When you’re making progress in your weight loss journey, it can be incredibly frustrating to experience a weight loss stall. This is called a weight loss plateau.
Luckily, we’ve put together a guide on weight loss plateaus and what you can do to ensure you get back on track with your weight loss journey.
What is a Weight Loss Plateau?
A weight loss plateau is a temporary stall in your progress. If you reach a weight loss plateau, you may struggle to lose any weight, despite following a diet and workout regime. Even the most well-planned weight loss efforts can stall from time to time. Thankfully there are some things you can do to get back on track.
What Causes a Weight Loss Plateau?
When you’re in the first few weeks of losing weight, experiencing a plateau is normal. This may be because when you cut calories, the body gets its energy by releasing its store of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. As glycogen is partly made up of water, it results in a loss of water weight when it’s burned. However, this effect is usually temporary.
If you’re a little further into your weight management journey but are experiencing a plateau, it could be due to other factors, such as a slowed down metabolism.
As you lose weight, you may lose some muscle along with it. Muscles help to keep up the rate at which you burn calories, so when you lose weight your metabolism can decline, causing you to burn fewer calories than you did at a heavier weight – even if you’re maintaining a strict weight loss diet.
How Long Do Weight Loss Plateaus Last?
Weight loss plateaus can last for varying amounts of time depending on the individual. Some may plateau only for a few weeks, while others can experience a plateau for months without any significant change in weight, which can be incredibly frustrating.
Can You Maintain Long Term Weight Loss?
As frustrating as a weight loss plateau is, there are steps you can take to continue to maintain your weight loss progress. A weight loss plateau doesn’t mean your healthy lifestyles changes aren’t working. Remember how far you’ve come and remind yourself that it’s natural to experience a plateau when losing a significant amount of weight.
Discover more on how to maintain weight loss in the long term in this article:
How Do I Maintain My Weight Loss Progress?
If you’re experiencing a setback in your weight loss journey, there are a couple of things you can put into practice to maintain your weight loss progress.
1) Reassess Your Habits
Take a look at your eating and workout regime. Make sure you haven’t fallen back into old habits, like making larger portions or exercising less. Not sticking to your diet or workout plan, or frequently loosening the rules, can contribute to plateaus.
To help you stay on track, why not consider following an OPTIFAST diet plan? You’ll find plenty of structured and decision-free meal replacement programmes to help you stay on track with your weight loss plan. Determine which plan is right for you in this article:
2) Eat More Fibre
Including more fibre-rich foods in your diet may help you break through your weight loss plateau. This is especially true for soluble fibre, the type that dissolves in liquid. Although all types of fibre have their benefits, soluble fibre has been found to be the most beneficial when it comes to weight loss.
3) Don’t Rely on The Scales
Your weight will fluctuate from day-to-day so make sure you’re not constantly checking the scales. While weekly weigh-ins make sense, daily scale checking might not accurately reflect your progress.
If you’re exercising regularly but not seeing results, it could be because you’re gaining muscle which is denser than fat and takes up less room. Another reason you may not see progress is because you’re actually retaining water weight rather than fat.
4) Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has become very popular – and for good reason. It’s a flexible way to lose weight, alternating between periods of fasting and eating. Some research has suggested that intermittent fasting may help to protect against muscle mass loss, a key contributor to weight loss plateaus.
5) Step Up Your Workouts
As weight declines, the reduction in metabolic rate can make continued weight loss more difficult. Increasing the frequency or intensity of your exercise routine may help to reverse a weight loss plateau.
Some fitness activities play a beneficial role when trying to counteract metabolic slowdown, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance training. The latter especially promotes the retention of muscle mass, a major factor when it comes to burning calories. It is recommended that you speak with your GP before attempting a HIIT workout if you have a medical condition.
Read more tips and advice on how you can get back on track with your weight loss plan here:
Fallen off track with your weight loss plan? You need to read this blog.