It’s not uncommon for people losing weight to lose steadily at the beginning of their weight loss journey, only to hit a weight loss plateau and have all progress stop. It’s frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to lose weight. Usually, it means you need to make adjustments to your weight loss plan. Perhaps you’re eating more calories than you realize, or maybe your body has gotten used to your workouts and it’s time to kick them into higher gear.
Whatever you do, don’t let a weight loss plateau discourage you into giving up on your weight loss goals. There’s a lot you can do to get your weight loss started again. Follow these tips to move past your weight loss plateau, and reach your goal weight.
Wait a Couple of Weeks
That’s right – when you first hit a weight loss plateau, you shouldn’t panic or do anything right away. Just because the number on the scale hasn’t gone down doesn’t mean you haven’t lost body fat. Your weight can fluctuate by up to six pounds a day, depending on what you eat and drink, your exercise routines, your current hormone levels, and other factors – and that’s perfectly normal. You could be losing fat, but gaining muscle, which can make it temporarily look like you’ve stopped losing weight.
Reevaluate Your Diet
If you’ve waited two weeks and your weight loss is still stalled out, you need to take a closer look at what you’re putting in your body. Most people think they’re eating a lot fewer calories than they actually are, so it can be helpful to keep a food diary. There are plenty of calorie counter apps that you can use to keep track of the number of calories you’re eating each day, as well as the ratio of macronutrients in your diet. Remember that you have to restrict calories more and more as you lose weight, but don’t go below 1,200 calories a day.
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation is terrible for your health. It’s linked to all kinds of problems, including obesity. Sleep deprivation can lower your metabolism, make you hungrier, and make you less willing to resist cravings for sweets and junk food. The good news is that once you’re well-rested, your metabolism and hunger levels return to normal.
Drink More Water
Your body is 60 percent water, and that means it needs lots of water to function properly. Drinking 17 ounces of water can boost your metabolic rate by up to 30 percent for 90 minutes after drinking it. In one study, participants who drank 17 ounces of water before a meal lost 44 percent more weight than those who did not drink water before meals.
If your weight loss has plateaued, you probably need to amp up your exercise routine. That’s because your metabolic rate naturally falls as you lose weight – when you shed some pounds, there’s less of you to fuel, so your metabolism slows down accordingly.
However, that means you’re going to hit a plateau when your new metabolism breaks even with the amount of calories you’re consuming and expending. To burn more calories, as well as build more muscle and boost your metabolism, start a more strenuous exercise routine. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), aerobic exercise, and strength training can all boost your metabolism and get your weight loss started again.
Learn to Manage Your Stress Levels
If you’ve been feeling stressed out lately, it’s no wonder your weight loss has ground to a halt. Stress raises your levels of cortisol, a hormone that increases belly fat storage and can make it harder to lose weight. Take steps to manage your stress, including self-care, meditation, and exercise.
Go to Your Doctor
If you’re having trouble losing more weight, especially if you’ve tried everything else to get your scale moving again, you should talk to your doctor. Lots of medical conditions can make it hard to lose weight and easy to gain. Medications you’re taking for depression, allergies, birth control, or other issues can make it hard to drop extra pounds. Your doctor can adjust your treatment plan, or prescribe a weight loss drug like Ozempic, to help you get back on track with your weight loss goals.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you should really minimize your alcohol consumption or give up drinking altogether. Alcohol has a lot of calories and zero nutritional value. Even low-calorie alcoholic drinks still contain about seven calories per gram of alcohol, and many drinks, like beer and cocktails, contain more than 100 calories per drink.
When your weight loss progress grinds to a halt, don’t let frustration wreck the progress you have made. You just need to change things up a little so you can get over your weight loss plateau, and get the body you’ve always wanted.