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Breaking Through the Plateau

Updated on June 16, 2011

When the Weight Loss Stops

You're doing everything you should, eating right and exercising when you can and you seldom cheat, but the scales still aren't budging lately. Congratulations! You've hit a plateau. I know that doesn't sound like something to be excited about but it shows that your body recognizes the changes you've made and is trying to readjust. Our bodies are made to be as efficient as possible. When you hit a plateau in weight loss, it just says your body has learned to function on the amount of calories you're putting into it (diet) and the amount of calories you're spending (exercise). But you still have more pounds to lose, so what can you do?

One thing you can do when you stop losing weight is to eat more. That sounds like the opposite of what you should be doing, but it actually works. You don't want to gain so you have to monitor it very closely. Just add a few more calories a day and keep an eye on the scales. This is what you'll do when you reach your goal to maintain the weight loss so it's good practice anyway. And remember it takes 3500 calories to gain a pound, so as long as you add in food moderately and still make healthy choices, you shouldn't gain weight. Then after a period of time, you can cut back to where you were in calories and your body should respond with dropping some pounds.

The same goes for exercise. Our bodies get more efficient with burning calories as well as consuming them. Look at your exercise schedule and change it up. If you run, try swimming or biking. If you always do moderate intensity exercise, try to do some intervals and increase the intensity. Your body will have to work harder and burn more calories. See if you can find some classes at a local gym, like Zumba or spinning. Or try a new DVD. Add in some more weight training or start if you're not doing any. Even if you aren't losing any pounds, if you do more strength training, you'll lose inches on your body and your clothes will fit better. I lost two inches around my waist even though the scale stayed the same. That gave me enough motivation to keep going until the pounds started coming off again.

Make some mental changes. Try a new low-calorie recipe using foods you've never tried. If you like to walk or run, find a new path or trail. Visit a state park that you've never gone to. If you work out at home, try a gym for awhile. Buy new workout clothes. Even put some new music on your mp3 player. It will keep your brain more alert and your body will respond to the differences.

Don't give up. It may take awhile to get through this low point but it will happen. And if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you may have more than one plateau. You will get there as long as you keep working at it.

How Long Did Your Plateau Last?

If you had a plateau in your weight loss, how long did it take for you to lose weight again?

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    • nalinimahajan123 profile image

      nalinimahajan123 5 years ago from Nashik, India

      Maximize the quantity of fruits and vegetables and low calorie foods.

    • FitnessTom profile image

      FitnessTom 6 years ago

      Cheat days are an excellent way to keep metabolism high.

      Also, a plateau should only exist if the diet is flawed in some way.

      Realize that as you lose weight, your metabolism naturally slows down so you will have to cut calories back even more.