It happens to nearly everyone at some point during their weight loss journey: You hit the infamous and widely-feared “weight loss plateau”. No matter what you do, it seems your weight loss has stalled out. You’re exercising, you’re eating the right foods, you’re avoiding the wrong foods… and nothing happens when you step on the scale.
First of all, remember that the definition of “plateau” is a high, flat place. In other words, you have climbed to some level of success, and you should give yourself a pat on the back for that. Next, take these steps to address your plateau situation, and soon the needle on the scale should begin moving again.
Don’t cut calories even farther. If what you are doing has been working so far, there is no need to cut calories even more. In fact, that could work against you, by triggering your body’s “starvation response” to conserve fat stores. Stay on the diet you have been using (unless, of course, you have been cheating, in which case you should stop doing that).
Double check your fiber intake. With all of this focus on calories and exercise, have you neglected to calculate your fiber intake? Fiber can promote weight loss, so track your intake for a week or two and make the necessary adjustments to your diet.
Keep drinking water. Many people assume they are carrying extra “water weight”, and in a desperate attempt to get the scale moving again, they cut back on water. This is not a good idea! Your body needs water to function optimally, including metabolizing food and burning fat stores for energy, so keep drinking those eight glasses of water each day.
Stop weighing yourself each day. It’s normal for weight to fluctuate by a pound or two from one day to the next. Weighing yourself every day can actually impair your weight loss efforts by discouraging you. Opt for weekly weigh-ins instead. That way you can chart real progress.
Use another method to evaluate your progress. A pound of fat takes up more room than a pound of muscle. As you lose weight and tone up, your exercise program is teaching your body to build new muscle tissue. A weight loss plateau often means that your body has replaced fat with muscle, which weighs the same but is much healthier and more attractive! Use a tape measure to assess your progress, or even just a pair of jeans that you’d like to fit into better.
Get out of your exercise rut. Your body burns more calories when performing unfamiliar activities, so change up your exercise routine. Try a new class or add a few hills to your run. Give your body a small new challenge, and you should soon see results on the scale.
Focus on other numbers. Your weight loss journey isn’t all about the number on the scale; it’s about health and fitness. Focus on the fact that you can now lift more weight or jog a greater distance. Those are accomplishments that should be celebrated!