Surviving the Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: November 17, 2014

You’ve been doing everything right. You’ve finally gotten your before-work gym routine down and you’ve traded the mid-day bag of potato chips for apple slices. But suddenly the scale’s needle won’t budge. Have you reached a weight loss plateau?

When you stop losing weight despite consistent dieting and exercise efforts, it can be frustrating, but it is a challenge faced by nearly everyone who has ever tried to lose weight. When first adopting healthy habits, it may seem like the pounds drop off more easily. This is because when calories are restricted, the body begins shedding large amounts of water – which often results in initial rapid weight loss. However, once you begin losing muscle, your body puts the brakes on your metabolism in order to maintain a balanced state, also known as homeostasis. Once this new equilibrium is established, you may need to change your game plan to see the results you’re used to.

If your weight loss efforts have stalled, here are four tips for scaling your personal plateau and maintaining momentum to reach your weight loss goal.

1. Determine if you are actually experiencing a plateau. Examine your strategies and if you have been sticking to them. Be honest with yourself, but don’t get discouraged. Try on your clothing. Does it feel looser? It’s a good idea to take measurements at the widest part of your upper arms, legs, waist, and hips at the start of a weight and exercise regimen to get a baseline, and then to retake the measurements again to gauge progress in meeting your goals. Don’t step on the scale or whip out the measuring tape everyday – give yourself time to truly track your progress.

2. Reassess your game plan. If you’ve determined that you haven’t let your healthy habits slide but your progress is at a standstill, then it’s time to boost your health regimen by either cutting more calories, revving up your workout, or both.

  • Take a look at your eating habits. Consider cutting your daily calorie intake by 200 or any number you feel is realistic and sustainable. Be sure to stay above 1200 calories a day; dropping below this benchmark could make you feel hungrier and encourage overeating.
  • Try increasing your physical activity time by 15 to 30 minutes a day. Resistance or weight training can also supercharge your workout, as building muscle mass will help you burn more calories.

3. Remember “slow and steady wins the race.” Studies have shown that those who lose weight slowly and gradually tend to keep it off in the long run. Don’t approach your weight loss endeavors with a diet or crash fitness plan. If you can build beneficial habits into your daily routines, then you’ll develop a healthy lifestyle that will allow you to reach your weight loss goal – and maintain it in the future. In the meantime, keep reminding yourself that even losing a small amount of excess weight is making an improvement in your health.

4. Seek out support. If you just can’t seem to get past this setback, it may be time to consult with your primary care provider to discuss other tactics you can try and to rule out a medical problem. During this appointment, you may also want to revisit your weight loss goal to ensure it is healthy and attainable.

A health coach can also be a beneficial resource in your weight loss journey. Here at BeneFIT Corporate Wellness, our Health & Wellness Coaches can help you to set safe, realistic goals, offer encouragement, keep you focused, point out additional strategies and resources, and assist in developing a plan that will lead to you feeling healthy and happy. To learn more about health coaching, please contact us.

To adopt more weight loss strategies, check out our Weight Management resources. Follow us on Facebook to receive tips from wellness experts and to keep your health top of mind.

The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of your health care provider. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to your health care provider.


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