Is there anything more frustrating than a weight loss plateau? It can be very disheartening when your weight stops changing, especially when you’ve been trying so hard.
Seeing that it can happen to anyone in the weight loss journey, some expert advice is essential. Undoubtedly, the goal is to break the weight loss plateau and start losing fat again, but how do we do that?
There’s not always a simple solution, given that some of the challenges to weight loss can come from health-related issues. It is, however, a sign that you need to change things up.
When Does the Weight Loss Plateau Hit?
The crucial question is, when does the weight loss plateau strike? What causes a plateau in weight loss?
In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all answer because your body is unique in it’s conditions.
Despite sticking to your diet and exercise plan to lose weight, your body can make unpredictable decisions.
But generally, a weight loss plateau is when your body weight stops changing. This tends to happen about 6 months into a low-calorie food plan.
Common Causes of a Weight Loss Plateau
Whether you’re striving for medical weight loss or if you’re losing weight for your sense of wellbeing, weight loss plateaus are a frustration.
However, some of the most common theories of a plateau when dieting include the following:
- Losing enough weight that your metabolism and base calorie requirements fall drastically (it’s estimated that we need 6.8 calories fewer for every pound of weight loss)
- Losing muscle tone from a lack of exercise, resulting in a lower BMR and slower weight loss
- Snacking more than you realize during the day, making it harder to achieve your daily dieting and calorie goals
- Inaccurate calorie counting throughout the day, perhaps due to changing recipes or ingredients in your normal cooking
- Consuming too few calories in a day, making your BMR and metabolism more erratic overall
- Finding it harder to stick to your diet/exercise plan with time could reduce your ability to burn calories and lose weight accordingly.
Just because weight loss plateaus are common does not mean it is impossible to overcome them.
Still, it helps to put in the time and monitor your weight loss efforts. You do not want the plateau to become a long-term issue.
How to Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau
Have you been paying attention to your progress? When you notice a weight loss plateau creeping in, it pays not to ignore it.
Often people let this situation slide until the frustration leads to feeling like they want to give up.
But, every bit of weight loss is something to celebrate. Talking it through with professionals can help you further if you feel stuck.
Here are some expert recommendations to help you overcome a weight loss plateau:
1. Monitor your Calorie Requirements
One of the leading causes of weight loss plateaus is an insufficient calorie deficit.
When you lose weight, your calorie requirements also fall.
Be sure to check your estimated calorie requirements regularly. It’s possible they need to be adapted.
Keeping a record of everything you consume keeps you accountable. Whether you use a food diary or an app that keeps track, the truth may just be found in the facts.
Make sure you’re having enough fiber every day and eating enough vegetables, checking to see if there are too many hidden carbs.
2. Create Exercise and Diet Plans You Can Stick To
Another common cause of weight loss plateaus is an inability to stick to your plan.
Thus, finding exercise and diet plans you can genuinely stick with, may help.
The ideal option in this regard will vary from person to person; for example, while some people might need a diet that treats them as being good, other people might need to choose a more varied diet to keep things interesting, and so on.
Alternatively, some find it helpful to work with a personal trainer so they can try some variety.
In contrast, you might prefer a do-it-yourself approach and use a program with a fitness guide and nutrition plan. You can make adjustments as you need to, even if it’s just making sure you’re getting more activity in your day.
3. Find a New Source of Motivation
Are you struggling to stick with the plan? Motivation may be a leading factor in this.
With this thought in mind, finding a new source of motivation could be an excellent way to boost your dieting efforts if you’ve been finding it hard to keep things up.
For example, something as simple as joining a dieting group or finding a new quote that’s meaningful to you could go a long way here.
Similarly, you might consider joining a gym and including HIIT classes. High-intensity training, once or twice a week, has had proven results for a lot of people.
4. Change Things Up, Reduce Stress and Monitor Your Sleep
If you are still finding it hard to overcome a lack of motivation, it may be worth simply taking some time out.
Take time to check in with your habits and where you may have let things slide.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should completely give up on the diet; however, by taking some time to reassess, get some outside advice and make some changes
Also, some studies have shown that reducing stress helps people to lose weight. So, you could try breathing exercises or muscle relaxation, and see if it makes a difference.
Ensuring you have a good amount of sleep is also beneficial. If you can improve the quality and length of sleep time, it could help with the breaking the weight loss plateau.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Weight Loss Plateau
Nothing’s more frustrating in many cases than that moment during your diet when the weight loss plateau hits.
However, while this can seem like a set back, it doesn’t have to be impossible to overcome.
You’ll break the plateau in no time if you’re prepared to make the changes.