Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau – How to Run Past it

  • Usman 

Losing weight is a challenging task. It takes a lot of will power, motivation and commitment to make your body reach the ultimate weight point. So, you’ve started a diet, you’re exercising and doing everything the way it’s supposed to be done.

Initially, you watch your weight drop quickly in a matter of months, however, there comes a time when you observe no improvements in your weight. You can’t figure out what has happened? Your body has stopped making any progress because you’ve reached a weight loss plateau.

Overcoming weight loss Plateau

It is very dispiriting. You can end up throwing all the time and effort you’ve put up to it away. But know that there’s a way around this disappointing point. It is also important for you to know many individuals experience a weight loss plateau. And they get through it, as well.

Healthy weight loss rate

When you are trying to lose weight, it is normal for you to expect instant results. Who doesn’t want to see physical and positive changes in themselves as soon as possible? However, individuals who are patient with the process of losing weight are more successful at it. Taking up a progressive and slow approach is best for you if you want to maintain it in the long run.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing 1 or 2 pounds (0.91 kg) a week is the recommended weight loss rate. Rushing into a process and expecting it to work as soon as possible is never a good idea. Trying to lose weight quickly can leave a negative impact on your health as well.

For example, you can experience lethargy, gallstones, or become malnutrition. Most importantly, do not go for plans that guarantee instant and effortless fall in your weight. Stay clear of weight loss pills too as none of that is good for you.

Taking up a gradual approach can set many things straight for you. It is expected to show health benefits like improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars. Losing weight is more of an experience. You can learn a lot about yourself and from the experience itself. It will help you discover and develop healthier ways of fitness.

Do you lose weight quicker at the start & then plateau?

The speed at which you lose weight initially varies from individual to individual. However, many people lose weight pretty quickly in the beginning.

Plateau is a point where your weight loss stops regardless of you being strict of your intake and exercise routine. Again, how easily and quickly you arrive at a plateau can vary from person to person. You can notice it happening in a handful of weeks or months. 

Why do you reach a weight loss plateau?

All of us assumed that weight loss or gain was because of the balance of our calorie intake. If we were able to burn more calories than we ate, then we could just solve this problem. We expect our weight loss journey to be in perfect progression. However, it comes with a lot more ups and downs than we think.

So, you’ve decided to stick to a diet and an exercise routine. You check up on your weight weekly. You feel happy and motivated to watch it dropping. But suddenly in a matter of months, you notice no further drops in your weight. It is frustrating and demotivating for you to realize you’ve reached a weight loss plateau. And you ask yourself, why? I was doing everything according to the guideline. Why is this happening to me?

As per research, it has been indicated that weight loss plateau can occur after 6 months of your process of weight loss. Three most important reasons for hitting a weight loss plateau are:

  • As you lose weight, you also lose muscle alongside fat. Muscle loss can be up to 25 percent. And we know that reduced muscle mass means reduced metabolism.
  • Probably your body has reached its comfort zone and its internal wisdom tells it that this is the best weight. So, your body tries to hold on to that weight.
  • With reduced weight your calorie needs may also reduce. So if you have been eating at the same rate, the minimum your body can do is to stop losing weight because of more than needed calories.

Following are the additional reasons it can be happening to you:

  1. If you’ve been keeping cheat days or eating too much to balance out your working out hours, then it can be one major reason for you to be the target of a weight loss plateau. If you’re eating outside your diet, do not expect to not gain weight.
  2. It’s not only about just eating out of proportion. Be careful of what’s going inside you because highly processed foods and sugars can make your stomach feel satisfied, however, these foods end up triggering your cravings.
  3. Another major reason for a weight loss plateau is that your body switches to survival mode if you are indulging in a low-calorie diet. This causes your metabolism to slow down. As a result, you’re eating the same amount, but your body is not burning as many calories as it did in the beginning. Furthermore, it halts your weight, or you start gaining again.
  4. Stress is also a trigger of a weight loss plateau. Cortisol, the main stress hormone, has been linked to halting a loss in your fat. If you’re dealing with stress at the moment it will make your weight loss process sluggish for sure.
  5. Your hormones can play a role in a plateau as well. Since there is a shortage of calories in your body, your brain thinks you are starving. The process of losing weight can trigger Leptin and Testosterone to fall. So, an extended duration of a fall in these hormones can cause difficulties in losing weight.
  6. Certain deficiencies and body malfunctions can be a cause too. If you cannot relate to any of these reasons, then you should get your blood tests done. A simple routine checkup doesn’t hurt. Medical conditions like chronic stress, hypothyroidism, PCOS, depression, and micronutrient deficiencies can become a hindrance in your weight loss journey.

How to break weight loss plateau?

If you think you’re the only one experiencing weight loss plateau, then you might be in for a surprise. The most thorough and dedicated person has dealt with this difficulty at some point. Here’s how to get past weight loss plateau and get your weight in motion again:

  1. Check if you have wandered off from your usual routine. A follow up on your process of exercise and diet can help you identify what is happening.
  2. Once you’ve checked off any ups and downs start to strictly track your calorie intake for a while.
  3. Slowing down of your metabolism can be prevented by spending a little extra time at the gym. Give some focus to lifting weights as lifting thrice a week assists in avoiding the plateau or breaking through it. This can be one of the most successful weight loss plateau solutions.
  4. If you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau and there seems to be no problem in your diet, then attempt to add strength training into your routine and evaluate any differences every week or two.
  5. If you’re dealing with stress, managing your cortisol levels isn’t that hard. Try to sleep on time and get the recommended hours of sleep which are 8 to 9 hours. Add meditation to your schedule and go on a walk daily for about 20 to 30 minutes. It will help feel you fresh and ease your mind as well. Sometimes these simple changes can work as weight loss plateau breaker.
  6. As we mentioned earlier, your hormones can drop during the whole weight loss process. So, to overcome that go on dieting break. It will help give your hormones the break they need. You can increase your intake a little bit and make your sleep a priority. You don’t need to freak out about this. Taking a break from your diet for 5 to 6 days is okay. Do not try to weigh yourself and put how you feel first. This will help in the normalization of your hormones and it will aid in getting your weight loss back on track when you resume dieting.

How long can a weight loss plateau last?

A weight loss plateau can last from a few days to a few months if you do not take corrective action. This varies from person to person. But it is not unusual for it to last a month or two.

Will a weight loss plateau go away on its own?

A weight loss plateau will generally not away on its own. You will have to do something out of the ordinary routine that you have been following to go past the plateau. Trick is to trick your body into a changed diet or exercise routine which will kick start your metabolism at a higher rate.

Summary

If you are freaking out about being stuck on a weight loss plateau, tell yourself it is okay. It is a common state to fall into as many hard-working and conscious people have experienced it. They have also gotten out of it! It is easy but you will need a lot of patience to jump over this obstacle. Consult a doctor or dietitian if you feel like you need the proper help to get past this.

Last but not the least, do not give up. Reward yourself for the weight you have already lost. Do not lose your motivation over this obstacle. Know that this is a part of your journey. It will help in adding to your knowledge about a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, not losing hope will help you get to know your body more. 

nv-author-image

Muhammad Usman

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.