Suppose you’re doing everything right and still losing weight, congratulations! But if you’ve been diligently following your diet and exercise program for weeks or months and have seemingly hit a wall, you are not alone. This is called a weight loss plateau. It can be discouraging to those who are already struggling with their health and fitness goals. In this article, we will discuss what causes it, how to overcome weight loss plateau, and strategies to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
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What is a Weight Loss Plateau?
Have you ever been working out hard and feeling great, only to hit a plateau with no idea what’s going on? You don’t even know what it is, let alone how to overcome weight loss plateau. A weight-loss plateau is when your body stops responding as well as it did previously. It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Even though you’re eating right and exercising, you’re still losing weight at a much slower rate than before. It can be super frustrating, especially if you think everything’s going well and then suddenly start seeing no progress at all.
Why Does it Happen?
There are lots of reasons why you may hit a weight loss plateau. Here are a few things that can cause them (and how to get over them). The most common reasons are stress, bad eating habits, a lack of sleep, and too much exercise. One or all of these things can cause your metabolism to slow down or even stop. When that happens, your body isn’t burning as many calories as it should be, and you aren’t losing weight as quickly as you had hoped.
If you are eating too much protein when dieting down. Many people make one common mistake – they significantly increase their protein intake. And while protein is vital for muscle growth and recovery from workouts, too much will slow down your weight loss in two significant ways.
First – since protein fills you up more quickly than other foods (by making blood sugar levels spike higher), it can lead to overeating elsewhere in your diet because you don’t feel satisfied by just protein.
Second – excess protein gets converted into carbohydrates via a process called gluconeogenesis. That means that when your body breaks down all that extra protein you’re eating. Instead of using those amino acids for fuel (via ketosis), they become carbs. Those get stored as fat if they aren’t used immediately by exercise or daily activities like walking around and doing the usual stuff.
To overcome weight loss plateau, start by figuring out what is causing it to make adjustments accordingly. Here are some ways to help break through plateaus.
According to Karen Ansel, R.D., co-author of The Perfect Formula Diet, there are different scenarios when it comes to hitting a weight loss plateau:
- You’re still losing, but not enough to continue feeling encouraged.
- You’re no longer losing.
- You’re actually gaining back lost pounds.
It’s also important not to fixate on numbers—your scale or measuring tape—because those don’t always tell you whether or not your diet is working for you.
When Does it Happen?
Everyone’s body has a different way of losing weight, but many experts agree that once you lose about one-third of your starting weight, you hit a plateau. That happens when your body becomes more efficient at losing weight and burning calories.
At first, your scale might not change much, or it might go up as you start exercising more. You also might see changes in your clothes—they may get looser—but what is really happening is that water and lean muscle mass are being replaced with fat. After a while, dieting won’t lead to additional weight loss; instead, your diet will become less effective over time.
That doesn’t mean you should give up. Cutting back on sugar and processed foods and eating plenty of whole grains can help overcome weight loss plateau. If you don’t want to increase exercise, add more movement into your day by parking farther away from work and taking frequent walks during breaks.
Another option is to swap high-intensity workouts like spinning for long, easy jogs outside. Overcoming a plateau takes perseverance and dedication; keep pushing forward!
Ways to Overcome Weight Loss Plateau
Perhaps you’ve reached a weight loss plateau, and you’re not sure how to get through it. How do you keep going? It can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what exactly is causing your progress to slow down. Here are some ways people have found to overcome weight loss plateau:
Make some changes – Are you following a specific diet? If so, it might be time for a change. Other factors could also be contributing, including stress, lack of sleep, or overtraining (more on these below). Try to pinpoint where things went awry and then make changes so that they work for your schedule instead of against it.
Add more variety – Do your workouts all revolve around running or cycling? Maybe it’s time to shake things up with some new cardio activity. Are you eating chicken breast every day? Maybe try grilled fish or lean beef with veggies. These small shifts will help ensure your body doesn’t get bored and kick into maintenance mode, making losing weight much harder.
Lift heavier weights – Many people focus too much on repetitions rather than intensity when beginning an exercise program. As we explained above, focusing on high-intensity interval training has been shown to increase the metabolic rate. Even during rest periods between exercises – meaning you burn calories long after your workout ends!
Having a weight loss plateau is a natural part of dieting and exercising. And sometimes, it’s even good news; after all, research shows that consistent weight loss plateaus are associated with greater long-term success.
But if you’ve hit a wall, try some of these methods for getting back on track: pick up your activity level, try out some new eating strategies or be patient as your body adjusts to your new routine. Plateaus aren’t something to worry about for most people—especially those on a healthy eating plan and regular exercise. Don’t forget about them, but don’t let them bother you. After all, they’re not permanent!