5 Tips To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau
Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.
Do you feel as though you’re doing everything right but the number on the scale has stalled? Everyone is destined to encounter a plateau in weight loss at some point on their journey to a healthy weight, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
In this blog, we explain the leading physiological causes behind a plateau in weight loss, reveal how many weeks is considered a weight loss plateau, and share five of the most effective tips for getting over a weight loss plateau to keep your goals tracking.
When does weight loss plateau?
If you’re struggling to unstick the scales and push through a plateau in weight loss, there are a few scientific reasons to consider as possible culprits. Firstly your body is extremely adaptable, so when you adopt a calorie deficit and start losing weight, it adjusts to your new lifestyle and reduces your metabolic rate — burning less energy than it did previously.
Additionally, your body likes to sustain a ‘set point weight’ — a natural weight that it will try to maintain, regardless of what you eat or how much you exercise. Your body’s set point can be adjusted with a gradual, stepped weight loss program, but it can take some time to recalibrate. A plateau in weight loss is inevitable, but understanding the reasons behind your lull in results can prevent you from backsliding on your new healthy habits.
Postpartum weight loss plateau
If you’ve recently had a baby, you can expect to hit a plateau in weight loss at some point in your postpartum journey. Weight loss will be fastest in the first week after birth, as your body sheds retained fluids, and gradually slows down over time due to a cluster of hormonal changes — eventually causing a postpartum weight loss plateau.
For example, the hormone prolactin is vital for the production of breast milk, but it also directly affects your body’s ability to metabolise fat. Additionally, there are external demands involved with caring for a baby that can have a negative impact on your sleep quality, eating habits and caloric intake.
How many weeks is considered a weight loss plateau?
A plateau in weight loss can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. If you’ve recently reached a roadblock on your weight loss journey, don’t be dismayed — it’s a sign that your diet and fitness routine needs modifying to reflect the incredible progress you’ve already made. With a few smart tweaks to your approach, you can easily resume your weight loss journey. Breaking through a weight loss plateau needn’t be daunting.
How to break a weight loss plateau: five of the most effective tips
Getting past a weight-loss plateau is possible with the right strategies. Follow our tips to unstick the scales:
- Reassess your caloric intake
When the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you hit a plateau in weight loss. As you lose weight, your body requires less fuel, so you need to adjust your intake accordingly. As a rough rule of thumb, for every 10% of weight you lose, you need to consume roughly 20% fewer calories to continue shedding kilograms. But this should not be achieved through deprivation. Instead, the focus needs to be on eating more nature’s treats which are packed with nutrition and lower in calories.
- Perform strength-building exercises
While cutting calories will help you lose weight, dieting alone can strip away both muscle and body fat, slowing your metabolic rate. To preserve muscle, incorporate strength-building workouts. You don’t necessarily need to pump iron at the gym — bodyweight exercises like push-ups, planks and air squats are just as effective.
- Increase your protein intake
Adding an extra serving of protein to your daily diet has two benefits: firstly, it helps you maintain lean muscle mass, and secondly, it will help you feel fuller for longer. Protein-rich foods like chicken, tofu and beans suppress ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone. Head to our recipe archive for mealtime inspiration.
Even if you account for a few glasses of wine in your daily calorie intake, alcohol can foster a plateau in weight loss. It causes a break in the metabolic process that affects the way your body handles the energy in food, meaning carbohydrates, fats and proteins are automatically stored as body fat.
Stress increases your body’s production of a hormone called cortisol. As well as triggering unhealthy food cravings, excess cortisol promotes fat storage around your stomach. Making time for stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing can bring your body back into balance.
Breaking through a weight loss plateau with Interval Weight Loss
Developed and tested by Dr Nick Fuller from the University of Sydney, our scientifically-backed, stepped weight-loss program is proven to deliver lasting results. If you’re ready to lose weight and keep it off, sign up online today. If you have any questions about the Interval Weight Loss approach, feel free to contact us directly.