It’s the greatest feeling in the world when you’re fasting or doing Keto or Low Carb and the weight is moving! You’re down a few pounds and life is good!
But then one morning, you step on the scale. All eager to see how much more you’ve lost.
But the number is the same. Or worse, it’s up! What? How can that be?
You chalk it up to water weight and carry on with your day. But a few days pass and the scale isn’t budging. Now you’re disappointed and trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong.
Even if this hasn’t happened to you yet, at some point in your weight loss journey it probably will. Let’s go through it so you know what’s going on and how to fix it.
What is a weight loss plateau?
A day or two of the scale not moving, or even going up some, is not a plateau. Your weight can fluctuate by a few pounds a day. That’s completely normal.
A true weight loss plateau is you sticking to your fasting plan or your Keto/Low Carb Diet, but the weight loss has stopped cold. You’re stuck at a certain number for weeks and it won’t budge.
Why does weight loss stall?
Let’s look at some of the most common reasons that weight loss plateaus happen:
Doing the same thing over and over again
When it comes to weight loss, doing the same thing will not always get you the same results. Once the body gets used to what you’re doing, it gets comfortable and adjusts to the new lifestyle. So the same amount of effort no longer yields the same result.
Long-term calorie restriction will tank your metabolism. Your weight will settle into a new set point where it will stay.
Not enough body fat
Do you still have enough body fat to burn? Most of us don’t have to worry about this. But if your body fat is at or below the ideal number for your height, you do not need to be on a weight loss plan of any kind.
Not enough sleep and/or too much stress
Lack of sleep and high levels of stress increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone which can interfere with your weight loss progress.
Other medical issues
There could be underlying physical conditions or medications preventing you from losing weight. If you are on any prescription medications, discuss this issue with your doctor.
How can I get the weight moving again?
The only way to beat a weight loss plateau is to do something different. Shake things up.
Tweak your way of eating
If you’ve been doing Extended Fasting, do a safe refeed and follow that with some Intermittent Fasting for a few weeks.
And vice/versa, if you’re doing the same Intermittent Fasting schedule for weeks at a time, either choose another schedule for a while, or try Extended Fasting.
Or consider not fasting at all for a week or so (the horror, I know). Your body might just need a break.
If fasting is not your thing and you do Keto or Low Carb, maybe you could try cutting out some further foods like dairy, nuts or fat bombs and see if that makes a difference.
Change up your exercise routine
Exercise is another great way to disrupt the plateau. Again, the key is doing something different – not necessarily more.
If you already exercise regularly, try tweaking the type of exercise, its duration or intensity.
Interestingly, it could work in the other direction too. If you’ve been doing a lot of intense exercise, you may need to take a rest week in order to get your weight loss moving again.
Hopefully you can see that the overall idea here is change.
Change something up so that your body gets a little reboot. And then the weight should start moving again.
Don’t restrict calories!
You could be doing Intermittent Fasting, Extended Fasting, or some version of Keto or Low Carb.
But when you eat, always eat until satisfied. Don’t restrict calories on purpose if you’re still hungry!
And remember, fasting is not the same calorie restriction.
Why? Because fasting triggers metabolic shifts such as autophagy, ketosis and hormonal rebalancing (insulin/ghrelin/leptin). You don’t get the benefit of these changes if you keep eating around the clock in small amounts.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
Everyone’s needs are different, but most people do best with at least 7 hours of sleep a day.
Lack of sleep will keep your cortisol levels up. You won’t be in an optimal fat burning mode.
Try meditation or deep breathing to help with stress
Again, stress raises cortisol levels. Anything you can do to take some stress out of your life will help. Try at least 15 minutes a day of quiet meditation or deep breathing exercises.
Water and Electrolytes are important!
Drink your water! And whether you are fasting or doing Keto/Low Carb, you will need electrolytes.
If you are dehydrated or low on electrolytes, your body will retain fluid, which will make that number on the scale stay the same or even go up.
Patience is required
Sometimes you’re doing everything right. But that number on the scale still stays the same, no matter what you do.
At this point, the best thing to do is consider it part of the process. Try to be patient and don’t give up!
Keep trying new things. Sooner or later your body will start to release the weight again.