Weight loss plateaus are boring, frustrating, and often the cause for you throwing up your hands and quitting your weight loss efforts entirely. There’s not much about weight loss that could be called fun, and weight loss plateaus are definitely in the not-fun category. If you are sitting atop a weight loss plateau feeling stuck and unmotivated, here are some practical tips for fighting your way off the plateau and getting your weight loss mojo back.
I once had a client who said she spent more time on a weight loss plateau than actually losing weight. She told me that she was so used to losing a few pounds, staying there for what seemed like forever, and then finally losing a few more that she began to believe she was never going to get to her goal weight.
With some dedicated work, she finally stopped the cycle of spending most of her time on a weight loss plateau and kicked her weight loss into high gear. And you can too.
There are lots of reasons for weight loss plateaus. Here are a few of the most common:
– You are eating more than you realize.
– You’ve reached a balance point between calories and exercise.
– Cheating is happening.
– Exercise is lacking.
– Medications you are on are affecting your weight.
– Hormonal fluctuations are making it hard for you to control snacking and cravings.
The first thing to do when faced with a weight loss plateau is to make sure you really are atop one.
Here’s what a weight loss plateau is not:
It is not a day or two of no weight loss. It’s not a period of stalled weight loss after you’ve deliberately overeaten at a holiday or eaten much more than you need due to stress in your life.
I define stalled weight loss as a true plateau if you have been at the same weight for more than 10 days. Then you need to take a look at what’s going on to figure out how to get your weight loss moving again.
Be Honest About Your Eating
By far the most common problem with stalled weight loss is simply eating too much. It’s vitally important that you are 100 percent honest with yourself when your weight loss stalls. It’s very easy to assume you are eating at a weight loss level when in fact you have bumped up your calorie consumption to the point where you are maintaining rather than losing.
For example, if eating 1,600 calories a day was causing you to lose 1/2 pound a week, eating 2,000 calories a day could lead to weight maintenance. Just a few extra pieces of cheese, a second roll, or two small handfuls of nuts equals about 400 calories.
Look At Exercise Patterns
If you really are eating the right number of calories, ask yourself if you’ve slacked off from exercising. If you have, you are not burning as many calories as before. The lack of calorie burn can cause your weight loss to slow if you do not reduce your calorie intake to balance the lack of exercise.
A solution is to resume your previous exercise routine or reduce your calorie intake.
Talk To Your Doctor About Medications You Are Taking
Some medications–such as certain antidepressants, beta blockers, and steroids–can negatively affect your weight. Call your doctor and ask if medications you are taking could be causing you to have difficulty continuing your weight loss. Ask if there are alternatives you can try.
Weight loss plateaus aren’t fun, but they are a good learning experience. During your analysis of what’s causing you to not lose weight, you can assess your eating, decide whether your exercise program is appropriate, and get advice from your doctor. The only thing you shouldn’t do is give up.