It’s frustrating to hit a weight loss plateau, especially when you are doing all the right things. In this post, I share the best way to navigate through a plateau.
Fixing a Weight Loss Plateau – Summary
- Weight loss is rarely consistent from one week to the next. A short plateau does not necessarily indicate a problem.
- Mindset matters. It is ok to feel bummed that your weight loss has stalled but try not to get discouraged. Consistent effort will get you to your goal.
- Carb creep. Make sure that you are not loosening the rules on your low carb diet by allowing your daily carb intake to creep up.
- Weight loss accelerators. You can benefit from added exercise or intermittent fasting, but know your limit to avoid self-sabotage.
How to Handle a Weight Loss Plateau [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Things to keep in mind when it looks like you’re not consistently losing weight.
- A warning against overreacting to not losing weight in the way you expect.
- Three ways to tighten up your current plan and recommit to your goal!
The Reality of Weight Loss
It would be great if the scale moved in a straight line downward every week that you diet. Unfortunately, that is a rare occurrence.
More often than not, you’ll have a week or two in which your body just does not seem to want to give up the extra pounds. Here are some things to consider.
Weight Loss Plateau vs. Maintaining Balance
If your weight is plateaued for a week or even a couple of weeks, it doesn’t automatically indicate that something is wrong with your plan or your body.
Your body is an intelligent machine. It is always working to maintain homeostasis, which is that balance or stability that it needs to keep you going.
In my experience, if you’ve been losing weight steadily for a few weeks, it is not unusual for the weight loss to go through a slower period or even stop for a short time. This may very well be an adjustment phase where your body is simply getting used to the new lower level.
Warning: The Reflex Reaction
Accepting the fact that a plateau may be healthy is easier said than done. The tendency is to react to the scale when it is not moving. This can be a dangerous thing because that reaction can cause you to take extreme actions that backfire.
For instance, you step on the scale after a week of dieting, and the number is the same if not a bit higher than last week. Upon seeing this result, you decide that you are hitting the gym every day for extra-long workouts. At the same time, you are going to drop your food intake to force your body to change.
The problem is that the increase in exercise and the reduction in calories cause cravings that are very tough to withstand and increase your risk of returning to your old habits.
Steady and Consistent Effort: Boring but Effective
While it is certainly the boring choice, I have found that when it comes to reaching your ideal weight, consistent effort wins the race.
This is the old tortoise and hare scenario. Steady and consistent effort may be a boring way to lose weight, but it is often the strategy that wins out in the long run.
If your plan has been working, chances are that it will continue to work if you consistently stick with it.
Action Steps to Break a Weight Loss Plateau
Taking the slow and steady approach does not mean that you should take no action at all to get off of a plateau? Allow the plateau to act as a motivation to tighten up your current plan and recommit to your goal. You can do this in three ways.
Step #1: Mindset Matters
First, remember that mindset matters. It is perfectly fine to be bummed that you hit a plateau. However, you’ll be happiest with your overall results if you accept the fact that weight loss is not a linear process. There will be fast and slow weeks as your body adapts to your new lifestyle and finds its balance.
Step #2: Be Aware of Carb Creep
Second, watch out for Carb Creep. If you’ve been on a low-carb diet for a while, it’s easy to start loosening the rules and mindlessly pop a few “healthy” low-carb treats in your mouth that you wouldn’t have done at the start of your diet.
Those little treats can add up without you being consciously aware. Before you know it, your total carb intake for the day has creeped up to a point where it is interfering with fat burning.
Step #3: Add a Weight Loss Accelerator (The Right Way)
Lastly, feel free to boost exercise or add a couple of hours to your intermittent fasting routine but know your limit.
Intense or lengthy exercise sessions, as well as extended fasts, will increase your hunger, so be aware of your personal line that divides benefit and self-sabotage.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.