How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau
Scale Not Budging? Here Are 10 Foolproof Ways on How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau
What you can do to break through a plateau when your weight loss stalls.
Is there anything more frustrating than getting stuck in a weight loss plateau?
The weight’s falling right off for you at first. You feel good about yourself and you’re happy with your progress.
How to break through a weight loss plateau is probably the furthest thing from your mind in the beginning.
But then you hit a wall…
And all of a sudden, it’s like you can’t lose weight no matter what you do...Or how hard you try.
Here’s the honest truth:
Weight loss plateaus suck…They’re frustrating, they drain your confidence, and you can start feeling really down on yourself when you get stuck in one.
It can go on for weeks, months, or even longer…You might even start to feel like you’ll never lose weight again.
Good news is:
You can break through a weight loss plateau and start losing weight again like you were before. And in this post, I’ll show you 10 ways how.
But before we jump into that, I want to go over just one thing that will really help you on your weight loss journey.
You are GUARANTEED to lose weight if you follow this one simple rule.
Here it is, and repeat after me:
If I want to lose weight, then I must be in a calorie deficit.
Easy enough to remember, right?
Make sure you keep that rule in mind as we go through these tips:
1. Track What You Eat
I think we all tend to underestimate just how much we’re really eating.
I know I did before I started tracking my food intake.
What I thought I was eating vs. what I was actually eating… different.
And since “eyeballing it” just isn’t very accurate, that’s where tracking what you eat comes into play.
By tracking your food, you’ll learn about what helps you lose weight vs. what doesn’t.
And you can make adjustments to your diet accordingly.
Two popular ways to track your food are calorie-counting and macro-counting. Each method is built on eating a target number of calories. As long as you’re at or below your target calories each day, you should lose weight.
Calorie-counting: Figure out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) using this calculator here. Subtract 300-500 calories from your TDEE to get your target calories.
Macro-counting: Macro-counting breaks your target calories down into protein, carbs, and fats...The three primary macronutrients. Here’s a step-by-step guide that will walk you through how to calculate your own macros for weight loss: Weight Loss Macro-Counting Guide.
A lot of people have had success with intermittent fasting, so you might want to give that a try (in addition to either of the methods above).
2. Cut Liquid Calories
Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids is important. But liquid calories can add up fast if you’re not careful.
Cutting down on sugary, high-calorie beverages could break you out of a weight loss plateau.
If you swapped out just one 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew a day for a glass of water, you’d save roughly 1,200 calories a week.
That’s 4,800 calories a month, or…58,000 calories a year (give or take a few hundred calories).
Now let that sink in.
And besides, drinking some good ol’ fashioned H2O is just good for you anyway.
3. Get More Protein
You’re not you when you’re hungry, grab a…
No, this isn’t a Snickers commercial…But when hunger strikes and you’re not prepared for it, your diet probably doesn’t even stand a chance.
So you can either:
A.) Make sure you’re always 100% prepared (which is unrealistic). Or...
B.) Find a way to not get so hungry.
You have a winner in option B...But what’s going to help you with your hunger?
Get more protein in your diet.
Research shows that eating protein can make you feel less hungry, less stressed, and even boost your metabolism.
4. Eat More Veggies
Think back to when you were little and how your mom or dad used to tell you:
“Don’t forget to eat your veggies.”
Now, they probably weren’t telling you that with weight loss in mind.
But looking back on it, there definitely might’ve been some foreshadowing going on with how to overcome a weight loss plateau...
That’s because veggies are a low calorie food option that can keep you full without costing you many calories.
As a rule of thumb:
When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to stick with foods that are low in calorie density.
Meaning: You get a lot of volume for not so many calories.
5. Fill Up On Fiber
Similar to protein, fiber can help you feel more full.
And you want to focus on viscous fiber in particular.
A viscous food is one that’s thick or has a lot of substance to it.
Here are some viscous high fiber food options for you:
6. Meal Prep
Grab your Chef Boyardee hat, get in the kitchen, and start prepping some 5-star meals.
Might be closer to 2 and a ½ stars if your cooking skills are like mine.
But planning out and preparing your meals ahead of time can save you a lot of time, energy, and money.
Not only that but it can go hand in hand with tracking your food.
You can measure your portion sizes out ahead of time, which makes hitting your target calories on a daily basis a lot easier.
This meal prep guide can help you get started.
7. Dealing With Stress
If you constantly feel like pulling your hair out or locking yourself in a room so you can scream out colorful expletives, then stress might be a big factor in getting past your weight loss plateau.
Your body produces a hormone called cortisol to help you deal with stress. But it can also increase your appetite.
One study found that people with higher cortisol levels were more likely to snack throughout the day than those with lower cortisol levels.
And extra snacking can lead to overeating, which is something you definitely don’t want when you’re trying to break through a weight loss plateau!
8. Get More Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep your body produces more hormones that make you hungrier and less of the hormones that help you feel more full.
Sleepless nights can also cause your body to produce more cortisol.
Like we talked about in the previous section, cortisol is a stress hormone that can make you feel more hungry, which may lead to overeating.
How much sleep should you be getting?
Try aiming for between 7-9 hours of shut-eye a night.
9. Don’t Rely Solely On the Scale
Is there a better feeling than stepping onto the scale and seeing that you’ve lost weight?
When you expect to see a lower number every single time, you’re probably a little disappointed whenever it doesn’t happen.
But just because the number on the scale isn’t what you expected or wanted doesn’t mean changes aren’t happening in your body.
Day-to-day fluctuations in weight most likely have to do with water retention (from something like sodium intake) than anything else.
You didn’t suddenly gain 5 lbs overnight (even if that’s what the scale says)!
Taking measurements can help reassure you that you’re headed in the right direction, especially on those days when the scale is trying to trick you.
10. Workout More (But Don’t Go Crazy With It!)
Please please please don’t run off to the gym after reading this for an hour-long HIIT session...Or anything like that.
Working out more can be something as simple as one extra cardio session or weightlifting session a week.
And if your schedule’s already crazy, then you’ll need some quick workouts that burn a lot of calories.
Nothing too crazy here, just a little bit more than what you’re currently doing.
Wrapping Things Up on How to Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau
Unfortunately, getting stuck in a weight loss rut is bound to happen to you at some point or another.
But next time you’re in a situation where the scale just isn’t budging no matter what you try, use this post as a guide to get you through it.
With a little bit of effort, you’ll be on the path to losing weight again in no time!
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About the Author
Chad Richardson is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, OH. It’s actually been rumored that Chad came out of the womb doing bicep curls, so it should come as no surprise that he enjoys creating content to help others get in shape and live healthier lives. When he’s not in the gym impersonating Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can probably catch Chad at a local bar with some friends, frustrated with his hometown Red Legs’ inability to stay above 500 for a whole season. His philosophy on life? Take action starting TODAY on that thing you’ve been putting off...Not tomorrow, next week, or whenever you feel motivated...A small step might not seem like much right now, but even small steps add up to a mile eventually.