Before you can pack up on muscles, you first have to shed your excess weight. But what if you suddenly hit a slump? A plateau where your progress takes a screeching halt? Knowing how to break a weight loss plateau fast should save you from the frustration.
It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate over time. However, if your fat loss stopped, there is something wrong with your routine.
You can exercise, go on a diet, and take whey isolates. Still, your progress is on a stand-still. This is known as plateaus.
Why do weight loss plateaus happen?
Weight loss plateaus happen when your routines are no longer sufficient to sustain the intensity your fat loss needs. Aside from this, other internal factors may come into play. Hormonal imbalances, metabolic problems, and other health conditions can also interfere with your weight loss.
A rapid drop on your weight is normal on the first few days or weeks once you start a weight loss plan. Your body experiences a unique change through cutting calories and subjecting the muscles to exercise.
At this point, your body releases stored glycogen. This type of carbohydrate is partly made up of water. When you burn glycogen, part of the weight you lose is water weight. The weight loss progress is temporary.
For some, they tend to lose muscles while losing fat. And this is where the risk of plateaus takes place.
Muscles are your fat incinerators. If you keep losing it along the way, you will burn fewer calories and your body will soon experience a stall in weight loss even if you still have excess fats.
This will slow down your metabolism that will directly affect all the processes in your body involved in the weight loss process.
From knowing how to change workout routine to avoid plateau and revamp your diet, you can make use of some tips.
In this video, Matty Fusaro tells us why plateaus happen and how you can break it:
15 Ways to Break-Free from Plateaus
Are you experiencing a plateau? Here are some ways to break free from the slump:
1. Time to reassess your calorie intake
It’s easy to be overconfident when you’re losing pound after pound. But if you start to experience a plateau, the first step is to reassess your eating habits.
It’s possible that you lost count of your calorie intake and you’re ingesting more of what you’re supposed to consume. If this is the cause of your plateau, the good news is that it’s very easy to fix.
We suggest that you take a metabolic test so you’ll know how much calories your body burns at rest. Based on the result, you will know how much calories you need to cut to jumpstart your fat loss engine once again.
2. Reduce your salt intake
Is the scale yielding more pounds than what you expected? Even if you’re on top of your calorie intake, there’s one culprit left unnoticed: salt.
Consuming sodium-packed food items will result in bloating and water retention. As much as water weight sabotages your progress, it’s still a problem that you need to solve.
But hey, don’t blame the salt shaker. The American Heart Association found out that around 75% of the American salt consumption comes from processed food items.
You can easily reduce salt intake by ditching processed food items like canned soups and instant noodles. Still, knowing how to break a weight loss plateau fast doesn’t mean going cold turkey with flavoring.
3. Chomp more fiber
Our gut can hold pounds of solid waste due to poor digestion. If you suspect that you have the unnecessary bloat, add more fiber in your diet.
Simply add leafy greens on every meal. This is good for your digestion plus it’s very filling. Fiber is a good way to trick your appetite and reducing calorie content.
Adding 30 grams of high-fiber fruits and veggies into your diet each day will do your tummy a big favor. Aside from initiating weight loss, this will also reduce your risk for high blood pressure.
Instead of eating a cookie, why not swap it with some berries?
4. Eat regularly, don’t starve
It may sound counterintuitive, but yes, you have to eat regularly if you want to break free from your plateau. Skipping meals will only sabotage your metabolism and cause your weight loss progress to stop.
Although this is common advice, many people still think that skipping meals is an easy fix for reducing weight. Yes, it works, but just like your current situation, it will end up in plateaus.
The trick here is portioning your meals. Identify your calorie intake, plan your meals, and set 4 small meals throughout the day. With this, you can get through the whole day without starving.
5. Take your protein at the right time
Protein is king if you want to lose weight. But you’re not supposed to gulp down the whole 60 grams in one sitting. Spread the days’ protein allotment throughout your meals. Unless you’re working out, a pre and post-workout regimen should have more protein content.
The good thing with protein is it silences your hunger hormones. It’s also heavy on the stomach which tricks your body to feel that you’re still full.
If you’re aiming to consume 60 grams for the day, try spreading it in a 20-gram serving on every meal. You can use whey protein isolates or meat sources like chicken breast or Greek Yogurt
6. Increase the intensity of your workout
How’s your routine going? Are you doing the same intensity for months now? If so, your plateau is possibly due to your inability to subject your muscles to a new level of stress.
As you know, muscles grow when it’s strained and stressed. The repairing process will form new muscle fibers that will help burn calories.
If you’re running on the treadmill, try adding more incline to it. You can also lift weights and add more plates on the bar to keep plateaus at bay.
You should always challenge your muscles so it won’t get used to the stress it’s getting. With this, you can expect continuous muscle growth and fat burns.
7. Try interval training
If you’re not a fan of lifting weights, you can try interval training as a high-intensity workout. By accelerating your workout speed in a short span of time, your muscles will be forced to exert more effort. This is followed by a short resting period before a new set starts.
You can alternate between slow and fast speed as well as the duration of each set. The more repetitions for each set the better for your body. Knowing how to break a weight loss plateau fast includes intensity, lots of it.
Interval training is a guaranteed way to break a plateau if there are no other reasons behind the slump. If interval training proved to be inefficient, it’s best to rule out other possible reasons why you’re having plateaus.
8. Sleep better
It’s fine to have a little fete when you lose your target pounds for the month. But you may want to skip Netflix marathons at night.
Sleep deprivation won’t just make you feel lethargic in the morning. It will also wreak havoc in your metabolism.
The alarming fact is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 1 out of 3 Americans doesn’t catch enough Zzz.
If you’re guilty of doing this, it’s time to revamp your sleep hygiene and get enough shuteye in a normal schedule. Mind you, lack of sleep also releases stress hormones that contribute to fat storage.
9. Check if you have hormonal imbalances
So you’ve changed your diet and tried a new routine, but you’re still not losing weight. If this is the case, you may want to check your hormones.
Weight loss resistance or plateaus happen due to hormonal imbalances. Excess insulin is to blame here.
Insulin is a hormone that’s also dubbed as a fat fertilizer. It stores fats which defeats your fat-burning efforts.
You should also know that there are three other hormones that could be sabotaging your fitness goals. These are sex hormones, thyroid, and cortisol. Hypo and hyperthyroidism will directly affect your chance to lose weight.
10. Keep stress at bay
Stress is your biggest enemy when it comes to weight loss.
Excessive stress can push you to do high-calorie activities. It’s the culprit behind binge-eating, lack of sleep, poor metabolism, and cravings.
The production of cortisol also known as stress hormone is directly related to your metabolism. Like what I mentioned earlier, this is one of the hormones that can defeat your progress.
Managing your stress is key. Come up with a healthy sleeping habit, allow some time for relaxation, and avoid people that stress you out.
Remember, if you feel stressed, food isn’t the answer. Try taking a short walk or run and see what happens. It’s a great way on how to break a weight loss plateau fast.
11. Consider trying intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the popular practices in the weight loss industry. This involves an eating window and a non-eating window. The non-eating window is usually 16 hours long.
This may sound too difficult to practice but not if you choose the right window. For example, your eating window is from 10 am to 6 pm. This is manageable even if you are working regularly.
Intermittent fasting is said to promote fat loss by forcing your body to release the stored fats to sustain your energy needs. Studies also found that intermittent fasting can help in as much as a 7% decrease in waist circumference in a 24-week timeline.
You’re free to choose the eating window that suits you.
12. Move as much as possible
Aside from working out, maximize every opportunity that you can move. Answer the phone standing up, walk your way to the grocery instead of hailing a cab, take those short flight of stairs instead of using the elevator.
This will burn you extra calories during the day. Even if it’s just a few calories, it’s weight loss nonetheless. Such activities are good additions to your gym routines.
For people who can’t go to the gym, walking their way to work is a massive fat burner. Running is also a good choice. By finding ways to keeping moving, your calories won’t be stored as fats.
13. Don’t obsess with the scale
The answer to your weight loss plateau lies beyond the weighing scale. Obsessing on your daily weight will only cause more stress. As much as it’s important to track your losses, it’s not good to keep hitting the scale after each meal.
Just because the weighing scale isn’t tipping doesn’t mean you’re not losing fat. It’s possible that the fat is being replaced with muscles. Also, water retention is a notorious reason why some appear heavier by a few pounds.
It’s better to do the measuring monthly to gauge your progress more accurately. Also, check how your clothes fit. Has something changed? Work your way from there.
14. No alcoholic drinks, please
At first, you will start to see drastic results on your weight loss. It’s totally fine to celebrate, but try not to indulge on that big mug of beer.
A 4-ounce alcoholic drink contains 100 calories. It seems harmless, but mind you, many people rarely stick to one drink.
Alcoholic drinks don’t have any nutritional value. It’s just packed of liquid calories that will settle in your gut and cause water retention. That would be an endless cycle of plateau-progress-plateau if you don’t quit.
If you want a refreshing drink, try a whey isolate shake or organic iced tea instead.
15. Consider changing your workout
Most cases of weight loss plateaus can be fixed with a new workout.
Remember, you don’t have to specialize in one routine. For example, if you’re playing basketball to lose weight, switch to swimming or weightlifting some other time. Alternate different routines so your muscles will find it less predictable.
Diversifying your routines is also a good way to keep your weight loss plan exciting. Just make sure that it suits your body type and your goal. Knowing how to change workout routine to avoid plateau can be done with the help of a trainer.
Knowing how to break a weight loss plateau fast starts by quitting bad habits. Reassess your routines and manage your stress.
For more tips to break plateaus, here’s a video from the Mayo Clinic: