here it is in a nut shell… You start eating healthy, start losing weight. Weight loss for most of us when we start dieting will consist of fat and muscle. Muscle is what helps you burn calories, so if you’re losing muscle, you’re burning less fat which equates to a slower metabolism.
Another reason for hitting a plateau could just be because your body has adjusted to the weight loss. Think of it this way, Have you experienced some weight loss, gone off of your diet, but maintained the lower weight consistently? Exactly, me too. I have lost weight, not as much as I wanted, but for whatever reason I did not follow the lower calorie, healthy diet AND I maintained my lost weight amount. My body adjusted, my metabolism evened out and even though I wasn’t being careful with my eating I stayed at my lower weight.
With weight loss, not only is your physical body is changing, but internally so are your nutritional needs changing. So the nutrition your body once was dependent on needs to adapt to your new body – inside and out.
Have you ever heard of the set point theory? Have you maintained your body weight without trying at any weight? That is the set point theory. I remember when I first packed on the first additional 30 pounds. I stayed at that weight for a number of years, then for reasons I done want to admit, (embarrassing!), I put on another 20 pounds. Prior to my 50 pound weight gain, I maintained my weight for 20 years without trying – set point theory.
Well part of the plateau could be that your body adjusted to the weight loss and is automatically maintaining that weight. This is a good thing!
Lastly, you could have hit that plateau because you’ve gone off of your plan and just done realize how much you’ve deviated because who likes to admit how much they’ve cheated? It’s okay, and normal!
So how do you fix this and start losing again?
How Long Does a Weight Loss Plateau Last
Weight loss plateaus last, well, as long as they do! Sorry, I know it’s not the best answer but truly the length of time it takes to over come a plateau will be per individual and situation. It could be anywhere from a few days to a few months!
No secret that the faster you find out why you hit the plateau, the faster you can over come it. So let’s look at how to beat that stalemate now.
How to Beat the Weight Loss Plateau
Steps to beating a weight loss
1) Identify why.
You first have to identify why you may have hit the plateau. As stated above, you need to do a little self introspection as to why you stopped losing weight. This could take very little time if you’re honest with yourself.
2) Are you eating too much of the wrong foods, and just fooling yourself into thinking you’re not cheating that much? That’s an easy fix. Cut back again!
3) You’re eating all the right foods but hit that plateau? You’re losing muscle. Start a simple strength training program like this one from Jillian Michaels, 20-Minute Jillian Michaels Workout to Boost Power and Strength
Don’t have free weights? No problem try this. It’s what I do when I don”t have a lot of time:
- 10 squats
- 5 push-ups
- 10 walking lunges
- 10 second plank
- 15 jumping jacks
- Repeat for 3 time
4) Doing all the right things and still aren’t losing? Step it up. Lower the calories slightly and increase the amount of exercise.
5) Also track the quality of the food you’re eating. You may be staying within your eating plan guidelines but what’s the quality of your food? We process artificial substances if different ways and one of the biggest culprits is high fructose corn syrup. Here’s why you’re probably eating an abundance of it and thinking you’re still eating healthy. It’s one of my most popular previous blogs One Reason You’re Overweight – High Fructose Corn Syrup
You could be just days away from overcoming that weight loss plateau but stay with it! Don’t give up!
Weight loss is exhausting. Really, mentally exhausting. What should I eat, did I record those calories, meal prep, grocery lists… on and on. Don’t let a temporary stop in losing deter you and exhaust you more.
Accept it. It’s normal to hit a plateau.
Hitting that weight loss plateau is as normal as breathing. However, overcoming it is as easy as understand what you are or aren’t doing.
I’ve done it. I admit I’ve veered off the road with my eating. I’ve recognized it and I’m slowly getting back to regulating those bad habits. It’s been slow for me to get back on the plan, but that was a personal choice.
Be persistent. Visualize your goals, visualize what you’ll look like and how good you’ll feel when you reach your ultimate goal.
You’ve got this.