Q:I’ve been following a low calorie diet and exercising for over a year now. Everything was going great as I lost 30 lbs (YEA!) steadily over the last year, but the last two months I haven’t lost a pound. I’ve been staying on course with my meals and haven’t skipped a workout. How do I get over this weight loss plateau?
A: First of all, great job on losing all of that weight and sticking to your diet and exercise plan!
Now, hitting a weight loss plateau is normal. It happens to all of us, so please don’t get discouraged. The key here is identifying why you may have hit a plateau and how to overcome it!
Weight Loss Plateau Causes
The main reason you are experiencing a weight loss plateau is because you stopped burning more calories than you were taking in. Lets explore the various reasons and figure out how you can overcome each.
You’re Not Burning Enough Calories
You could be doing everything right, exercising regularly and never skipping workouts, but because you were hauling around 30 lbs less than before, you’re not burning as many calories.
Solution: Exercise longer and/or harder to burn more calories. Make gradual increases and monitor your weight.
You’re Consuming More Calories Than You Think
It’s easy to overindulge, even if you don’t realize you’re doing it. You may be following the same diet plan, but if you let yourself go on the weekends, for example, you could be consuming more than enough calories to ruin your diet for the rest of the week! Yes, the weekend can ruin your diet.
Not only can weekends ruin your diet, but studies show people tend to grossly underestimate the amount of calories they take in.
Solution: Keep a food journal of your caloric intake for a few weeks to get an accurate count of the amount of calories you are consuming. The results might surprise you!
You’re Putting Too Much Faith In The Scale
The scale can be a great tool, but it doesn’t always tell the whole story! Perhaps, you added some resistance exercise to your routine which resulted in gaining muscle. You could effectively be transforming your body, but not losing weight. The scale can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle.
Solution: Look in the mirror. Can you tell a difference in the way you look? Are your clothes fitting better? Do you get compliments from friends on how you look? There could be more to the story than what the scale is telling you!
Other Reasons You May Not Be Losing Weight
There are a few diet and lifestyle changes that may need to be made if you’re not losing weight:
- Studies have shown that stress can hinder weight loss, and even lead to weight gain. If stress is an issue, follow these stress eating tips to get it under control.
- Try drinking more water to lose weight. Drinking more water has many health benefits, and may even lead to consuming less calories!
- Are you sleeping enough? During your sleep cycle, certain hormones are stimulated which control our feelings of hunger. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.