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What to Do When You Hit a Weight-Loss Plateau?

Updated: Feb 21

five rocks delicately balanced on top of each other

Achieving your optimal body is a delicate balance. It's easy to feel annoyed and frustrated when a plateau hits but know that it's normal. Your body changes and adapts every day to your external and internal environment and this is your body's way of communicating with you.

In this post I will share some tips and strategies you can use to break through your weight loss/fat loss plateau and keep you moving towards your goal.

Woman holding a set of scales

What is a Weight Loss Plateau?

A plateau is what appears to be a stall, delay or halt in your progress. Despite feeling like you're doing all the "right" things, like eating well and exercising, nothing is working!

A Change in Mindset

What if a "plateau" was a good thing? What if it was a sign of progress? What if it was your body telling you that you need to change something?

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change". Wayne Dyer

Perception and your expectations play a huge role in where you "think" you are, and "should" be on your journey. Everything starts in the mind and when you look at a "problem" from a new perspective, what you're looking at changes. With objectivity you find a surge of energy and inspiration to propel you into action and to find a solution.

💡 Did you know that everything in the universe, including the trillions of cells in your body, is in constant motion. If we look at a quantum level nothing stands still, despite it appearing to be stationary or stopped on the outside.

What does that mean for you? It means your body is always in motion, it's always progressing and adapting. It may not "feel" like you're making progress but everything is in progress (even mistakes are progress!). Be kind to yourself, acknowledge and be proud of yourself on your weight loss journey.

Our Human Needs

a woman getting ready for work doing the same thing every day

The body, like we humans, need consistency comfort and security, but we also need and crave spontaneity, challenge and adventure.

Often there's an imbalance between structure and spontaneity in our lives. Too much structure and you can feel confined, bored and limited, too little and life feels out of control.

Think of how you feel when you do the same groundhog day every day. Eventually boredom sets in, motivation decreases, one poor choice leads to another, stress and overwhelm and excuses become drivers and before too long the wheels have fallen off and you give in to the pressure.

As Rita Mae Brown said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results".

The opposite is also true where every day is a holiday. Eating what you want, binge watching television and not going to the gym. The sense of freedom and "doing what I want", eventually wears off. You feel bored, your clothes are tight, and you've lost that feeling of confidence and vitality.

a woman excited standing on a rock overlooking ocean

A "plateau" could be your body asking for a new challenge or it could be calling out for more orderliness and discipline.

Life is about constant refinement of this delicate balance of flexibility and discipline. They both work together and allow you to achieve your goal.

What Can I do?

Rather than looking at a "plateau" as bad and becoming frustrated and giving up, get excited by it because your body has adapted. You body is talking to you and directing you to your next step so you can find the middle ground between flexibility and discipline.

The key is listening to your body, observing the signs and adjusting and refining as you go along.

What to consider when you feel the plateau has hit...

  1. Perhaps your body has adapted to your exercise routine and you need to switch things up. If an exercise has become easy or you've been doing the treadmill for a couple of weeks, switch to a stationary bike or try adding 5 minutes of interval style training.

  2. Maybe you're eating too few calories and so your metabolism has slowed, thus storing fat. Use an online calculator to work out your BMR to keep your metabolism working fast or take the guesswork out and book a Body Composition Analysis and get a fast accurate reliable reading.

  3. Maybe your portion sizes have slowly crept up and so you're unknowingly consuming more calories than you need, hence weight gain. Go back and measure your food for a week like you did in the beginning. A visual prompt can make all the difference. Use a phone app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and nutrient intake.

  4. Perhaps you've lost weight but you're still consuming the same number of calories as when you were heavier. As you lose weight your body requires less calories. Re-evaluate your calorie needs and take an honest inventory of your activity levels.

  5. As you lose weight you lose muscle, and your metabolism slows therefore you require fewer calories. Muscle also burns fat! Ensure you're incorporating at least two strength based workouts each week to maintain and build muscle. Remember also that muscle requires more energy and therefore calories so make sure you're fueling your body with good quality protein.

  6. Maybe you're working out but you're NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is non-existent. Planned exercise is important but movement throughout the day is said to be even more important for health. Take the stairs, park further away and walk, walk in your lunch break, take the dog out, even doing household chores and gardening will boost your calories burned.

  7. Maybe you're exercising too much! Even though you're burning more calories during your workout, your body will adapt and burn less during the day to preserve energy. Take the time to recover and rest, have a day off in the middle of the week, have a week off if you need to. Keep up your NEAT though and include gentle walking and stretching.

  8. Perhaps stress is interfering with your progress. Stress affects hormones, appetite, mood and metabolism. Studies show that reducing stress levels increases weight loss. Incorporate daily relaxation rituals such as meditation, reading, walking in nature, yoga or gardening. Our Endermologie and Infrared Sauna Treatments not only support weight loss/fat loss but can also form part of your self-care practice.

  9. Maybe poor sleep is the culprit. Lack of sleep contributes to stress, affects mood, hormones, and performance and gives your body less time to recover from exercise and to rebuild and repair muscles. Establish a calming night time routine to allow your body to unwind. Perhaps meditation, a hot shower, a walk, journaling, cut off caffeine and screen time early, go to bed at the same time every night

One Final Word

In life you will experience many plateau's, ups and downs and high's and low's. It's these moments you learn resilience and you realise you're potential and what you're capable of. If you expect the lows and understand that their purpose is personal growth, you will move through the journey with less resistance and more grace and patience. Celebrate your wins every day!

If you would like to learn more about how I can support you with your weight loss goals and break through stuckness, click on the link below and book in for a free chat!

woman standing on top a hill arms raised celebrating


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