How to Break Through a Plateau

Someone asked me the other day how to break through a plateau, so I wanted to offer some thoughts to those of you who are stuck.

But first, let me ask a question. Have you been consistent with your plan, or are you “stuck” because you’re not following your program and are looking for a way to lose weight fast?

A lot of people think they are stuck, but don’t follow their protocol 100% and then wonder why they aren’t getting results.

If this is you, then you have to decide if you just WANT to lose weight (you like the idea of it) or you’re COMMITTED to losing weight (meaning you’re willing to take action).

If you’re not sure how to lose weight, see my previous post here.

If you have 100% been following a program, and are not getting results, here are some things you can try to get the scale moving again:

Eat Less

Exercise More

I know you are probably rolling your eyes, but it’s true. Weight loss happens when we are in a caloric deficit. End of story.

Here are some questions I ask my clients when we are discussing plateaus:

Are you consistent with your plan? Y/N
Are you only eating mindfully according to your protocol and avoiding overeats? Y/N
Do you measure portions? Y/N
Are you accurate tracking your food? Y/N
Are you pre-planning your meals? Y/N
Are you sleeping adequately? Y/N
Are you drinking enough water in the day? Y/N

Look at the questions above, and if there is an area where you’ve honestly said no– then you know where you need to focus.

What about HIIT workouts? People think they need to do HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) workouts when they are on a plateau. HIIT workouts burn more calories than traditional steady-state workouts and often keep heart rate elevated longer after exercise, so there is an overall increased calorie burn in the day (i.e.- increased caloric deficit).

Here’s where people get it wrong- they incorporate a HIIT workout and then eat a pint of B&Js. No– just don’t. Swapping your walk on the treadmill for a HIIT workout could do the trick– adding in extra food BECAUSE you’re working out, not so much.

What about eating less? If you are maintaining your intake over a period of time or eating consistent portions of the same food, and haven’t seen the scale move in over two weeks, then it may be time to drop things down a smidge. If you are practicing intuitive eating, this may also mean allowing yourself to be hungry or eating to satisfaction, not stuffed.

People don’t like this answer, or will misinterpret to think they suddenly need to eat 1000 calories a day to lose weight– don’t be that person. Be realistic. Dropping a small portion, an extra snack, or an 100-200 calories a day from your total daily intake if you’re tracking should get the job done. Drop it, be consistent, check again in two weeks.

What about undereating? Believe it or not, this too may be a problem if you’ve been dieting for an extended period of time. If you’ve been undereating and can’t seem to lose weight on very low calories, then you may need to do a reverse diet to improve your metabolic capacity.

Be Honest. I used to stick to my diet perfectly during the week and then eat like a drunken sailor one day a week and would tell myself something was wrong with my metabolism because I didn’t get results. NOTHING was wrong with my metabolism, but binge eating and excessive overeating was keeping me stuck. Be honest with your eating habits.

If you’d like more information on how to break through your plateau, click here to schedule a solution session with me.