You’ve managed your food intake, had your fair share of sweat sessions, and you’re on a roll with weight-loss. Congrats! Confidence and determination have propelled you to success.
But all of a sudden, the scale stops moving and will no long budge. You haven’t slacked off, so what’s the deal? You might have found yourself in a frustrating weight plateau.
What’s a Weight Plateau?
Plateaus happen when you stop losing weight, even if you’re doing everything “right” — cutting back on portion sizes, eating healthy foods and working out like your life depends on it.
The sudden halt in progress might seem surprising if your initial weight-loss was fast and relatively simple. However, plateaus are common and sometimes inevitable if your metabolism has declined — usually from muscle-loss and significant changes to your body weight. This means you’re burning less calories than before, even if you’re doing the same thing.
Tips to Fight back
Weight plateaus can be trying, especially if your motivation was fed by seeing progress on the scale. Still, you haven’t done anything wrong. You just need a new game plan!
Are You Building Muscle?
Strength training builds muscle which boosts your metabolism and burns far more calories over time than cardio. Try the “progressive overload” approach of gradually increasing stressed placed on the body during weight training. This includes slowly adding weight and reps.
Adjust Your Calorie Intake
After weight-loss, you may be burning less calories if your metabolism has decreased. So, you might also need to consume less calories. Re-examine and adjust your food behavior.
Embrace Change in Your Routine
Try a new workout in a new location, preferably something invigorating that you’ve never done before. Also consider some new recipes to prevent meals from getting boring. Changes to your normal routine are fresh, exciting and usually very motivating.
Stress can often put the brakes on weight-loss by triggering food cravings and releasing the hormone cortisol. Identify healthy and sustainable stress management techniques to remain relaxed, focused and balanced in all aspects and areas of your body.
Eat More Protein
Protein burns more calories during digestion than other nutrients, and some studies show it to have fat-burning catalysts. It also keeps you full and aids in building lean muscle mass.
Ensure You’re Properly Hydrated
Even when you’re mildly dehydrated, your body can crave food despite a true lack in hunger. You should strive for at least 80-100 fluid ounces of water each day (even more when you exercise) and replace coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages with water when you can.
Plateaus Can be Conquered
If you’ve still got weight to lose that will benefit your health, don’t feel discouraged in the midst of a plateau. It happens, and it’s a sign that you’ve already made great progress!
Instead, try thinking of the plateau as your next great challenge. When you re-work your mindset and get outside your comfort zone, you’ll continue to surprise yourself.