Firstly, congratulate yourself on what you have achieved to date!
Before I discuss how to overcome a weight loss plateau it's important to understand what could be causing you to experience this. In the first week of coaching my clients, I advise them to expect a rapid drop of weight loss and that this is normal. The rapid drop in weight loss occurs because when you cut calories, the body needs energy initially by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver.
> Glycogen is partly made of water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it releases water, resulting in temporary weight loss that's mostly water.
> As you lose weight, you lose some muscle along with fat. Muscle helps keep the rate at which you burn calories up, which is called your metabolism. So as you lose weight, your metabolism declines, causing you to burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight.
> Your slower metabolism will slow your weight loss, even if you eat the same number of calories that helped you lose weight. When the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you reach a plateau.
To lose more weight, you need to either increase your physical activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it will not lead to more weight loss.
Tips to overcome a weight loss plateau
When you reach a plateau, you may have lost all the weight you will on your current diet and exercise plan. If you wish to lose more weight, then you may need to change up to a different program and meal plan. If you are committed to losing more weight, try these tips for getting past the plateau:
- Is my weight loss goal unrealistic? If you are unsure talk to your GP, dietitian or health coach who will be able to give you professional advice.
- Am I weighing myself too much and allowing it to dictate my mood, my eating habits, you may need to take a break from the scales?
- Have I lost my motivation?
- Take a break from dieting, use this period to continue eating well and maintain your current weight. This will allow yourself to focus on other areas of wellbeing and to be open to more inspiration on eating well and exercising more, try some new things!
- Am I being honest about my portion sizes?
- Am I consuming more than I need outside of my three meals?
- Are my meals balanced (Carbohydrate / healthy fat / protein combinations)?
- Are my meals concentrated around whole natural processed foods? Whole foods provide the body with the energy it needs as well as key vitamins and minerals. Processed foods are empty calories and chemical disrupters which can lead to cravings and nutrient deficiency.
Tips: More water intake, more vegetables intake (especially green leafy vegetables), more fibre foods and more protein.
- Am I snacking too much? Maple syrup, nuts and nut butters, granola, energy bars, trail mix, full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheeses, these may creep back into the diet, yes healthy but if eaten often and not balanced out with your day’s meals, can be tripping you up on your efforts.
- Are my meals varied so I am getting enough key vitamins and minerals? Research has shown Vitamin D, Omega 3, B Group Vitamins, Iron and Magnesium are key in the correct balancing and functioning of metabolism and energy production.
- What is my alcohol intake like, could the type and number of drinks be interfering with my success?
- Am I trying to exercise to undo overeating?
- Am I doing less exercise or am I overdoing the exercise with punishing routines?
- Am I sabotaging my efforts at the weekends?
- What areas of my diet can I adjust?
VIDEO: You can also watch my IGTV on explaining Weight Loss Plateau