Don’t let weight loss plateaus stop you losing weight, learn how to work through them and get back on track.
Weight loss plateaus happen to anyone who has ever tried to lose weight. They are an inevitable stage in any weight loss journey.
Plateaus normally occur some time during the first 4-8 weeks of a diet.
You get off to a great start, the weight is coming off nicely, a pound or so a week and then…the weight loss slows or stops altogether!
One week, two weeks, the scales don’t move.
Beat Your Weight Loss Plateaus – Healthy Weight Loss
You’re sticking to your program, doing all the right things but you’re not losing weight!
Sound familiar? How de-motivating is that!
Weight loss plateaus are one of the major reasons why people fail in their attempts to lose weight.
What would your reaction be? Normally something along the lines of, “This diet’s not working, what’s the point, give me that Mars bar!”
As we tell all our clients when they start a weight loss program – you will hit a weight loss plateau at some point, prepare yourself for it and you’ll not be surprised – and disillusioned – when it happens.
So Why Does it Happen…?
Essentially, its your bodies way of taking a time out. As you’ve learnt, your body is designed to store fat, it doesn’t like to give it up easily.
Your body needs a little time to adjust itself to your new regime, to take stock and make sure everything is ok.
If you’ve tried to lose weight before, weight loss plateaus occur even more quickly, often within two or three weeks of starting.
Your body is ready for you. It recognises that you’re dieting – starving – and intervenes. The starvation response.
So What Do You Do About it…?
Here are the experiences of two of our clients, both pretty typical.
Claire was a serial dieter. She’d put on around 20 lbs over the last 18 months and wanted to lose it for the summer.
She’d been on three diets in the last four years and had lost around 10 lbs with each of them, but had put it all on again and more.
Claire lost 5 lbs in her first week – mostly water – 2 lbs in week two, a pound in week three and then…bingo! She hit a plateau.
She went two weeks without losing any more weight and true to form she quit. We didn’t hear from her again.
Sarah had put on over 50 lbs in the last five years. She’d dieted years ago but hadn’t really tried to lose weight for some time.
Sarah lost 15 lbs in her first six weeks and was delighted. Then she hit the plateau.
Six weeks later and her weight was still static and she was fed up.
The weeks went by and she stuck to her program. She was determined to lose the weight. She was not going to quit.
10 weeks after hitting the plateau she lost a pound…and another…and another.
She lost 14 lbs over the next eight weeks…and kept losing weight.
The moral of the story? You’ve just got to stick with it!
If you want to lose it enough, you will lose it.
Sarah wanted it more than Claire. She reinforced her reasons why, her motivation and reminded herself constantly how much she hated being fat.
If you stick with it, the weight will start to come off again.
We’re all different and our bodies react differently to changes in our diet and eating habits. It may just take a bit longer to adjust.
Ok, Sarah is an extreme example. She really did stick to her programme but it took a while to work through the plateau. Most weight loss plateaus take two or three weeks to get through.
They may also happen once or twice later in your weight loss program.
One thing we encourage our clients to do from day one is to measure themselves. Often when the scales don’t move, a couple of inches come off around the body.
This is particularly apparent when clients start exercising. Muscle is heavier than fat and fat loss can be masked by improved muscle tone and density.
Basically your body starts changing shape, toning and shrinking without you noticing any weight loss.
A great way to work through a plateau is to exercise.
Force your body to work through the plateau. Improve your fitness, increase your muscle mass and metabolism and burn some fat.
Jackie was 25 and hit a plateau after losing 12 lbs. She started swimming. Just a couple of times a week. A few lengths to start with and building it up to a 30 minute swim three times a week.
The plateau didn’t last long. Her muscle tone improved and her body dramatically changed its shape.
Six months later she’d hit her target weight and was a slim, toned 126 lbs.
Some people’s reaction to weight loss plateaus is to eat less and less. Big mistake!
Before you know it you’ll be eating next to nothing, feeling terrible with the metabolism of a dead parrot!
Stick with your healthy weight loss plan and you will work through the weight loss plateaus.
Everyone does. Except those that quit of course!