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Weight Loss Plateau - How to Break Through it

Updated on March 21, 2013

Is Your Scale Stuck?

Oh the dreaded scale
Oh the dreaded scale | Source

Why Did I Stop Losing Weight?

To break through a weight loss plateau, you need to know what one is. A weight loss plateau is when you stop losing weight and level off at your current weight. It usually feels like the scale is stuck and no matter what you do, it won't budge.

These plateaus usually happen because your body has gotten used to what you are doing. It doesn't need to change because your body has it all figured out and has learned to cope with what is going on. The key to breaking through a weight loss plateau is to shake things up a bit, shock your body!

Calories in - Calories Out

Weight loss is comprised of two main elements: Calories in (your diet) and Calories out (your activity). To fix whatever may be stalling your weight loss, we need to look at these two things. Remember, you need a CHANGE. So, the trick is to examine what you are doing now and find out where the flaw is and what to do to fix it.

Don't Forget Your Veggies!

Mm Veggies!
Mm Veggies! | Source

Calories In

The first step is to identify what you are currently doing and then what will fix it.

  • Are you eating enough? If you have been on an extremely low calorie diet and have stopped losing weight, it may be time to change that. Take about a week and increase your calorie intake a little. Don't gorge yourself on junk! Just add in some more beans, fruits and lean proteins. Your body may think it's starving and wants to hold on to every ounce of fat just in case it doesn't get the nourishment it needs. After about a week, you can drop back down to a lower caloric intake but try not to go back to the level you were at previously.
  • Are you drinking enough water? Your body needs water to function at its prime. That includes losing weight. Water is essential in metabolizing food and fat stores. To be the most successful at your weight loss, drink at least 10- 8 ounce glasses of water per day.
  • What else are you drinking? If you're drinking soda or coffee, you are just dehydrating yourself with the caffeine. And don't forget, sugary drinks have calories in them too. So, you could be canceling out all your hard work if you're drinking unhealthy drinks. Just stick with water.
  • Are you eating too much? You may not realize how much you're eating. Calories can stack up quick. Try calorie counting for a day if you don't already to see how much you are really putting into your body every day. Make sure you read labels and check portion sizes carefully.
  • Are you eating the right foods? You may be eating the right amount of food but if it's the wrong kind, it's just as bad if not worse. You need to make sure you are getting enough fiber to keep you full, enough unsaturated fats and enough protein to keep your muscles from depleting. Try to eat lean meats and fish for your protein. Add in some avocado if you are looking for some good sources of fat. Make sure your diet isn't too full of sodium either; this could cause you to bloat.

Pump Some Iron

You don't have to be a "World's Strongest Man" to lift weights.
You don't have to be a "World's Strongest Man" to lift weights. | Source

Shake it up With Insanity

INSANITY Base Kit - DVD Workout
INSANITY Base Kit - DVD Workout

Insanity is notorious for shocking your body. No matter how great of shape you think you are in, Insanity will push you out of your rut!


Calories Out

Think about your current workout routine and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you getting enough exercise? If your current regimen isn't cutting it anymore, you might need to crank it up a little. If you usually walk 2 miles every day, try pushing it to 3 miles or even running part of it. Just add 5 minutes to your daily work out and see if it helps any.
  • Are you over-doing it? If you're doing too much, your body may be shutting down on you. Don't over work yourself. Your work outs should end up invigorating you, not tearing you down. Try slacking off a little bit for a few days and seeing how you feel. You can't beat your body constantly and not expect it to retaliate.
  • Are you inactive during the day other than the times you work out? If you go for a run or walk or bike ride every day and then avoid any other form of physical activity, it is not going to help you. Try being active in all parts of your day. You don't have to be dripping sweat all day long, but don't sit on the couch all day either. If you work on the second floor, take the stairs. If you're at a desk all day, get up every now and then and stretch. At any point in the day, if you realize you have been completely sedentary for a while, get up and do something - anything.
  • Do you always do the same activity? If you spend every day on the treadmill and nothing else, your body becomes very efficient at that activity and it takes very little calories to do it. This applies to any activity if you are always doing the same one. You have to give your body a shock by doing something it is not used to doing. If you constantly change your workout routine, your body never has a change to get used to anything and you will lose weight easier.
  • Are you lifting weights or doing some form of strength training? If not, you are missing out on a gold mine of metabolism boosting benefits. The more muscle you have in your body, the more calories you burn not matter what you are doing. Also, you may burn more calories during a cardio session but you will burn more calories after you work out if there is strength training involved.

Other Things That Could be Causing a Weight Loss Plateau

Weight loss is not a science. So, sometimes the math of calories in - calories out will not solve everything. Sometimes, strange factors come into play like hormones. To make sure hormones aren't sabotaging your weight loss, follow these tips:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Relax, stress can disrupt weight loss
  • Check into your form of birth control (ladies)


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    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      Thank you for reading . I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      You have some good ideas here. I know how difficult those plateaus can be. When I've hit them I just keep working at burning more calories than I take in because at some point my body will just have to reckon with the fact that without more calories it just can't stay like it is. Really like the subject of this hub because anyone who has ever seriously dieted knows and has dealt with plateaus.

      Voted up and useful!