Pop quiz: What’s the number one reason people give up on their fitness journey before they’ve reached their goal?
If you said “not seeing the scale move,” then you nailed it. Weight loss plateaus (sometimes called weight loss stalls) are a super common, super frustrating roadblock that many people encounter on the path to success. The worst part? They can cause a lot of people to slide back into old habits or even give up entirely. But you don’t have to let that happen to you! Keep reading to figure out how to keep crushing your goals.
WHAT CAUSES PLATEAUS
The first step to overcoming a weight loss plateau is to understand what caused it in the first place. If you’re certain that your portions haven’t crept up over the past couple weeks, and that you haven’t slacked off your exercise program, then the most likely culprit is changes to your body composition.
During the first few weeks of your fitness journey, you actually lose a considerable amount of water weight, rather than fat. That’s because you’re burning a carbohydrate called glycogen for fuel, and glycogen has a high water content.
It’s also inevitable that as you lose fat, you will also lose a little muscle at first. Muscle helps keep your metabolism up, and as you lose it, you burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight. A slower metabolism slows weight loss, and when the calories you burn equal the calories you hit, you hit a plateau.
Before you decide that you’re truly in a progress plateau, be sure to evaluate your NSV’s (non-scale victories)! These include things like changes in body measurements, differences in progress photos, and increases in energy & mood. If you still feel like your progress isn’t moving after evaluating these areas, then it’s time to make some adjustments to keep moving forward.
DO A DIGESTION DEEP DIVE
Keep a food diary for a month and see if you can pinpoint where your diet could use a little clean up. While you may be meeting your macros, some of the foods you may be including may not be making you feel your best. For example, if you feel sluggish and bloated after consuming dairy in your protein shake, it may be time to switch to a plant-based protein powder!
CHECK YOUR NUTRITION ACCURACY
This is a common culprit in weight loss stalls because you may not even realize that your portions have creeped back up. Now is the perfect time to check and make sure you’re not accidentally consuming more calories than you think by making it a point to accurately weigh and track your meals each day.
The stronger you get, the more intense your workouts need to be. A weight loss plateau may just be your body’s way of saying “Let’s up the intensity here – I can handle it.” Now, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to add a ton of cardio or add additional workout days into your week. With strength-training, you’ll progress your results by increasing your resistance week to week. We make this easy-peasy with our weight and rep tracking feature in the FBK app! When going through your workout, review the last time you entered data for the exercises you’re doing and increase your weight resistance by 2.5 - 5lbs to keep the momentum going!
CATCH SOME Z’s
It’s impossible to overstate the benefits of sufficient sleep for fitness and wellness. Not only does sleep recharge your body so that you can attack your next workout, one study* actually found that healthy adults who slept four hours a night for five nights in a row experienced an average 2.6% decrease in resting metabolic rate. If your progress is stalling, be sure you’re making rest & recovery just as important as your training sessions!