Has your weight loss ground to a halt? You have had some success and lost a good deal of weight, but now the weight loss has stopped, even though you are still following the same healthy eating and exercise guidelines? A weight loss plateau can be maddening, but it’s important to get past it if you hope to reach your goal weight. Here, we’ll go over some ways to break through a weight loss plateau.
Causes of a Plateau
First, to understand how to get past it, let’s look at what causes a weight loss plateau in the first place. When you first start losing weight, it may happen fairly quickly. The sudden reduction in the calories you consume and your increased activity from exercise will cause your body to release its stores of glycogen to get the energy it needs. As your body burns glycogen, it releases water, and that accounts for much of your initial weight loss.
Also, your muscles shrink a little during weight loss, which in turn decreases your metabolism. As your metabolism slows, so does your weight loss, thus leading to a plateau.
To work through the changes your body undergoes during weight loss and beat a plateau, you’ll need to alter what you’re doing a little. The ways you do this are fairly straightforward:
- Assess whether you are actually sticking to your plan—if not, refocus your efforts
- Cut your daily calorie intake by 200 calories (don’t go below 1,200 calories)
- Push yourself a little more during exercise (if you have had bariatric surgery, consult with your surgeon on safe ways to do this)
- Find ways to be active during the day, such as by taking the stairs or walking instead of driving
- Weigh and measure your portions to ensure accurate calorie counts
- Find healthy ways of dealing with stress (which can lead to diet slip ups) such as yoga or meditation
Ultimately, the key is to stay with it and keep pushing yourself a little more as you lose weight. In doing so, you keep your weight from plateauing once your body gets used to your current routine.
In some cases, diet and exercise aren’t enough. More extreme measures such as weight loss surgery may be necessary. Dr. Preeti Malladi and her staff will explain your options, tell you what to expect before and after surgery, and answer all of your questions.
If you’ve already had weight loss surgery, are following the eating and exercise guidelines strictly, and still can’t reach your weight loss goals, you may want to consult a bariatric surgeon. You may be a candidate for bariatric surgery revision. Dr. Malladi can help you determine whether these measures are right for you.