Hitting a weight loss plateau can be very frustrating. But you’re not alone.
While you might be working hard to lose weight, your body must work much harder to maintain energy consumption and production in balance.
The basic fact is, your body doesn’t want to lose weight. In reality, your attempts to burn more calories can gradually slow down the process.
If these fluctuations last for a month, and you have a hard time breaking through the weight loss plateau, you can easily follow these 10 tips that will help you get back on track and keep losing weight.
1. Control carbohydrate intake
Studies have confirmed that a low-carbohydrate diet is very effective for weight loss.
In fact, I’ve experienced the benefits first-hand.
Ever since I started a ketogenic/low-carb diet, I realized that losing weight can be so easy.
You don’t have to limit calories or do a lot of workouts every day, but rather simply eat well and eat real food.
Although calorie restriction is still a popular approach to weight loss, it is actually the most undesirable method. It is easy to cause metabolic disorders, and the plateau period will be quite long. As a result, you may lose confidence and start overeating.
The correct approach is to switch to a healthy low-carbohydrate diet.
There is no need to strictly control calories, just eat more good fats and proteins. Avoid junk foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates.
By doing this your body will slowly adjust the hormone levels and your weight will gradually drop. Even better, it will help improve your overall health and quality of life
2. Use the carb cycling method to break the plateau
The carb cycling method was invented by Dr. William D. Brink. It involves varying your carb intake on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
It facilitates fat loss and physical performance by helping you maintain your body weight while burning fat.
If you have the habit of exercising, this method will make it easier to lose fat and gain muscle.
For the seven-day period from Monday to Sunday, the carb cycle can be allocated as follows:
- low-carb day: 2 days
- medium-carb day: 3 days
- high-carb day: 2 days
This is just one way of eating.
If you want to lose weight quickly or break through the plateau, you must reduce your carbohydrate intake:
- low-carb day: 3 days
- medium-carb day： 2 days
- high-carb day： 1 day
- non-carb day： 1 day
If the aim is to gain muscle, you can adopt the following cycle instead:
- low-carb day: 1 day
- medium-carb day: 3 days
- high-carb day: 3 days
According to your goal of training, you may increase the amount of exercise on the high-carb days.
Everyone has a different lifestyle and a different physical condition. You should seek out various routines and see which one works best for you.
3. Change the intensity or frequency of exercise
As you lose weight, your metabolism will also slow down, which makes continuous weight loss very difficult.
If you have been doing aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, etc., and entered the plateau, you can try to add strength and resistance training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your daily workout.
In addition, changing the frequency of exercise will also have a good effect.
For example, instead of doing aerobic exercise such as running for one or two hours a day, do it every other day.
These strategies can help increase your metabolism and get you back on track to weight loss.
4. Track your calories intake
When weight loss reaches a certain stage, especially after initial success, most people will begin to sit back and take it easy on those junk foods or reward themselves with some treats.
At this time, it is very easy to overdose and thus slow down your weight loss progress or even abandon the previous efforts.
If your daily intake of calories far exceeds the body’s needs, those calories that are not consumed will be stored as fat and accumulate in your body.
The best way to combat this is to carefully “track” what you eat, and record calorie intake as well as your body’s consumption.
Using a weight management app can be a good idea.
5. Increase dietary fiber intake
Fiber is a very important component of a healthy diet. Most foods that contain fiber are also good sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which offer many health benefits.
Eating more fiber-rich vegetables and fruits or taking dietary supplements can increase intestinal health and help you through the plateau.
Soluble fibers, in particular, can slow down the speed of food through the digestive tract and prolong your satiety.
Some good sources of soluble fiber include:
- oats, lemons, citrus, apples, pineapples, grapes, apricots, bananas, cabbage, peas, broad beans, etc.
The best way to consume fiber is to include vegetables in your everyday meals.
6. Get enough sleep
Insufficient sleep is also one of the major factors that can extend the weight loss plateau.
Have you ever had the experience where, when you can’t sleep at night or stay up late to study, work, or play games, you always want to reach out for food even though you’re not hungry?
This is because the lack of sleep reduces the metabolic rate and changes hormone levels, thereby increasing appetite and fat storage.
A study found that, for 5 consecutive nights, healthy adults who only slept for 4 hours a night had an average reduction in resting metabolic rate of 2.6%. It returned to the baseline level after 12 hours of sleep.
To successfully lose weight and increase your overall health, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
7. Move more, sit less
Do a bit more physical activity and spend a little less time sitting comes with many health benefits.
Tasks like doing housework, babysitting, walking, shopping, etc. can all help you increase your metabolic rate.
One study found that a person’s metabolic rate increased by an average of 54% when sitting as opposed to lie still, and up to 94% when standing or walking back and forth.
Another study found that people who often stand instead of sitting during working hours burned nearly 200 more calories on average.
Therefore, to break through the weight loss plateau as soon as possible, it is best to increase the number of physical activities every day to help improve the metabolic rate and promote weight loss.
You can try to do these:
- ride a bike instead of driving a car
- take the stairs instead of taking the elevator
- stand or move around when working, and never sit still
- at home, take cooking and cleaning as a way to lose weight
- after dinner, go out for a walk, which helps your digestion and burning fat.
8. Drink plenty of water, black coffee, and green tea
Some beverages can help you lose weight.
A study found that drinking 500 ml of water can increase the metabolic rate by 24-30% for 1.5 hours.
Drinking water before meals can especially help reduce food consumption.
Coffee and tea are also effective for weight loss. They usually contain caffeine, which has been shown to increase both fat burning and the metabolic rate by 13%.
Green tea contains an antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which helps increase fat burning by 17% [*].
However, be sure to not add sugar or other caloric ingredients to these beverages. Start consuming black coffee without creamer or sugar.
9. Manage stress
When you are stressed or anxious, you will naturally eat more to appease your nerves. The foods consumed during these times are often dubbed ”comfort food”, which makes you feel better after eating.
Unfortunately, comfort food mostly consists of sweets and other junk food, despite the fact that they can bring short-term pleasure.
In addition, comfort foods are among the most addictive foods out there. Eating them unconsciously can eventually lead to weight gain and also increase cortisol levels in the body.
Cortisol is also called “stress hormone”. It helps your body respond to stress and increases abdominal fat storage.
This effect is particularly noticeable for women.
Therefore, learning to control and regulate emotions and reduce mental stress can reduce cortisol levels, thereby helping to control weight and promote weight loss.
Here are 10 ways to manage stress:
- relax your muscles
- deep breathing
- eat well
- listen to music
- take a walk
- talk to someone
- meditation or yoga
- take a bubble bath
10. Try intermittent fasting
This is one of my favorite ways to lose weight, and it has been working great for me.
I have lost 24 pounds in five months. Furthermore, it has helped me successfully overcome weight loss plateau.
More importantly, my weight has never rebounded, and it continues to decrease.
Compared with all the weight loss methods I have tried in the past, the ketogenic/low-carb diet combined with intermittent fasting is the healthiest, easiest one to stick to and the one with the best result.
Here are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
- The 16/8 method: It involves fasting every day for 14–16 hours and limiting your daily eating window to 8–10 hours. You can fit in two, three, or more meals within the eating window.
- The 5:2 diet: It involves eating normally 5 days of the week while limiting your calorie intake to 500–600 for 2 days of the week.
- Eat Stop Eat: It involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week.
- Alternate-day fasting: You fast every other day. This method comes in several different versions. Some of them allow about 500 calories during the days of fasting.
- The Warrior Diet: This involves eating small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables during the day and having a large meal at night.
- Spontaneous meal skipping: You can simply skip meals from time to time, such as when you don’t feel hungry or are too busy to cook and eat.
There are many questions about weight loss plateau. For most people who are still struggling on the path to weight loss, finding the right method is very important.
How do we break through the plateau and keep losing weight?
I encourage you to follow the methods described above. Don’t lose faith and don’t give up. You will succeed!