It happens to everyone – you’ve been losing weight steadily every week for a few months and suddenly the scale stops moving. You think you’re doing everything right, but each week, the scale stays the same. Are you on a weight loss plateau?
You very well could be, but first let’s take a look at exactly what a weight loss plateau is: Your body will plateau at a certain weight during your weight loss journey if/when it enters into starvation mode. This does not mean that you are starving yourself, although that does happen when you severely restrict your caloric intake. Your body just thinks that you aren’t getting enough to eat because you’ve lost so much weight already and it stops releasing the fat, thinking that you will need it for energy.
The key part of this description though, is that you’re doing everything right. What I mean is that you are following your healthy eating plan to the letter, including what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, and how often you eat. You’re also getting in your prescribed exercise, which includes muscle and strength building, as well as cardio training. You are following everything to the letter since you’re highly motivated about changing your lifestyle and staying on the healthy path for life.
Now here’s where you can easily trip yourself up by not being honest with you: a weight loss plateau is not when you don’t see the scale move and you have not been eating and/or exercising properly. If you throw in some off plan snacks, meals, or even off plan weekends and the scale either doesn’t move or it goes up, this is not a plateau. If you aren’t following your healthy eating and exercise plan then you just cannot blame your lack of loss on anything outside of yourself.
Serious weight loss requires a high degree of self-honesty, honesty being something that many overeaters are not in the habit of using. No, I’m not saying that overeaters (myself included remember) are a bunch of liars, but many people feel shame and embarrassment about how much and what they eat.
This isn’t uncommon, I’m sure you either know someone like this or have done it yourself, I sure have! I’ve lied to myself about how much I’ve eaten and about the kinds of foods I’ve eaten, telling myself that it didn’t matter, that it wouldn’t affect me (yeah right!). I’ve buried food wrappers in the trash can so that no one would see what I ate (have you ever done that?). I’ve told myself that “a little won’t hurt”, when what that really meant was, “if I eat just a little I can justify eating whatever I want”.
The point is, if you’re lying to yourself about what you’re doing to lose weight and you’re not making your best effort, you just can’t claim that you’re on a plateau. In fact, it’s a bonus if that is the case because you know what to do to get that scale moving – follow your healthy eating and exercise plan 100%. That will get you to your goal quicker than making excuses for not doing it.
Now when you really do reach a plateau, here are some simple things you can do to get the scale moving:
- Drink more water (plain, clean water). I drink between 100 – 120oz per day.
- Check for any hidden sodium in your foods which will effectively slow or stall your weight loss progress.
- Up your portions of protein and carb proportionately for a week. When you feed your body more of the high quality food (lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, and whole carbs) that you’re already eating, it will see that there is an abundance of food coming in and it can release the fat stores once again.
- Be sure to take your measurements each week when you weigh in. Sometimes you will see a loss in inches and the scale doesn’t move, therefore you aren’t on a plateau and are still making progress!
The main thing is that when you seriously want to get results, you’ve got to dig deep and be completely honest with yourself. No one else can do this for you (same rules apply to me) and what is so completely satisfying is the feeling of accomplishment you will get from sticking to your plan 100% and then seeing the results.