Getting Over The “Weight Loss Plateau”

Getting Over The Weight Loss Plateau

The typical human form is capable of achieving a number of incredible feats that seem to suspend or defy the way science tells us things work.

Athletes, through sheer willpower, can end up lifting something that their bodies should not be able to without suffering anything worse than muscle spasms.

People can adapt to extreme physical trauma caused by a car accident and defy predictions that they’ll never walk again.

While, in general, these amazing feats are useful in a number of situations, there are physical reactions that some people look upon with quite a bit of disfavor. Among these “disfavored reactions” is something known as a “weight loss plateau.”

Essentially, the “plateau” is a term used to describe a situation where the body has become incapable of losing any further weight, usually due to developing a tolerance for the weight loss pills and methods being used.

The Plateau

Essentially, the plateau is hit when the body develops tolerance for the regimen’s limitations and practices, thus allowing the metabolic rate of the body to adjust to whatever weight loss pills or techniques were being used.

Most diet books decidedly ignore the existence of the plateau, primarily because it can be seen as negating the purpose of the diet and is, therefore, bad for marketing.

There are, however, ways to counteract the human body building a tolerance for training regimens and weight loss pills.

Have you ever tried a weight loss pill that didn’t work? leave a comment below.

The human metabolism, when presented with a pattern, will eventually adapt to that pattern.

It is this natural adaptability of the human body that can cause the weight loss plateau.

Particularly if the person’s diet and eating habits have been altered for weight loss.

As such, changing the pattern will, once a sufficient amount of time has passed, allow your diet plan or weight loss pills to become effective again.

This trick essentially involves confusing the human metabolism, and is often taken as a rather drastic way to get the body back in “diet mode.”

There are, of course, several ways to effectively alter that pattern without causing the body permanent harm.

Have you ever had a weight loss plateau?

Add Strength

Adding strength and weight training and modifying one’s exercise program can also help someone get past the plateau, in most cases.

The body will still burn through nutrients during physical activity, though the digestive system’s metabolic rate can adapt such that more weight is retained rather than burned during exercise.

Increasing the difficulty of the exercises, or changing the movements to target less-developed muscle areas, can effectively force the body to re-adapt.

While the body is busy adapting to the changes, it can also start losing weight again.

This method is best used with alterations to the person’s diet, however, to maximize the effectiveness.

Another trick used to circumvent the problem of the plateau is to make changes to the time frame between meals.

The internal clock that the human body’s digestive system operates on can be altered to suit one’s purposes, provided one executes the proper alterations to one’s diet and eating habits.

A simple action like altering the schedule of the meals.

Such as adding more meals but reducing the bulk of each, can have an appreciable effect on altering the metabolic rate.

The key concept of this method is to fool the body into burning the food faster, thus getting one’s weight loss program and diet back on track.

When considering the options, it is helpful to keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another person.

Some slower metabolisms may require combination of diet program and exercise regimen modifications.

While others can get by with merely shortening the break between meals.

The critical point is to find a method that works and is effective for a specific metabolism, which can be a time-consuming process.


Among diet experts, there is a rarely mentioned adaptation of the body that prevents a diet program from achieving the maximum results.

This adaptation, the weight loss plateau, can be tackled in a variety of ways, most of which involve changes to the training or diet regimen of a person.

While circumventing the metabolic rate can be a difficult process, it can be done.


1. Adjust your calorie intake.

As you lose weight, your metabolism can drop because your body requires less calories or “energy” to fuel a smaller you.

The calorie intake that you initially had when you began your weight-loss journey will need to be adjusted to match your body’s current needs for weight loss.

Make sure to revise your calorie goal in MyFitnessPal every 10 pounds or so.

2. Focus on quality.

Busting through a weight-loss plateau is more than calories in and calories out.

Processed foods won’t cut it anymore, thus quality whole foods like vegetables, beans, high-fiber fruits and lean proteins are needed for your engine to burn body fat.

3. Rotate your routine.

Slugging away on the treadmill for the past four months? It’s time to change up your workouts. The muscles become familiar with the same old workout, making your regular routine less effective.

To see a change in body fat, you have to get outside of your fitness comfort zone. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to burn body fat effectively.

Try doing speed work at the track, a boot camp class at the gym, or alternate walking and running intervals.

Note: Just progress slowly and deliberately when incorporating high-intensity exercise into your routine. Doing too much too fast can leave you too sore, tired or even injured.

4. Beware of clean-up duty.

An extra bite here, a little nibble there. Those calories DO count, even if they aren’t on your plate.

Mindlessly munching on the kids’ (or spouse’s) leftovers during clean up seems harmless.

But resist the snack urge because it might be what’s keeping you from seeing results.

5. Know your numbers.

If you’ve been watching what you eat and exercising more and your weight is not budging.

Consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could make it difficult for you to lose weight.

6. Sleep.

A full night’s sleep is vital to losing body fat because it resets your hormones. Even a little sleep deprivation can lead to increased cortisol, a stress hormone.

Elevated cortisol levels can lead to body fat accumulation around the midsection.

7. Keep a closer eye on your caloric needs.

Research has shown that people often overestimate how many calories they burn during exercise, and underestimate how many calories they eat.

To better approximate your caloric needs, use the MyFitnessPal basal metabolic rate calculator to learn how many calories you burn a day if you did nothing but rest for 24 hours.

Use your basal metabolic rate as a benchmark to subtract the approximate number of calories burned during activity. Keep in mind that the number of calories burned during activity can vary.

8. Flush with fluids.

Keep your hydration in check since the body will often crave food when you are even mildly dehydrated.

Symptoms of dehydration are similar to symptoms of hunger, so it’s easy to confuse the two. Aim to drink 80-100 fluid ounces (2.35 liters) of water per day plus additional fluids lost during activity.

9. Increase muscle mass.

Want to burn more calories at rest? Lift (heavier) weights and follow a strength-training program to build muscle.

The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, and the more body fat you’ll shed.

10. Eat more protein.

Protein has the highest thermic effect of food, meaning eating protein burns more calories during digestion.

Protein also contains an amino acid, leucine.

That numerous research studies have identified as a potent catalyst for burning body fat.

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