Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? 5 Steps to Busting Though It!
Today, we’re going to talk about what happens when you hit a weight loss plateau and how to overcome it!
It happens to the best of us.
We’re eating healthy, working out and losing weight. We’re motivated by the weight loss, so it’s easy to stay on track.
Then, the scale stops dropping.
You hit a plateau.
It seems like no matter what you do, your weight won’t budge…
This is not an indicator that you should give up. It’s a sign that your body is resetting itself and learning how to balance your new weight with your metabolism.
Research shows that your weight loss is likely to stall around 6 months (1). That plateau can last for weeks or even months.
As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down. How’s that for unfair?
That doesn’t mean that you automatically need to reduce your caloric intake, however. Your body adapts in interesting ways, and it might take a little experimentation to figure out exactly what it needs as it changes.
We also have a short video on the weight loss plateaus on our Youtube Channel, The Health Nerd, that you might find helpful!
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5 Steps to Busting Through a Weight Loss Plateau
1. Do something different.
This seems obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how often people try to do the same thing repeatedly and wish they would see different results.
If you feel like you’re doing all the right things when it comes to diet and exercise, it can be frustrating when you stop seeing the results that you were seeing before.
Many people just intensify the things they are already doing in order to try to get the scale to move.
If you’re already restricting calories, you become even more restrictive. If you’re already exercising, you try to do the same exercises, only harder and longer.
Sometimes, your body needs a change. If you’ve been doing the same workout for two months, your muscles might be adapting to it.
Simply changing the intensity or the time frame might not be enough to shake things up. You may need to completely change the type of exercise that you’re doing.
While intense training or long cardio sessions can burn calories, they can also be stressful on the body. They can add inflammation and increase stress hormones, both of which can make it difficult to shed pounds.
Taking a break to do more gentle exercise for a week or two can reset your body and reduce stress hormones, allowing the weight to drop.
This is just one of the many reasons that we advocate a regular yoga routine so heavily here.
The same goes for your eating habits.
If you achieved a dramatic initial weight loss by restricting calories, you may need to begin eating more at some point so that your body doesn’t go into starvation mode.
We’ll talk about how to make those changes in step 2.
Regardless of what kind of diet or weight loss plan you are on, if you plateau, you may need to try something else for a little while to kick things back into gear.
This is why we advocate having a cheat meal at the end of our fast weight loss program, the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge.
The cheat meal not only motivates you with a reward to look forward to at the end of your challenge and a mental reprieve from dieting, but it also helps give your body that reset that it needs to keep the weight loss going.
You can read more about our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge at the end of this article.
2. Make small changes.
Changing things up doesn’t mean reversing all of your progress. Too much change at once can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to keep up an entirely new routine.
If you think it’s time to change your workout, don’t go from running 7 miles 5 days a week to doing nothing.
Try swapping out two workouts for something completely different. Walk for an hour instead of going for a long run, or dance once a week instead of doing burpees.
If you want to try increasing your calories, don’t start eating a pint of ice cream after dinner every night.
Try eating one more 150-calorie snack each day, or eat breakfast instead of fasting from dinner to lunch.
You may also want to make small changes to your protein, fat and carbohydrate ratios. Every individual is different, and some bodies need less protein or more fat.
If you eat animal protein with every meal, try swapping it out for some high quality greek yogurt or eating only veggies and healthy fats for dinner every other day.
If you usually eat a low-fat diet, try adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee and see what happens.
Small changes are easier to reverse if you notice that they’re not actually helping you break through the plateau.
Also make sure that you don’t make too many small changes at once, because you won’t be able to tell what is helping and what is hurting.
3. Try detoxing.
Perhaps you lost the first 10 pounds by eating frequent, small meals and cutting your total daily calories. However, if you’re still grabbing a frozen dinner or energy bar every day, you could be taking in chemicals that are causing inflammation and preventing you from losing weight.
There is no conclusive evidence that detoxing your body can help you shed weight, so we’re not telling you to do some magical program to lose two dress sizes in two days (2).
However, eating cleaner can help you remove extra triggers from your diet that cause cravings and inflammation and get in the way of weight loss.
Our fast fat loss program starts out with a week long detox! You can read more about it at the end of this article if you’re interested.
4. Get enough sleep.
Your weight loss plateau may be caused by what you’re doing while you’re sleeping, not what you’re doing while your awake.
When we’re trying to be healthier and more productive, we can forget how important it is to get enough sleep. Research shows that disordered sleep can mess up your entire metabolism (3).
Sleep deprivation can make you hungrier, and it can cause more cravings. It also causes hormonal imbalances that can be contributing to your plateau.
More than 24 studies show a link between people who sleep longer and lower BMI (4). The magic sleep number is different for everyone, but striving for at least 7 hours seems to be healthiest for adults.
5. Be more mindful.
Mindfulness can mean different things, but no matter how you look at it, it’s important.
You can’t change anything without becoming aware of the problem.
When we go through life, we often start to move on autopilot without a sense of what’s really going on. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you’re sticking to your diet.
You ignore the three giant bites of macaroni and cheese that you stuff into your mouth from the wooden spoon every time you make it for the kids.
Your workout is so routine that you don’t realize that you’re not really putting any effort into it.
You work through each day without noticing the chronic stress that rules your life.
Instead of planning your next move to break your weight loss plateau, how about just looking deeper to figure out what’s really going on?
If you focus on awareness, you can’t fail. Plus, you’ll become more mindful of what you’re actually doing so that you can make real changes.
If you are looking for a structured plan to help break through your weight loss plateau, our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge is designed to be just that.
It starts off with a week-long detox, and it will help you reintroduce certain foods throughout the 21 days and learn how your body responds to certain foods.
As I explained earlier, it’s designed with a cheat meal in mind, so that you can detox again and repeat the Challenge for as many rounds as it takes to lose all of the weight and not get stuck with any plateaus along the way.
Our clients lose an average of 10-21 pounds in 21 days and absolutely love it! But even better than the weight loss is the feedback we get from people about how the program has taught them how to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.
We have over 1,000 people in our private support group going through the Challenge together, and every day they are sharing experiences, results, motivation, and lots of recipes!
If you are ready to make a change in your life and bust through that plateau FOR GOOD, this is the ONLY place you should start.
The concepts that we teach will help you make the necessary changes in your diet and your lifestyle and how to keep them “beyond the diet.”
Watch the free video presentation to see how real people are getting real results in just 3 short weeks!
Please leave me a comment below if you enjoyed this article on weight loss plateaus or have any questions!
P.S. Make sure to check out our FREE Fat Loss Training Guide below…