Real talk-hitting a weight loss plateau stinks (bigtime). You may feel like you are doing all the things to burn fat and shed weight, but just aren’t seeing the scale budge. Been there?
Unfortunately for many people trying to shed some pounds, after initial success, they’ll find themselves hitting a weight loss plateau. And, trust us, we get it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are putting in the effort but not seeing the results.
Ready for some good news? You don’t need to stay in the frustrating zone of weight loss plateau forever. We’re sharing everything you need to know about the causes of weight loss plateau, plus some shifts you can make to get back on track.
The Top 5 Causes of Weight Loss Plateau
#1 You’re Not Tracking Your Food Intake
While it may seem like a monotonous task, tracking your food intake is an important part of losing weight, and can help you move past a weight loss plateau. Often, we underestimate exactly how many calories we are consuming throughout the day. Plus, without the tracked data right in front of us, it is hard to know if we are getting the nutrients we need for our healthiest self. Whether you are eating out or snacking at home, it is vital to know exactly what is going into your body.
Let’s talk science here. Food tracking has more of an impact than you might think, and one study found that people who tracked their food intake on a daily basis lost approximately twice as much weight as those who didn’t. Yup, that’s twice as much weight! This is a simple hack that can help you move past that weight loss plateau and get back into the game in no time.
If you haven’t already done so (or if you’ve fallen off the wagon), be sure to start tracking your food intake each day. This will help you develop a more realistic picture of what you have been eating and better understand what you may need to add or subtract from your diet. Plus, it’s easier than ever to track your food intake with apps like MyFitnessPal and Cron-O-Meter. Gone are the days where you could only log your food intake with pen and paper. Now you can just grab your phone and log it on the go.
#2 You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
Life gets busy, and sometimes it is difficult to get everything done and find the time to get in enough Z’s. Sound familiar? Well, while you might be able to get by with fewer hours of sleep, this might actually be playing a huge part in your weight loss plateau. When you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolic rate can lower, and the hormones that are responsible for appetite and fat storage can be altered. This shift means that your weight loss process can stall.
In a perfect world, we should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night to help support a healthy weight. But, even increasing your sleep by an hour or two is going to benefit you physically and emotionally!
#3 You Need to Ramp Up Your Cardio
Unfortunately, your metabolic rate slows down as you lose weight. This means that, even if you are sticking with the weight loss plan you started with, it can become more difficult to continue shedding the pounds – hence the weight loss plateau. While this is understandably frustrating, it is possible to fight against the negative effects of a lower metabolic rate by ramping up the cardio. Find an effective cardio workout that you love and certainly don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the treadmill!
You can also start turning up the intensity a bit. Start moving your cardio workouts to your morning routine to help rev up your metabolism, and use that first thing in the morning energy you have to push yourself just a little more than you did yesterday. Plus, morning workouts have been shown to be more beneficial for weight loss than afternoon or evening workouts, so get that cardio fix in first thing.
Need some added motivation? Grab your FitOn app and get sweaty with a HIIT and shred workout with Danielle Pascente to burn some calories in less than 20 minutes. Or, burn some fat with Jeanette Jenkins by getting some kickboxing bootcamp in before you head out the door to work. With some morning cardio, you’ll be sure to push past that weight loss plateau in no time.
#4 You Are Stressing Too Much
Are you stressed about sticking to your workout plan, eating the right foods, and hitting your weight goals? Unfortunately, this might be doing more harm than good. Cortisol – AKA, the stress hormone we all love to hate – has been found to increase belly fat storage, particularly in women. One study also found that people who are exposed to stress for a longer period of time can experience weight gain.
If you are having a hard time keeping your stress levels in check, find an activity or practice that can help you cope. Yoga is a great option for busting stress – plus, it’ll help you get in some extra physical activity. Meditating, reading, engaging with a creative hobby, or any other mindfulness practice can also help you keep your stress levels in check. Stay on top of your fitness plan, but be sure to implement some regular practices to keep your stress levels low.
#5 You Are Skimping on Strength Training
There is a lot of emphasis on cardio when it comes to weight loss, but strength training is equally as important. With cardio, you lose fat, but you can also lose lean body mass with it. When resting, muscle burns more calories than fat, so you’ll want to maintain your muscle mass in order to keep your metabolism up and stay on track with your weight loss goals. In order to counteract the loss of lean body mass, it is important to fit in strength training at least a couple times a week to build up your muscle mass.
Stay On Track and Work Past Weight Loss Plateau
Don’t let weight loss plateau keep you down. Most people experience it – you just need to make the right shifts in your health plan to work past it. A stall in weight loss is completely normal, and by taking the right steps, you’ll be able to work past it and hit your weight loss goals.