Weight Loss Plateau: 4 Important Questions to ask Yourself

Weight Loss Plateau

A weight loss plateau refers to a phase in your weight loss journey where, despite your continued efforts to lose weight through diet and exercise, your body experiences a period of little to no change in your body weight or measurements. In other words, your weight remains relatively stable, and you don’t see the progress you were achieving earlier in your weight loss efforts.

Weight loss plateaus can be frustrating and demotivating because they can make it seem like your hard work isn’t paying off. However, they are a common occurrence in weight loss journeys and can happen for various reasons, including changes in metabolism, hormonal fluctuations, and the body’s natural adaptation to a reduced calorie intake.

1. Have I Hit A Plateau?

> Weight Loss Plateau:

The most apparent sign of a plateau manifests when the numbers on the scale remain obstinately static for an extended period, typically spanning at least two to three weeks. This apparent stagnation is not merely your body’s whim but a result of intricate physiological mechanisms.


When you initiate a weight loss journey, your body diligently responds by shedding excess pounds. However, as you lose weight, your body’s composition changes, and it becomes more efficient at conserving energy. This adaptation, driven by evolutionary survival instincts, results in a reduced calorie expenditure. Hence, despite your continued efforts, the weight loss slows down, leading to the plateau.

> No Change in Measurements:

The persistence of identical body measurements, such as waist, hips, and chest, can be perplexing and disheartening. It begs the question: why doesn’t your hard work translate into visible changes?


The answer lies in the intricate balance of fat loss and muscle gain. When you embark on a fitness journey, you are not merely shedding fat; you are also building muscle. Muscle is denser than fat, and as you replace fat with lean muscle, your measurements may not significantly change. The scale might be deceiving, as it does not account for these important compositional changes.

> Lack of Progress Photos:

The visual transformation that once seemed so apparent in progress photos suddenly diminishes. What was once an inspiring journey captured in snapshots appears to have come to a standstill.


The plateau you encounter in your progress photos reflects the subtlety of physical changes that accompany a weight loss journey. The visual impact of fat loss may not always be immediate or linear. It takes time for the body to redistribute fat, sculpt muscle, and reveal the results of your hard work.

2. Why Am i Plateauing?

Understanding the reasons behind the weight loss plateau is crucial as it arms you with knowledge to navigate this challenging phase effectively.

> Caloric Adaptation:

As your body adapts to a lower calorie intake over time, it becomes more efficient at conserving energy, leading to the phenomenon of caloric adaptation. This adaptation is not an act of defiance; rather, it’s a remarkable survival mechanism.


When you first reduce your calorie intake, your body responds by utilizing stored fat for energy, leading to weight loss. However, as your weight decreases, your body requires fewer calories to sustain itself, creating a smaller calorie deficit. Consequently, weight loss slows down, and you encounter the plateau.

> Metabolic Rate:

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories your body needs at rest, plays a pivotal role in your weight loss journey. As you shed pounds, your BMR decreases because there is less mass to maintain. This means you burn fewer calories at rest, making it progressively harder to lose weight.


To counteract this natural occurrence, periodic adjustments to your calorie intake may be necessary. 

> Inadequate Calorie Deficit:

While you may have initially started your weight loss journey in a calorie deficit, as you lose weight, your calorie requirements also decrease. To maintain a calorie deficit and continue losing weight, you may need to reduce your calorie intake further.


Monitoring your calorie consumption with precision is essential during this phase. Pay meticulous attention to portion sizes and the types of foods you consume. Nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals while managing calorie intake are key.

> Underestimating Caloric Intake:

Occasionally, individuals underestimate the number of calories they consume. This miscalculation can sabotage weight loss efforts, as it leads to an inadvertent surplus of calories.


To counter this, meticulous food tracking is imperative. This should encompass not only your main meals but also snacks, beverages, and even the cooking oils you use. Awareness of the caloric content of your daily food choices is paramount.

3. WAIT A MINUTE . . .. . Did I Really Hit a Plateau?

Before embarking on the journey to break through your weight loss plateau, it is crucial to ensure that you have genuinely reached this phase. Sometimes, perceived plateaus may be a result of oversight or other factors.

> Accurate Food Tracking:

Accurate tracking of your food intake is the bedrock of effective weight management. If you suspect a plateau, revisit your food diary with meticulous attention to detail. Ensure that you account for every morsel that passes your lips, including snacks, condiments, and cooking oils.

> Mindful Snacking:

Even seemingly insignificant snacks can add up over time. Implement mindfulness techniques to curb impulsive eating and ensure that snacks align with your dietary goals.

> Workout Adherence:

A crucial aspect of the weight loss journey is maintaining consistency in your workout regimen. Skipping or slacking in your workouts can disrupt your progress. 


If, after thorough self-assessment and adherence to your diet and exercise plan, you have remained at a plateau for two to three weeks, it’s time to break through.


Breaking through a weight loss plateau is an intricate process that requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to adapt. In addition to the strategies mentioned earlier, consider these additional tactics:

> Sleep and Stress Management:

The interplay between sleep, stress, and weight management is profound. Inadequate sleep and chronic stress can hinder weight loss efforts. Research has shown that insufficient sleep can disrupt hormonal regulation, leading to increased appetite and reduced willpower to make healthy food choices. Stress, on the other hand, triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with weight gain.


Prioritising quality sleep and implementing stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, can be pivotal in breaking through plateaus. Ensuring a peaceful night’s rest and managing stress effectively can reset your physiological processes and reignite your weight loss journey.

> Dietary Changes:

Start lowering your calories on non workout days. This way you don’t take away from your non workout days and still have the energy to perform at high intensity.

> Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT):

NEAT refers to the energy expended during non-exercise activities, such as walking, standing, and fidgeting. This seemingly mundane aspect of daily life can significantly impact your calorie expenditure.


Simple changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing at your desk, or incorporating short walks throughout the day can contribute to calorie burning and help break through the plateau.

> Resistance Training and Muscle Building:

Resistance training, also known as strength or weight training, is an often-overlooked aspect of weight loss that can play a crucial role in overcoming plateaus. When you engage in resistance training, you build lean muscle mass.


Muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain than fat tissue. As you build muscle, your body’s calorie-burning capacity increases, both at rest and during physical activity. Additionally, resistance training can enhance your metabolic rate, making it easier to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.


Moreover, resistance training provides the opportunity to sculpt your body and improve your overall physique, which may not be reflected solely on the scale. Celebrate the aesthetic and functional benefits of muscle gain, even if it temporarily masks your weight loss progress.

Final thoughts,

The weight loss plateau is not a dead end; it is a pivotal phase in your journey toward a healthier, fitter you. It is a testament to your determination and resilience. With the knowledge of the science behind plateaus and the strategies outlined here, you possess the tools to transcend these challenges.

Remember that your journey is unique, and progress may not always unfold in a linear fashion. Celebrate every small victory along the way, whether it’s a reduction in body measurements, a boost in energy levels, or enhanced well-being.

Seek professional guidance when needed, maintain a steadfast commitment to your goals, and approach your weight loss journey as a holistic endeavour that encompasses not only physical transformation but also mental and emotional growth.

Embrace the voyage, navigate the plateau, and continue onward with determination and confidence. Your success in breaking through the weight loss plateau awaits.

If you have more questions or would like a guided step by step approach with one of our coaches, click here. Check out some of our clients sucessess here.



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