It happens to everyone on a weight loss journey eventually – you hit a weight loss plateau. You’re still doing the same amount of exercise, still eating healthfully, and still watching your calorie intake, but for some reason, the scale has stopped trending downward.
Hitting a weight loss plateau can feel like a frustrating setback. But you don’t need to give up on reaching your goal weight. Instead, you can reevaluate your weight loss strategy. Shaking things up with these tips could help you get back on the weight loss train.
Drink More Water, Tea, or Coffee
You might not think that something as simple as drinking more water could boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat, but it can. Drinking 17 ounces (500 milliliters) of water can boost your metabolism by as much as 30 percent. Drinking a glass of water before each meal can boost your weight loss by as much as 44 percent when compared with those who don’t drink water before a meal.
Don’t like water? Reach for a mug of tea or coffee instead. Coffee and tea contain caffeine, which can boost your metabolism by as much as 13 percent. Green tea may be even more beneficial than black and white teas – it contains an antioxidant called epigallocatecin gallate (EGCG) which can boost fat burning by up to 17 percent.
Rev Up Your Exercise Routine
Hitting a weight loss plateau may be a sign that you need to intensify your exercise routine. You need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 70 minutes of vigorous activity, each week. If you’re struggling with weight loss, you should exercise more than that – up to 300 minutes a week. Strength training, like calisthenics, yoga, or lifting weights, can help you build more muscle mass and raise your metabolism, so make sure you get in at least an hour of strength training every week.
Eat Fewer Carbs and More Protein and Fiber
If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, a diet low in carbohydrates can help you get back on track. Eat no more than 50 grams of carbs a day to support weight loss. At the same time, increase your protein intake – eating more protein can boost your metabolism by 20 to 30 percent during digestion, because protein digestion has a thermogenic effect on your body. Eating more soluble fiber can also help you break out of a weight loss plateau, because it slows the movement of food through your digestive tract. You’ll be less hungry and you’ll absorb fewer calories from the foot you do eat.
Keep a Food Diary
Keeping a food diary in and of itself can increase your commitment to losing weight. It’s also important to track what you eat because most people will drastically underestimate their own calorie consumption if they’re not keeping track of their food. Use an app like MyFitnessPal to keep track of your calorie and macronutrient intake.
See Your Doctor
If you’re struggling to lose weight, the problem could be an underlying medical condition, like diabetes or prediabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or hypothyroidism. A number of medications can also cause weight gain or make it hard to lose weight. Your doctor can evaluate you for underlying causes of your inability to lose weight, and could help you make treatment decisions that will make it easier to lose weight. Even if you don’t have an underlying condition, you can take a medication like Ozempic for weight loss to help you push past a weight loss plateau.
Increase Your Daily Activity
If you’re hitting the gym for 45 minutes every day, but spending the rest of the day parked on your butt, you need to increase your overall daily activity to boost your metabolism and encourage more weight loss. Invest in a standing desk, walk more instead of driving, or take the stairs. Even fidgeting can help burn calories and increase your metabolism.
Sleep deprivation can lower your metabolism, make you more likely to reach for sweets for quick energy, make you too tired to exercise, and increase your levels of hunger and fat storage hormones. If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau and you’re not sleeping well, you need to focus on improving your sleep quality and getting enough sleep.
Cut Out Alcohol
A single alcoholic drink can have more than 100 calories in it – and those are empty calories with no nutritional value. Even if you choose a low-calorie alcoholic beverage, like a vodka tonic, you’re still getting seven calories per gram of alcohol you put in your body. Reign in your alcohol consumption, or quit drinking alcohol entirely, to get your weight loss back on track.
Reaching a weight loss plateau can be discouraging, but remember – it happens to almost everyone who sets out to lose weight. Get more exercise, drink more water, eat more fiber, and take care of yourself, and you’ll soon see the number on the scale trending downward once again.