How to get through a weight loss plateau

Often when people start eating healthy and trying to lose weight, the kgs fall off quickly at first. This is great, as it motivates us to keep going, and reinforces that what we’re doing is working. However, it is incredibly common to encounter a weight loss plateau on your journey, regardless of how careful and prepared you are. While frustrating, it only takes a few small changes to kick start the weight loss again. Here’s some ways to get your weight loss journey back on track:

Reassess your calorie needs

As you lose weight, fat loss is also accompanied by a varying degree of muscle loss. Muscle helps keep the rate at which you burn calories (metabolism) up. So, as you lose weight, your metabolism declines, causing you to burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight.

A reduced metabolism, due to muscle loss, contributes to a weight loss plateau because you are burning less energy. At this point, it may be worth reassessing your energy needs. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, your body and muscle mass will be smaller and thus will need less fuel to get by. Dropping your calories slightly (though we don’t recommend ever going below 1200 calories per day) might just do the trick.

Change up your workouts

Ask yourself, how long have you been doing the same workouts or style of training? Changing up your workout routine is a great way to shake things up and give your body a new challenge to adapt to. Try a new class at the gym, add some stairs into your daily walk or give interval training a go. If you don’t already, we can’t recommend enough adding strength training to your routine. This can be done in the gym or at home (or in the park), with body weight or with added weight. Building muscle will help combat a weight loss plateau by maintaining or increasing metabolism, like we previously mentioned, and will mean you likely won’t need to drop your calories lower than they currently are (woohoo!).

Weigh yourself correctly

You may also need to consider whether you are seeing normal daily fluctuations on the scales, or actual weight loss. Our bodies can easily weigh 2–3kg more at the end of the day then first thing in the morning. This is due to food and fluid that we consume, and normal body processes. Therefore, it is best to only weigh yourself first thing in the morning, preferably after you’ve been toilet. We also recommend only weighing yourself once per week, or even once per fortnight. If you can, ask your doctor or personal trainer to measure your body fat percentage changes, as this is a better measure of health than your overall weight.

Finally, don’t forget your why. It is much easier to stick to a health or weight loss journey and get over a weight loss plateau when you have a very clear idea of why you’re doing it. Write down your ‘why’ and stick it on your mirror, or even set it as a reminder in your phone for a daily pep talk. You may be faced with barriers and hiccups on your journey to health, but the long-term benefits are huge — don’t forget your why!

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