Why Have I Stopped Losing Weight? Overcoming the Plateau
You’ve ditched the pizza binges and getting elbow-deep in ice cream, and you’re watching the weight melt away. Plus, all of those hours you’ve clocked in the gym are finally starting to pay off. You’re feeling confident. You’re feeling empowered. And you’re feeling motivated. Well, at least, you were because now you’ve hit a wall – or the infamous ‘weight-loss plateau’. Sure, you’ve achieved a healthy weight, but those vanity pounds are still lingering. So, how can you get yourself out of this sticky slimming rut and shed those extra 10-15 pounds?
Rev up your workout
Slaving away on the exercise bike for months on end? It’s time to rotate your routine. Over time, your muscles become accustomed to the same old, humdrum workout, meaning your exercise session isn’t as effective. The secret to zapping stubborn fat is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a brilliant weapon in your arsenal. HIIT is any workout that combines intense bursts of activity with fixed periods of less intense activity or even complete rest. For instance, you could run as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walk for 2 minutes. Do this until you hit the 30-minute mark. Knackering? Oh yes. But it sure works.
When your weight loss efforts come to a standstill, it’s usually an indication your body isn’t being challenged enough. One solution? Increase your strength training by pumping more iron. Remember, the leaner your muscles, the more fat and calories you burn at rest. Try alternating weight-lifting exercises, intensity, and the number of reps to give your body the weight-loss wake up it needs.
Find a fit friend
Working out with a health nut won’t only help you commit to a regular exercise routine, but it may encourage you to push a little harder, too. Ask your Pilates-obsessed pal if you can tag along with her to a class, or your super buff co-worker if he wants to hit the park for some HIIT. Befriending a wellness warrior may just be the boost your slimming efforts need.
It’s the oldest trick in the weight-loss book: move your body more! Re-engineering your work commute to include a longer walk is one such way to achieve this. Get off the bus a stop earlier, plan your route to take in a local park, or use the stairs over the lift. Other quick wins include: doing the dishes by hand, taking a brisk 20-minute walk at lunch, or deep-cleaning the house. Though none of these activities torch a ton of calories, every bit counts if you want to overcoming the weight-loss plateau.
Beware of nibbling
A chip here, a gummy sweet there – all of these extra nibbles do add up, even though they aren’t on your plate. Mindlessly noshing on leftovers may seem innocent and harmless, but this habit could be the reason you’re not seeing the weight-loss results you want. Slashing these additional calories can make a real difference to your waistline. You heard us: back away from the titbits…
Clock more shut-eye
Late-night Instagram-scrollers, listen up: your night-owl antics are undermining your weight loss endeavours. Ever noticed how you feel hungrier when you’re sleepier? Failing to clock those all-important zzzz’s can throw your hormones out of whack, negatively impacting hunger levels the next day. As a rule of thumb: aim for 7-9 hours of restorative slumber every night. Struggling to clock off? Check out our sleep-hacks here
Don’t be too restrictive
When you hit a weight loss plateau, it can be tempting to skip meals and restrict calories. But this isn’t the secret to losing weight. Once you restrict below 1,200 calories, your body enters ‘starvation mode’. This will only leave you ravenous and more inclined to binge, further stalling your slimming progress. Eating a well-balanced combination of protein, carbs and fats every four hours will keep hunger pangs at bay and calorie-burn consistent.
Pack in the protein
This may be a well-worn piece of weight-loss advice, but we’ll say it again for good measure: you need to pack in the protein if you want to shed excess weight. Protein is the big daddy of the weight-loss world: it can boost your metabolism; retain muscle mass while torching fat; and support satiety (i.e. fullness). It really is a stellar option in your arsenal. To reap its weight-loss fruits, make a conscious effort to include a source of quality protein – be it animal or plant-based –with every meal. Discover more ways to get your protein fix here.
Fill up on fibre
Sure, it’s more hackneyed weight-loss advice, but again, totally worth the mention: one of the best ways to zap fat is with fibre. Like protein, fibrous food is extraordinarily satiating. It helps you feel fuller and satisfied for longer, and thereby naturally dampens your appetite. For the ultimate slimming aid, try to hit 30 grams of fibre every day. Brown rice, legumes, avocado, kale and broccoli are chock-full of the rough stuff. Learn how to up your fibre intake here.
Hydrate, hydrate…and hydrate some more
Water is an essential tool to have in your weight-loss toolbox. Alongside flushing your body of waste toxins and excess salt, it revs up your workouts and keeps hunger at bay. Always keep a trusty reusable bottle by your side – a visual reminder to guzzle throughout the day. Pro weight loss tip: have a glass of water before eating every meal, and see if it doesn’t help fill you up and curb your calorie consumption. Straight-up H20, not your thing? Jazz it up with sliced citrus fruits, berries or mint to tantalize your taste buds and encourage you to drink more.
When you encounter a weight loss plateau, sometimes you just have to power through. Losing weight is a long game, after all. Trust that you will lose weight again because, with grit, determination and commitment, you absolutely will. Maintaining motivation can often be tricky so it’s vitally important to reward yourself throughout the weight-loss journey. But we’re not talking about treating yourself to a rich dessert or a family-sized chocolate bar. Instead, indulge in a massage, pedicure or a night at the theatre with your friends. Above all, be kind to yourself. Try to keep your spirits high and move forward with an optimistic attitude.
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Olivia Salter has always been an avid health nut. After graduating from the University of Bristol, she began working for a nutritional consultancy where she discovered her passion for all things wellness-related. There, she executed much of the company’s content marketing strategy and found her niche in health writing, publishing articles in Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, Thrive and Psychologies.