Moving Past the Weight Loss Plateau
A weight loss plateau occurs when you stop losing weight, despite continued efforts to reach your goal. Most often, when someone encounters a weight loss plateau, they are still exercising and following the same healthy eating habits that helped them reach their current weight level, but for some reason they are no longer losing weight at the same pace they were previously.
Though weight loss surgery reduces your risk of experiencing many of the obstacles you may have encountered in previous weight loss programs, it is still possible for your weight loss efforts to reach a temporary standstill.
A weight loss plateau is an opportunity to reevaluate healthy habits and consider ways that you can push yourself past the standstill to continue towards your goal.
What causes Weight Loss Plateaus?
As you lose weight, your body will go through a collection of changes. One of these changes happens within your metabolism. As you lose muscle, your metabolism slows. This causes you to burn fewer calories than you may have previously, despite any change in your perceived intensity level.
The level of calories you need in order to maintain your weight level will change as you lose weight, meaning that to keep your current weight, you’ll need fewer calories and more exercise than before.
A weight loss plateau may also happen as a result of:
- Relaxed dietary habits
- Lower intensity or less frequent workouts
- Reduced sleep
Once you reach a plateau, maintaining the same dietary and exercise habits will help you to manage the weight level you’ve reached thus far, but won’t help you lose any more weight. To continue losing weight, things need to change.
Pushing Past the Plateau
Don’t give up on your weight loss goals just because the scale isn’t budging. A weight loss plateau is something that you can expect and plan for. There are positive strategies and habits that you can keep in mind to push past a plateau as needed.
You can break past a weight loss plateau by:
- Changing exercise patterns: If you’ve lost weight doing a lot of cardio, consider adding some resistance exercises or even light weight lifting into your routine.
- Increasing workout intensity / frequency: Consider what your current habits are and think of how you can turn it up a notch. This may mean working out five days a week instead of three, or spending an hour at the gym instead of 30 minutes.
- Focusing on dietary habits: Re-evaluate your food choices and eating habits, and make sure you haven’t allowed any unhealthy snacking behaviors back into your diet.
If you reach a plateau, consult your weight loss surgery center for support and guidance on what steps to take next. If you have a gastric band, tightening the band will often help in pushing past a plateau.