Weight Loss Plateau & How to Get Out of It

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Weight Loss Plateau & How to Get Out of It

Man running up in hills

Has your weight loss stalled?

Try not to get discouraged – and definitely don’t revert back to old habits.

Here’s some advice to help you kick things off again.

What is weight loss plateau?

First things first – this is nothing unusual. It’s a roadblock that many dieters encounter, particularly if they’ve been dieting for a while.

Weight loss plateau is where the number of the scale simply won’t budge,1 despite the fact that people are following a healthy eating plan and exercising to lose weight.

In short: it’s a temporary break in weight loss.

Why does it happen?

There are a number of different reasons why you might find yourself in a plateau.

  1. Your body will be burning less calories than it did when you were bigger, as you’ll have lost fat and some muscle,2 meaning your metabolism is slower
  2. If you didn’t take up strength training while you were losing weight, you may have lost more muscle than expected
  3. You’ll need less calories or more activity (or both) to maintain your lower weight
  4. Your body has already released its glycogen stores,3 which require water, resulting in rapid weight loss at the start that can’t be sustained
  5. The body defends itself against weight loss and aims to maintain a lower weight4
  6. If you’ve been crash dieting or losing weight too quickly, your metabolism might be significantly slower

What’s the problem?

A halt in weight loss is frustrating for many dieters, especially when they’re still following their plans.

Sometimes, putting in the effort and not seeing the results can lead people to get disheartened. Unfortunately, some then revert back to bad habits.

In extreme cases, many undo all the work they’ve done and end up putting weight back on.

Healthy meal

How long does a weight loss plateau last?

This is different for every person, but they’re usually temporary. They tend to occur a few months into a diet.

How can you break the diet plateau?

Let’s take a look at the best way to get out of a weight loss plateau. The good news is, there are many different options.

1.Build muscle

Exercise and strength training is proven to boost metabolic rate,5 which is key for weight loss. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so aim to do muscle-strengthening exercises regularly, targeting multiple areas of your body.

2. Work out more frequently

Supercharging your exercise regime and increasing the number of workouts you do can help you kick start your weight loss again.

If not more often, you could increase the intensity. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been proven to help people burn a lot of calories in a short period of time.6

3. Eat more protein

Protein boosts metabolic rate better than carbs, or even fat.7 Protein has a higher thermic effect (20-30%) than any other food,8 meaning it takes more calories to digest and metabolise it.

So, increase the amount in your diet, aiming for around half your plate to be protein.

It will also help leave you feeling fuller for longer, meaning you’re less likely to snack or overeat later.

4. Eat less carbs

Completely cutting out entire food groups is never a good idea when it comes to long-term, sustainable weight loss.9 However, eating fewer carbs can be effective.

Your body needs carbohydrates for energy, so the less you eat, the more fat your body will burn.

5. Get more sleep

Stress or lack of sleep will go against you in your mission to lose weight. You’ll have less energy, leading you to look for it in the form of sugary snacks.

The stress hormone, cortisol, will also trigger food cravings, which is why stress is proven to cause people to overeat.10

6. Reduce portions

Some dieters are overeating without realising. Checking, and reducing, your portions could help you restart your weight loss.

7.Track your calories

Similar to above, you might be eating more than you think. Calorie counting can give you more control and help prevent this.

Standing on scales

8. Don’t weigh yourself every day

Your weight will fluctuate overnight, based on a variety of reasons:

  1. You drank more water yesterday
  2. You ate later than usual
  3. You ate more carbs
  4. You ate more sodium
  5. You did an intense strength-training workout11

9. Drink less alcohol

Alcohol could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

It does this by:

  • Containing hidden calories (more than you may think)
  • Increasing appetite
  • Increasing impulsivity12

10. Eat more soluble fibre

Soluble fibre is one of the best foods to eat for weight loss, and also boasts a number of health benefits.13

11. Fill up on water

Cut back on sugary drinks, instead filling up on water. This will help curb your appetite.

12. Drink coffee

Black coffee and other caffeinated drinks, such as green tea, have been shown to boost metabolic rate and aid in fat burning.14 These effects are temporary, however.

13. Increase NEAT

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.15 It allows you to burn more calories and fat without increasing your time in the gym.

Boost your metabolism throughout the day through:

  • Increasing your step count
  • Standing up more
  • Taking the stairs not the lift
  • Cleaning

The weight plateau is not forever

Hopefully this advice has shown this blockage is temporary, and you can get out of it. Don’t let it derail your ambitions to lose weight and live a healthy life.

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