The most common New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to lose weight.
Did you recently lose weight through diet and exercise, but lately the scale won’t seem to budge?
You’ve hit a weight loss plateau.
Want to learn how to get past it? Keep reading for tips to hurdle through it and achieve your weight goal.
Why Do We Hit a Weight Loss Plateau?
Maybe you cut back on fast food and late night snacks, and you found that the weight started coming off immediately. However, after a while, you see the scale stopped going down.
Now, you’re still eating and exercising the same as when you started losing weight, but you can’t seem to lose any more weight.
This happens due to adaptive thermogenesis. When you lose weight by reducing calorie intake, your body goes into starvation mode after a while. It responds by slowing your metabolism to conserve energy.
However, your body doesn’t know that you’re actually not starving. You have to kick it back into normal mode by making a few changes.
What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau
Ready to reach your goal weight? Here are tips for going past your weight loss plateau.
Watch Your Calories
Before, all you had to do was cut back on late-night visits to the kitchen. Now, you have to get serious about your calorie intake if you want to shed the weight.
You don’t need to cut back drastically–that can make your body slow down your metabolism even more.
Try cutting back about 100-200 calories at first. See if you start losing weight from that.
To do this, you’re going to have to keep track of everything you eat. You can have a food journal to track everything. Or, you can log everything into your phone through fitness apps.
What You Eat Matters
In addition to cutting back calories, you also need to watch what you’re eating.
Is a calorie a calorie? Maybe–scientifically the answer is yes. However, in terms of satiating your hunger, not all calories are created equal.
Think about dinner tomorrow. What if you swapped your 200 calories of quinoa with 200 calories of ice cream?
Which food item do you think would leave you feeling full, and which would leave you wanting more of a sugar kick?
Make sure your diet includes foods with protein to help with cravings and weight loss. Good sources of protein include:
- Plain low-fat yogurt
- Lean meats
If you’re cutting back on calories, make sure you’re getting enough fibre throughout the day. Fibre, like protein, can help you feel full.
The best high-fibre foods include:
Drinking enough water can help you get through your weight loss plateau. In fact, a 2016 study in the Annals of Family Medicine revealed a connection between inadequate hydration and a higher BMI.
The study suggested that staying hydrated should be an important part of our weight management.
This doesn’t mean you should start chugging water–especially if you’re already hydrated. However, if you feel that you’re dehydrated on some days, you should make sure to get enough water.
Water can help curb your hunger. In fact, research shows that people who drink two glasses of water three times a day before eating were able to lose more weight.
However, it is possible to drink too much water. Your urine colour can tell you if you need to drink more water.
Your urine should be pale yellow. If it’s dark yellow, you need to hydrate. If it’s clear, it’s too much water.
Change Up Your Workout Routine
Are you doing the same exact workouts since when you started losing weight? It’s time to up your game.
Maybe you’ve been doing the same morning jog every day. It’s become a comfortable routine now. If that’s the case, it’s time to push your workout and make it more intense.
Try a new workout. If you usually run on a treadmill, take your workout outdoors.
You can try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Doing HIIT workouts is when you alternate between short, intense intervals and longer, less intense intervals. HIIT workouts can help you burn more calories because you’re exercising at a stronger intensity.
Are you only doing cardio workouts? You should add strength training to your workout routine as well.
Cardio workouts help you lose more calories per workout. However, strength training builds muscle, and muscle burns more fat.
Building muscle can help increase your metabolism and help you lose weight overall. In fact, a study showed that strength training increased the resting metabolic rate of participants by 7%.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep at night? It could be an obstacle for your weight loss.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it affects the activity in your brain’s frontal lobe. This is the part of your brain that makes decisions and controls impulses.
You might be tempted to have something sweet for breakfast instead of your usual oatmeal. Then, by lunch, you’re starving, so end up overeating.
This sets you up for a day of poor food choices. You might also skip your morning run because you wanted to get extra sleep.
What’s more, research shows just one night of sleep deprivation led participants to consume more calories the day after. These results suggest that poor sleep is linked to obesity.
Final Advice If You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau
If you tried the above tips, but you still can’t get past your weight loss plateau, you might want to consult with your doctor. Hormone imbalances can also cause a weight loss plateau, and the only way to know for sure is to see your doctor.
Want more weight loss and health tips? Check out more articles in our Weight Loss blog.