How to break through a weight-loss plateau?

Your weight-loss efforts can stall beyond a point! But know how to break through a weight-loss plateau and be steady in your journey.
If you are making all efforts to lose weight, but your weight has stalled, then you must have a hit a weight-loss plateau! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Purvi Kalra Published: 7 Jun 2024, 03:45 pm IST
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When you set out to achieve weight-loss goals, there may come a time when you will be doing all that it takes – regular exercise, reducing calorie intake, adopting healthy habits, et al. And yet, after a phase of initial weight loss, the needle of the weighing scale just won’t budge from its place! You may feel frustrated and flustered while wondering, “Why am I not losing more weight?” or “Why is my body stuck at a certain weight?”. Sometimes, it simply means you may have hit a weight-loss plateau – a phase when you stop losing weight for an extended period. It may help you to know why it happens and how to break a weight-loss plateau.

Do not feel discouraged, for this can be a common concern for people on their weight-loss journey. Your weight loss can slow down or even stall. By understanding how to break a weight loss plateau, you can respond to this wisely and not go back to those unhealthy habits that you have may left behind!

What is a weight-loss plateau?

A weight-loss plateau happens when your weight stops changing or losing. This may happen to anyone who is trying to shed weight. People are left surprised when it hits them because most people continue to follow healthy eating habits and indulge in regular workout. And still, the weight loss stalls.

What causes a weight-loss plateau?

The reasons of weight-loss plateau may range from a change in metabolism and reduced calorie needs, muscle loss, reduction in water weight, and more. This can occur because as you lose weight, your body needs fewer calories to function, and so it starts burning fewer calories. You might also lose muscle, which can lower your metabolism. Sometimes, without realising it, you may even eat a bit more or move a bit less than you did at the start of your weight-loss journey. Additionally, as you struggle to lose weight, your body tries to hold onto its current weight by increasing hunger and reducing how many calories it burns. All these factors combined, can slow down or stop your weight loss!

9 simple tips to help you break a weight-loss plateau. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

How to break a weight-loss plateau?

While it is frustrating to see your weighing machine showing the same number every day despite your vigorous efforts, you can still learn to break a weight-loss plateau! Here are some effective tips, as suggested by clinical dietitian Saima Shaikh.

1. Reduce your carbohydrate intake

There is scientific evidence that suggests that consuming a low-carb diet may help reduce your hunger pangs. This means that you might subconsciously start eating less, making it seamless for you to lose weight without experiencing hunger or discomfort.

2. Start exercising more or increase its intensity

Weight loss can slow down your metabolic rate. With declining weight, your metabolic rate further declines, making it all the more harder to lose weight.
However, exercise can help counteract this effect. As per research, when you are aiming to lose weight, fat and belly fat, aerobic training shows more effective results than resistance training. Having said that, one cannot deny the role of resistance training in offering an array of health benefits. A balanced combination of the two can accelerate your weight-loss efforts.

Also, if you are already indulging in workout, doing it for an extra 1-2 days per week or increasing the intensity of your workout, can also enhance your metabolic rate.

3. Check your habits

When you have hit a weight-loss plateau, it is wise to reassess your habits like your food or activity records. Make sure you are not letting loose when it comes to adhering to your rules. For instance, check that after seeing your weight getting shed, you have not started consuming larger portions or consuming processed foods or reducing your exercise intensity or frequency. Following on-and-off rules about your weight loss can contribute to a plateau. Also, make sure to reduce or avoid alcohol!

4. Think beyond your gym

Often we stick to strength training or resistance training when it comes to our weight loss goals. Try to incorporate more general physical activity into your day. For instance, taking the stairs more, walking to your nearby stores more instead of using your cars, or doing vigorous home cleaning on your own. Any physical activity will aid in burning more calories.

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Also read: My weight loss journey took a hit, but playing badminton kick-started it again

5. Protein is still a must

If your weight management efforts have stalled, getting more protein might help. Firstly, protein increases your body’s metabolism more than fat or carbs. This happens due to an increase in metabolism owing to the digestion of food. As per Nutrition Journal, the digestion of protein increases calorie burning by 20-30 percent. Secondly, protein stimulates the secretion of hormones in the body that help curb your appetite while leaving you feeling satiated for a long.

Make sure that you add more protein in your diet and not omit that while dealing with a weight-loss plateau. Image courtesy: Freepik

6. Stress management

Stress can halt your weight loss efforts. Stress leads to emotional eating and triggers food cravings. Alongside, stress leads to a spike in cortisol levels in the body. This stress hormone surely helps your body respond to stress, but it can also increase belly fat storage. Too much production of cortisol can hinder your weight-loss efforts, but stress management can lead to improved weight-loss efforts, as per the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry.

Click here to know more about the link between cortisol and weight gain.

7. Grab plenty of sleep

Getting a good night’s quality sleep is vital for overall well-being. As per Nutrients Journal, not getting ample sleep can lead to weight gain by reducing your metabolism and changing your hormone levels increasing appetite and fat storage. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to stay healthy, mentally and physically.

8. Pick vegetables for every meal

Vegetables are good for weight loss. Most vegetables have low calories and carbs, are high in fibre and are a powerhouse of essential nutrients. As per Nutrients Journal, diets that have more vegetables tend to show the best weight loss results. Veggies like bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, avocados, cauliflower, green beans, and lettuce can be your best picks.

9. Eat a fiber-rich diet

Adding more fiber to your diet may aid in breaking through a weight-loss plateau. This is more relevant for soluble fiber which dissolves in water or liquid. The movement of food slows down through your digestive tract by consuming soluble fiber, which will leave you feeling fuller for a long. Alongside, fiber can help in weight loss by lowering the number of calories absorbed from other foods. Some of the fiber-rich foods you can eat include strawberries, avocados, oats, apples, raspberries, bananas, carrots, beets, broccoli, or sprouts.

Purvi Kalra

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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