Weight loss plateaus are a common issue that often affects many of us after we’ve been on a diet for an extended period of time. Weight loss plateaus can often be extremely frustrating, as they can occur without any noticeable change in diet. Sometimes, you can be eating the same amount of calories one week and lose weight, and then the following week be stuck without any progress. The science behind what causes weight loss plateaus can be complicated and quite difficult to apply to the average person’s life. So, in this article, I am going to simplify and explain some of the common ways people beat the dreaded weight loss plateau.
First and foremost, if you feel as though you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, I often recommend for people to actually dialup their calories for the next 7 to 10 days. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is often helpful to take sometime to mentally reset after some frustrating results. Physically, increasing your calories can reset your metabolism by taking your body out of “starvation mode”, which is oftentimes one of the mechanisms contributing to your weight loss plateau. However, it is extremely important to be strategic in your calorie increase. Dialing your calories back up is not an excuse to go off the rails completely, and avoiding that temptation is extremely important. Something like 500 calories or so a day will usually do the trick both mentally and physically. This is often referred to as “reverse dieting” (you can find a previous article that dives more in depth into this topic on our website), and has been shown to have some pretty considerable benefits.
Another recommendation I often give, is to switch up your diet completely. Oftentimes, the diet that leads to a weight loss plateau is too restrictive. To combat this, change up your diet so it suits you mentally and physically. If you love a certain food, don’t be afraid to include it in your diet. As long as you keep your daily caloric intake the same, you can eat some more of the foods you love. Doing so often makes a diet much more enjoyable, and allows you to view diet as lifestyle choice, and not a quick fix to your problems.
Finally, if you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau, don’t let it discourage you. Weight loss plateaus can often lead to people deciding that whatever they were doing before just must not work anymore, which can cause them to go off the rails completely. Don’t let this happen to you. Stay disciplined, flexible, and committed to making your diet a lifestyle, and results you want will eventually come.