Losing weight isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of self-discipline, education, and commitment. Just about anyone on the planet who has ever dieted or followed a weight loss plan knows that even when you don’t cheat, there may come a time when you step on the scale and it refuses to move, sometimes for days. If this happens to you, don’t get frustrated, let us help you break through.
What is a Weight Loss Plateau?
People often experience a large weight loss in the beginning weeks or even months of a new weight loss plan, which is followed by slower and more steady weight loss. While many of us are impatient, slow weight loss is the safest way to do it, and it is more likely to help a person change their eating and exercise habits for the better in the long run. However, there are times during a weight loss journey that a person may stall and maintain the same weight for days or a week, or even longer. This is what is referred to as a weight loss plateau, and regardless of the plan that is followed most people will experience it at some point.
Are Weight Loss Plateaus a Myth?
There are definitely some people who believe weight loss plateaus to be a myth. The truth is, while not everyone who participates in a weight loss plan will experience this, it is still completely normal and natural for you to plateau during your weight loss journey.
Why Do Weight Loss Plateaus Occur?
A weight loss plateau occurs when your body weight decreases. As your body weight decreases, your metabolism slows down (think about it, your body needs fewer calories than when you weighed more). When your metabolism slows down, the same number of calories that previously resulted in a weight loss for you, only help you maintain your weight (i.e. a plateau). In addition, a number of other reasons can contribute to a weight loss plateau:
- Beginning a new workout regimen
- Fluctuations in weight due to water retention
- Incorrect guesswork on caloric intake (or not being as strict as when you began)
- Not getting proper rest at night
How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau
If you find yourself in a weight loss plateau, there are several things that can be done to get back on track and start losing again. One expert suggests keeping accurate daily records of intake as well as the number of calories burned. Keeping the books has been proven to keep people on track and avoid slip-ups which can contribute to causing plateaus. Other ways to break through a plateau include:
- Reevaluate what you are eating – have you loosened the rules too much?
- Increase and decrease your caloric intake for 3 days – up to 2400 but never go below 1200 calories for a female, 1500 for a male.
- Increase your physical activity
- Change your workout up – your body can get used to the same workout every day
Trying one or two of these methods to break a plateau should work for most cases. There are a few medical conditions which can cause weight gain or plateaus, so if truly nothing is working to break the plateau despite your best efforts, it may be time to ask the doctor about it.