Dealing with a Weight Loss Plateau


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Nothing is more frustrating than when you feel like you’re doing everything right along your weight loss journey, but you just aren’t getting anywhere!  We call this a “weight loss plateau.”  Man, those are awful!  I remember weeks would go by, and I would be exercising and eating right, but I would not lose any weight.  I would scream “Why am I not losing any weight?!”

First of all, relax.  Hitting a weight loss plateau is perfectly normal.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t doing a great job!  Before you make big changes to your program, remember: FIRST THINGS FIRST.  Stop focusing on the glass-half-empty stuff, and make a mental list of the things you’ve already achieved.

  • Have you dropped a jeans or dress size?  Not yet?  Are your clothes fitting a little better?
  • Are you happier with your body when you look in the mirror and photos (even if you don’t think your body has changed at all)?
  • Are you sleeping a little better?
  • Has your self-esteem improved?
  • Is your energy level higher?

One thing’s for sure: you’re trying…you’re here reading this article, right now!  That means you’ve grabbed the bull by the horns, which is by far the hardest part (and it’s more than most people can say).  Great job!  If something’s wrong with your diet, you’ll figure it out and you’ll be losing weight in no time!

You may not need to make any changes.  Fact is, almost everyone experiences plateaus.  For me, just when I’m about to give up, I suddenly drop a bunch of weight.  It is the best feeling, and I am always SO glad I didn’t give up.

Sometimes, you may find that you need to change things up a bit – whether it’s increasing or varying your workouts, eating more calories, or getting out of a meal rut – to shock your body and jump start your weight loss again.

Here are a few questions to consider when you encounter a weight loss plateau:

  • Am I snacking too much in the evening, and adding more calories than I think?
  • Am I eating too many processed foods with hidden calories?
  • Am I eating enough protein?  Fiber?
  • Am I paying attention to serving sizes?  We Americans love to eat big meals, but eating just a little too much at each meal adds up!  Pay attention to your portion sizes.
  • Am I drinking enough water?  Sometimes, we think we’re hungry, but really, we’re just thirsty!
  • Am I drinking too many sugary or alcoholic beverages?  Don’t forget that alcohol has calories.  For example, when you add 1.5 ounces (a big shot) of Malibu rum to your Diet Coke, you add about 105 calories…!  We all have our indulgences, but you should at least be aware of the hidden calories.

Talk it over with a friend who you can be really honest with.  Your friend will soon be able to help you decide whether you’re cheating on your diet, on the one hand, or just experiencing a garden variety plateau on the other.

Kate Miller
Kate Miller

Kate Miller, mom of 5, is on a mission to stay fit and healthy. As HealthyWage's Community Manager, she's fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring success stories day after day. In 2012, Kate lost 50 pounds and documented most of her journey right here on the HealthyWage blog. Since then, she's had to learn the subtle intricacies of staying on track by mastering the daily ebb and flow (and parties and holidays and periods of extreme laziness) of life.

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