Why did I suddenly stop losing weight? Things were going well but now the number on the scale is stuck. The good news is that this is a normal part of weight loss.
Possible Causes for a Weight-Loss Plateau
- You lose water weight in the beginning. When you cut calories, the body releases stores of glycogen. Glycogen is partly made up of water, so when it’s burned for energy, it releases water.
- Your metabolism slows down. If you lose muscle, or lean body mass, you’ll burn fewer calories. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn.
- You’re getting fitter. By doing the same exercise routine over time your body will become more efficient at it. When we become more efficient we burn fewer calories.
- You stop following your weight loss plan or you didn’t have a plan. Small, unconscious changes in daily calories can cause early weight loss plateaus. Or, you aren’t nourishing your body.
How to Beat a Weight-Loss Plateau
Take a close look at your behavior.
- Honestly assess your daily habits by tracking them using a journal or tracking app.
- Don’t starve your body of key nutrients: omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins, foods from nature.
- Avoid “calorie creeps” – what you drink, the food you sample at the store, the cookies at work.
Switch up your exercise routine every two to five weeks – plateaus happen when the body begins to adjust to the demands of your exercise routine.
- Change your exercises, frequency, intensity, and/or time.
- Strength train regularly to protect and build muscle tissue.
Pack in the protein – if you aren’t eating enough protein your body will take it from your muscles for fuel.
- Include lean protein in all of your meals and snacks: eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, lentils, low-fat cottage cheese, hummus.
- Make sure you are engaging in your exercise program with a fully nourished body.
Get enough sleep – sleep and fitness go hand-in-hand, so losing sleep can sabotage your diet.
- To keep the hormones that signal hunger in check, aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
- Sleep is crucial to keep your energy levels high to get a workout in and is needed for your muscles to recover.
Manage stress to prevent emotional eating.
- Set boundaries and design the life you want for yourself – nourish your soul.
- Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, fun hobbies, practicing gratitude and nurturing relationships are effective.
By Kim Goblirsch, Well-Being Specialist