The Weight Loss Plateau

If it Is Important
Image by Arya Ziai

If you have ever tried to lose weight, you already know about the weight loss plateau. There is simply no way to avoid it.  You will hit a plateau – it is inevitable.  In fact, I am at one right now, as I write this. I started several weeks ago with a new and very healthy diet and quickly lost 10 pounds, then hit my plateau (which I knew was coming) – but, frustrating nevertheless!

The plateau can be demoralizing and take all the wind out of your sails, with a continual niggling in your head that says, “It’s not worth it – just quit.”  But . . . I am not going to quit. I am determined to continue until I have reached my goal.

There is no diet that can promise (and keep the promise) that you will not hit this wall. I don’t care if it is high-carb, low-carb, Mediterranean, Paleo, etc., you will still hit it.

The plateau comes as the result of eating and exercising the same way day-in and day-out over a period of time. The break-through may come more quickly if you trick your body a little while on the diet. In other words – keep it guessing.

A plateau is a signal that your weight is stagnant – not going up or down.  It doesn’t make any sense because you have been on the same diet for several weeks and were steadily losing your two pounds each week – then nothing.

Well . . . something. . . your haven’t lost anything, but the good news is that you also haven’t gained anything. It is annoying and discouraging because you are continuing to do what has been successful up to this point.  You are eating all the right things (and not eating the bad things), you are exercising, and you are holding fast to your goal – but nothing is happening.

With a fad diet it may be more noticeable and last longer because of the extreme change in food intake, your body may have shut down and is clinging to whatever reserves it has in place because it is responding to what feels like starvation.  In fact, changing to a more normal, healthy diet could be all the change your body needs. (Good food only – I am not talking about adding back all the bad stuff.)

One thing you can do is change up your eating and exercise routine a bit. Try switching to a new program or shaving a few more calories off each day, which you only do if you are at a safe level – DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF.  Another choice is to increase your daily exercise regimen to burn more calories and boost your metabolism.

Changes in your diet and exercise routine are often enough to help break through the plateau and keep you losing weight week after week.

The hard cold truth is that plateaus will happen and can hit you at any time.  There is no way of knowing when – but studies have shown that it is usually in week two or three.  For me, the plateau usually hits in week three or four.

Sometimes the best approach is to simply hang in there and ride out the plateau. In all likelihood your body will adjust and adapt to the new routine and the weight loss will begin again. But if the plateau continues for a couple of weeks or more; and you begin to feel that it will never end, you may have to do some kind of change up to break out of it.

Listen to your body, stay true to your goal, and do not give up.  Weight loss is not easy for most people, but if you focus on staying healthy by eating right and exercising, the weight will come off – in spite of the plateaus and other challenges you may face.  Don’t let the plateaus defeat you.

See you next time,


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