Weight Loss Plateau: 10 Ways Break To Through It & Win!

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You’ve stopped eating your favorite bakery out of house and swapped out your soda can for a water bottle.

You’ve spent grueling hours mastering your squats and torturous mornings crawling up your stairs, with hopes you’ll get the feeling in your quads back soon.

This newfound confidence in yourself even dared you to slide on your favorite pair of shorts that haven’t seen the light of day in three summers.

You have another awesome, sweat-filled week and eagerly jump on the scale only to find that your weight hasn’t changed at all.

Thinking it was just a fluke, you try again a few days later – no change.

Despite the progress you’ve made, it seems that no matter what you do you just can’t keep the improvement going.

This is something that experts refer to as the “weight loss plateau.”

This phenomenon happens because our bodies are so adaptable to external stimuli. Each time you workout, your body becomes stronger and more efficient in burning calories.

Once you start losing weight, your body adjusts so that it requires fewer calories to function properly.

It’s a delicate game, one wrong step and you could send your weight loss to a screeching halt.

Luckily, there are ways around this.

Take a look at our top 10 hacks to breaking through a weight loss plateau.

1. Catch All Your Zzzz’s

Sleep is a vital piece of a sound mental, emotional and physical health regimen.

Not getting enough sleep per night can lower your metabolic rate and alter appetite stimulating hormones.

This drives the feeling of hunger and promotes fat storage. [1] [2]

Even mild sleep deprivation can cause increased levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”

2. Shake Up Your Routine

Repitition is not going to help you out here.

By performing the same routine over and over again, your body is simply adjusting to the movements and not reaping any benefits.

Weight Loss Plateau

Muscle memory causes routines to be less effective.

Working your muscles in new ways helps increase lean muscle development as well as strengthening bone tissue which will ultimately cause metabolic rates to increase.

Always keep your body and muscles guessing and step outside of your training comfort zone.

“One of the first [physical] adaptations to strength training is the increase of mitochondria in your muscle cells,” says Kelvin Gary (Fitness Coach).

“This increases your body’s capacity to burn fat.”

3. Increase Your Fiber Intake

By adding more fiber to your diet, you can efficiently fight fat and hunger.

Since this nutrient takes so long to break down in our system, it keeps you full while also aiding in the digestion process.

It’s also shown that fiber increases our insulin sensitivity [3] which helps prevent the body from storing sugars as fat.

4. Chug, Chug, Chug!

Water, start chugging it. 🙂

I’m not trying to bring you back to your keg-stand days.

By drinking adequate water throughout the day, you are supporting your body in the detoxification of your cells as well as keeping your hydration in check.

Even mild dehydration can cause cravings and often the symptoms of dehydration and hunger can be misconstrued.

In fact, studies have shown that drinking water can boost metabolism between 24 – 34% for almost two hours after drinking. [4]

Aim for one gallon of water per day.

5. Leverage Your Cheat Meal

Those who leverage one deviation off of their meal planning per week have shown to display better weight loss results than those who do not.

pizza for healthy cheat meals

The trick is to understand the “science” behind cheat meals.

By helping you keep focus, regulating your hormones and boosting metabolism, letting yourself splurge from time to time can help you break through your lull.

6. Eat Throughout the Day

When it comes to nutrients, especially protein, it’s crucial that you are consuming it throughout the day in order to boost your metabolism through the thermic effect of food (TEF).

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, TEF can be defined as the increase in metabolic rate after ingestion of a meal.

Protein also stimulates the production of certain hormones that help raise levels of satisfaction and reduce appetite. [5]

Simply put, eating throughout the day supports the rise of energy expenditure which causes your metabolism to stay revving around the clock.

“Skipping meals slows your metabolism and also causes blood sugar levels to plummet,” says registered dietitian and personal trainer Jim White.

“This will leave you feeling hungry, increasing the odds you’ll overeat and stall the weight loss progress.”

7. Write it Down

It may be an extra step, but it will pay off in the long run.

By keeping track of what you’re always putting into your body, it helps keep you accountable and aware of what may be causing your progress to stall.

It’s easy to underestimate how much you’re truly consuming!

Recording all your meals and beverages can give you a detailed log of what your caloric intake looks like.

  • Track time of meal + what you are eating
  • Note how you were feeling before you ate (emotional eating is real, folks!)
  • Record new behaviors and try and identify eating triggers
  • Monitor progress, nutritionally and physical progress at the gym
8. Lift More WeightS

If your weight loss is at a standstill, it may be a sign that you are no longer challenging yourself.

By stepping up your strength training, you can be assured that the growth of lean muscle continues and you are pushing yourself to increase performance.

The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.

“The more calories you burn, the more fat you shed.”

It’s a win-win.

9. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the biggest enemies of health.

As mentioned earlier, cortisol is known as the “stress hormone.”

Though it helps the body react and manage stress stimuli, it also causes fat accumulation, particularly around the abdomen and hip area.

Too much cortisol can result in a very difficult time in losing weight, especially around the belly area.

One study followed 34 women and found that those who took part in a stress-management program lost an average of 9.7 pounds. [6]

10. Put Down the Alcohol

Alcohol is literally empty calories.

You may sit down and have one beer during your favorite television show or go join some coworkers at the bar with the mind set of “one beer is only 150 calories, that’s not TOO bad.”

Before you know it, you’re sipping on your 4th can and just tacked an extra 600 calories onto your day.

What’s more is that once the buzz starts to set in, the chances of you throwing your diet out the window and reaching for a bag of Cheetos increases.

As frustrating as it can be, don’t let it discourage you!

Plateaus are (unfortunately) a normal part of the fitness process.  Remember what your vision is and why you started your fitness journey!

Assess your choices, make adjustments and keep reaching for your goals.

If your efforts to move past this barrier are not working, try talking with a doctor or registered dietician about alternative ways to overcome your plateau.

If you can’t decrease calorie intake further or spend more time working out, maybe you should revisit your fitness goals to ensure they are both obtainable and healthy for your personal lifestyle and body type.

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Elyssa Duncan

Elyssa Duncan

Hi there, I’m Elyssa. Lover of healthy living, laughter and all things adventurous.
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