You’ve worked hard to manage your weight, and you’ve enjoyed seeing the number on the scale go down. But now, nothing’s happening… and you can’t help but wonder, “What am I doing wrong?”
This is a scenario that most people commonly encounter on their weight management journey, so you’re not alone. It’s called a weight-loss plateau, and it’s characterized by a period of time where no changes on the scale are noted. Try as you may, you might feel “stuck” in a rut without any idea how to break through and move forward.
The Science behind the Weight Plateau
So why does this frustrating experience happen? It’s because your body is smart and extremely adaptable. During the first few weeks of losing weight, you’ll often notice a rapid drop. This is because you’re cutting calories and releasing carbohydrates for needed energy.
As you lose weight over time, you lose a little bit of muscle as well as fat. Because muscle generally helps keep the rate at which you burn calories (metabolism) up, your metabolism slightly declines. Now, you burn less calories than you did when you were heavier.
This is the part that get’s particularly irritating. Even if you’re doing everything the same – exercising regularly and controlling what you eat – you may face a sudden stop in weight-loss because you’re burning calories at a slower rate. Quite inconveniently, this is also a period of time in which many people simply “give up” with weight management.
Tips for Breaking through the Weight Plateau
Just because you’ve reached a natural phenomenon that slows your weight-loss progress down, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. The key is to continue burning more calories than you consume, which may have worked with your usual routine at an earlier point in time. But now, it’s time to switch things up a bit. Here are a few pointers for doing so:
- Reassess Your Caloric Needs – How many calories does your “new” body need to function healthily?
- Consume Plenty of Water – Water helps you manage your weight by boosting your metabolism.
- Switch-up Your Exercise Routine – Learn a new skill or pick up a new, fun activity!
- Work out with a Friend – Renew your motivation by finding a fitness buddy to keep you accountable.
- Incorporate Different Types of Exercise – Including cardiovascular, resistance, etc.
- Develop New Goals – You’ve made great progress, but it’s time to take your goals to the next level.
Remember – when you’ve reached a weight plateau, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. This is simply a natural occurrence that happens to almost everybody trying to manage their weight and health. Hold your head up high, switch things up and stay motivated! In the end, you’ll be glad you didn’t stop.