How to beat a weight loss plateau

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19th Jun 2017 15:47 (UTC)

When you're on a diet chances are high that you are going to hit a weight loss plateau, most people encounter them several times during the same diet.

A plateau is the worst possible thing to happen to you when you're trying to lose weight, the one tangible result from all your efforts suddenly stops in its tracks. They sap your morale, rob you of your motivation to continue and before you know it you're up to your cheek bones in Chocolate Cake while sobbing in a corner.

The key thing to remember is how to tell if you've actually hit a plateau. If you've been continuing your diet in the same way but your weight hasn't gone down for 3 weeks in a row, thats a plateau. If its been 1 to 2 weeks then don't panic. There are lots of legitimate reasons for your weight loss stalling for a couple of weeks, usually due to water retention.

Once you've established you've hit one the next step is to work out why:

1) Calorie creep
You should double check to make sure the amount of calories you're eating per day isn't actually more than you think it is. It is very easy to eat something that seems small but in fact contains a lot.

2) Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and your calorie intake are too close together

In short your BMR is the amount of calories you are consuming on average to be the weight that you are currently at. If the amount of calories per day your diet is giving you is too close to this number, then your weight won't change.

We have customers who have BMRs so low that they fall outside of the working margins for the vast majority of off-the-shelf diets out there, and they didn't even realise it.

To calculate your BMR you can use one of these formulas:

Male BMR = 66.47 + (13.7 * WEIGHT_IN_KG) + (5 * HEIGHT_IN_CM) − (6.8 * AGE)
Female BMR = 655.1 + (9.6 * WEIGHT_IN_KG) + (1.8 * HEIGHT_IN_CM) − (4.7 * AGE)

Compare the result to the amount of calories you're consuming per day. If your BMR is not at least 500 calories more than your daily intake, then you won't lose weight. If your adjusted intake at that point is below 1200 calories, you should make up the difference in exercise. It is dangerous to eat less than 1200 calories per day.

3) Your intake is too low
If you're not eating enough per day then your metabolism will slow right down and lock up, a common name for this is starvation mode. Again check your intake against your BMR. Your intake should be about 500-600 calories below your BMR, but not less than 1200. For most people this will be somewhere between 1400 and 1600 calories per day.

If yours works out at less than 1200 calories, you should make up the difference in exercise.

4) Your metabolism has slowed due to recent weight loss
When you're on a constant diet and you're losing weight, your metabolism will naturally slow down as the weeks pass. Your body starts to rebel, it doesn't want to lose the weight because thats the reserve its built up. Your numbers would all look correct but the weight just doesn't want to shift.

During these periods the best thing to do is to rock the boat so to speak. Take a few days to a week off from your diet, bring your intake back up and get your metabolism pumping again. After your short break, go back and resume your diet as you were before, the weight should start coming off again.

5) Consider switching to a personalised diet plan
If you just want to lose the weight and not have to deal with any of the constant number crunching, or you think your BMR falls outside of the effective margins for your diet; You should check out our web app The Diet Plate Online and consider switching to us!

We do all the calculating and management, all you have to do is enter what you've done and try to achieve the targets we regularly recalculate for you.

The Diet Plate Online

Check out our adaptive weight management system, that's like having your own personal dietitian.

The Diet Plate range

Our calorie counting portion controlled plates and bowl, which alleviate the stress of measuring or weighing your food. Available for men, women and children.

James Dennis

Lost over 105 KG / 17 Stone

After an injury which left me unable to exercise anymore, I started to gain weight at an alarming rate. It did not take me too long to reach a whopping 36 and a half stone.

I used The Diet Plate every night and followed the plan. I started to lose weight and quite rapidly began to look much better.