7 Ways to Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau

by in Diets & Weight Loss, September 21, 2012

Your weight loss journey began with the pounds melting away. Then one day BOOM, you’ve entered a weight loss plateau and can’t lose another pound. The worst thing to do is give up. Instead follow our tips to help you start losing again.

What’s a Weight Loss Plateau?
During the first week or so of a new weight loss plan, you’ll often find that you’re losing weight at a quick rate. This happens due to a combo of cutting calories, increasing exercise and water weight loss. Once your body becomes accustomed to the changes and settles into a new equilibrium, it needs fewer calories to accomplish the same activities. In order to get your body to continue to lose weight, you don’t want to slash calories to the max. Instead, you need to examine the nitty gritty details of your daily life and activities to see where small changes can be made. Here are 7 places to start.

#1: Measure and Weigh
I often see food records that are inaccurate. You think you ate one serving or  four ounces of meat when in reality it’s much more. Studies also reveal that most folks underestimate how much they really eat. Use a simple food scale and keep your measuring spoons and cups handy.

#2: Nibbling Counts!
If you like to grab a few fries from your kid’s plate or a handful of gummy candy from your co-workers stash—those all count. Slashing those extra calories can really make a difference in your weight loss efforts.

#3: Rev Up Your Workout
You want to increase your workout in small increments—so if you’ve been walking for 30 minutes several days a week, add 10 to 15 minutes to your exercise time. You can also increase the intensity by changing a walk into a brisk walk or light jog.

#4: Keep a Log
Although food diaries take a lot of effort, this is the time where they can really come in handy. It’s also important to make sure you keep very exact records so you can really pinpoint trigger foods, times of the day where you run to the vending machine or other types of habits that you can tackle.

#5: Keep It Reasonable
I’ve seen clients become so frustrated with weight loss plateaus that they severely restrict calories and go overboard with exercise. Once you restrict calories below 1,200 calories per day, it becomes unhealthy and the body starts to think that you are in “starvation mode.” You want to lose weight in a healthy way, by creating habits and eating patterns that you can uphold over time.

#6: Keep a Positive Attitude
Many folks become depressed and discouraged when the weight loss plateau lasts longer than expected. They end up regaining the weight that took a lot of hard work to lose. It’s very important to keep your spirits up and move forward with a positive attitude.

#7: See a Registered Dietitian
If you’re becoming frustrated and are unsure of your next steps, a registered dietitian can help. They’re trained to look at a wide variety of factors including your food and lifestyle habits, medical and family history. You can find a registered dietitian near you by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

TELL US: Have you ever experienced a weight loss plateau? How did you overcome it?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian , consultant and owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition, Inc., who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (1,257)

  1. @menard2530 says:

    I am currently in a weight loss plateau and looking for ways to tackle it so thank you for this post. I've cut liquor from my diet altogether for the last two weeks and hope to continue that because I have a pretty good feeling that that was where a lot of my problems lie. So I'll continue my workout regimen and using my daily food diary (My Fitness Program dot com) and see where that takes me. Also I should probably measure – that's a great tip. I haven't done that in weeks and they may reveal some pleasing numbers :)
    Thanks for the post! Really helpful information!

  2. Katie says:

    I have a food blog of all the healthy recipes I cook and eat from Weight Watchers and South Beach. It has all the points values and reviews and commentary of all the recipes I cook. You can visit my website @ http://www.katieinthekitchenherethere.blogspot.com.

    Let me know what you think.

  3. bill deal says:

    Make that "crap" NOT "crape " ….

  4. You need to see this video. It is the key to finally losing weight and keeping it off.

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  7. Linda O'Keefe says:

    I have always excerised and eaten very healthy. Now in my early 50's noticed that weight starting to creep up. I decided to give up all meats (vegetarian); been two years and have never felt better. In the beginning I lost a little too much weight while learning about what kind of foods to eat. I've experimented with lots of beans, pastas and veggies. Have found all kinds of wonderful healthy foods that I love. Had my physical a couple of months ago…. Dr is amazed with my progress. Also bumped up my gym routine, now spin 3 days a week, stairmaster 2 days; 6 days of strength training. Another addition has been to add Alive vitimans and green coffee beans. I drink the Starbuck Green coffee (melon) every day. Lots of water too. I also started taking green coffee tablets which have really help boost my metabolism. Svetol Green Coffee Gold ( (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009EPIMCU), this is the best kind I've found. Hope this info helps someone else troubled by the mid-life slowdow.

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