How Do You Break a Weight Loss Plateau? 22 Tips

Medically Reviewed on 3/24/2022
How Do You Break a Weight Loss Plateau
Hitting a weight loss plateau can be frustrating when you feel like you’re giving 100% but not making progress. Learn how to break through it with these 22 tips

Almost everyone faces the dreaded weight loss plateau in their fitness journey. You are giving 100%, but the scale is not budging, and you may start to wonder what you’re doing wrong. Hitting a weight loss plateau can be frustrating, but you can break through it with these 22 tips.

22 tips to break a weight loss plateau

  1. Cut down on carbs: Excessive carb intake can lead to fluid retention and weight gain. Avoid trying to meet most of your calorie requirements through carbs alone.
  2. Drink more water: Staying hydrated helps boost your metabolism and curb hunger. Drink more water and unsweetened, zero-calorie drinks.
  3. Manage stress: Stress can trigger unhealthy eating, fatigue, and hormones that contribute to weight gain. Manage your stress through yoga, meditation, music, or sports.
  4. Get enough sleep: Not getting enough sleep may be causing those extra pounds to stick on you. Get at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  5. Plan your meals: Plan your meals ahead of time and meal prep so that you always have something healthy to eat when you get hungry. 
  6. Increase your protein intake: Protein helps build muscle, increase metabolic rate, and promote satiety. Studies suggest that eating protein throughout the day helps you burn more calories than eating carb-heavier meals.
  7. Count your calories: Those “tiny” tastes of your friend’s meals or eating those leftover chocolates can add up significantly to your daily calorie intake. Keep a record of your daily calorie intake by keeping a food journal. This will help you know where things are going wrong.
  8. Add more fiber to your diet: Fiber helps reduce appetite and promotes healthy weight loss. Eat more fiber to feel fuller for longer and have more regular bowel movements. 
  9. Avoid processed foods: Aside from calories, your food sources of those calories matter. Studies suggest that processed foods and trans fats can slow down your metabolism and reduce fat burning. 
  10. Eat healthy fats: Eliminating all fats from your diet can disturb your metabolism. Include nuts, plant-based fats, and fatty fish to provide your body with healthy fats that can help promote satiety.
  11. Avoid excess salt intake: Excess salt consumption can lead to more fluid retention that may be making it hard for you to shed those extra pounds.
  12. Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol is made up of empty calories and contributes to unhealthy weight gain. Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption can help you kickstart your weight loss journey and break through the plateau.
  13. Change things up: If your diet is too restrictive or repetitive, you could be hitting a roadblock in your weight loss goals. Change things up to avoid getting bored with your diet. 
  14. Reassess your calorie needs: Energy requirements may vary with time. Reassess your calorie needs to see whether you are eating above your requirements. You can use online calorie requirement calculators or ask for professional help.
  15. Go on a break: If you have been on a low-calorie diet for a long time, try eating a few more calories for a few days, then gradually lowering them again for a few days. This works for most people and may help you break the weight loss plateau.
  16. Increase your daily activities: Your weight loss depends on how many calories you are burning vs. consuming. Add more steps or do more stretches during your work breaks to boost your calorie expenditure and break the weight loss plateau.
  17. Try different types of workouts: Training the same muscles may mean you burn fewer calories as you repeat the same type of exercise over and again. While repetitive workouts do build strength, training different muscle groups will help you burn more calories.
  18. Do resistance training: Resistance or weight training helps build muscle and boost your metabolism. Try adding more weights or gradually doing more repetitions. 
  19. Manage constipation: Constipation can lead to weight gain and be a sign that your fluid and fiber intake is not up to par. If you notice that you are constipated more than usual, increase your fluid intake and eat more vegetables and probiotics (such as yogurt).
  20. Know your body composition: Body fat is not the only factor when it comes to weight. You may be gaining more muscles along with losing body fat. Muscle gain can lead to increased weight. You can get your body fat composition checked at a fitness center.
  21. Check with your doctor: Thyroid disease, renal disease, and heart conditions can cause fluid retention or weight gain. Certain medications can also result in increased weight. Talk to your doctor if you are not losing weight despite all your efforts.
  22. Focus on other parameters of physical fitness: Fitness is not all about your weight. Look for other indicators, such as improved exercise performance, stamina, inches lost, and improvement in sleep and relationship with food as well. All these parameters suggest that your efforts are working. Pat yourself on the back for coming this far in your fitness journey.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/24/2022
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McCallum K. 5 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau That Actually Work. Houston Methodist.

Barefield K. Weight loss plateaus & strategies to overcome them. NASM.