How to Get Off Your Weight Loss Plateau

Its springtime and we’re getting ready for shorts, sun, and swimsuit season. If your goal is to lose weight and its just not happening, I’ve got some tips and strategies for you. A weight loss plateau almost always happens because of one or more of these things:

  • You’re cutting calories and your body senses that its starving, so it starts storing fat preparing for the famine that it thinks is coming. This is the exact opposite of what you want. Your goal is to release fat instead of storing it but the diet that you’re on is causing the opposite to happen.
  • You are exercising more and gaining muscle mass which incidentally weighs more than fat. The nature of exercise is weight gain as you get stronger and more fit but here’s the secret, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Muscle helps you burn fat but it doesn’t happen overnight.
  • You think you’re eating a healthy diet but its full of processed foods and low-cal snacks and drinks that are advertised to help you lose weight. Nutrition claims are a warning. If there is packaging telling you how good something is for you, there is a good chance that its really not. There are no health claims on a bag of carrots– they are just carrots and they are awesome for you.
  • Your body is toxic. Toxins are wrapped in fat cells. When you lose weight, you mobilize toxins. If your body isn’t adequately prepared to deal with the toxic build-up in your body, it will refuse to let you lose fat. Your colon must be clear to get the junk out of your body and your liver needs the appropriate nutrition and enzyme activity to detoxify the toxins.

A former client asked me about this recently and I wanted to share some tips and strategies with you to help you get of your weight loss plateau.  width=

If you’re ready to lose weight, have more energy, and feel really good. . . you probably want it to happen now. As in, right now. You’re ready, you’re stepping up to the plate, and its just not happening like you want it to, right?

Knowing all that I know about health, nutrition, hydration, psychology, cravings, weight loss, body types. . . (you get the point), I asked myself what I would do if I was on a weight loss plateau. This is what I came up with, in order.
  1. Understand that diets don’t work. There is a big difference between having a diet and being on a diet. Diets are short-term quick fixes for long term problems that make you gain more weight than you lost as soon as you go off of it!
  2. Find your motivation. Determine your “why”. Answer these questions: Why is losing weight so important to you? What is the outcome you’re trying to achieve? How will losing the weight make you feel? Are you doing it for you or for someone else?
  3. Drink more water. Our thirst mechanism is weak and we often mistake thirst for hunger. If you have a craving, drink water first. Make sure that you’re drinking at least half your body weight in ounces a day. For example, a 150 lb woman would want to drink at least 75 ounces of water per day.
  4. Evaluate where and how you are eating. Are you eating in the car? Standing up? Running around doing errands? At your desk? Eat all of your meals and snacks at a table. When you eat. . . eat. This is called intentional eating. When you look at food and think about the actual process of eating, your body produces enzymes and chemicals to break down your food. If you aren’t paying attention, this isn’t happening!
  5. Eat breakfast. Ideally, you should eat within one hour of waking in the morning to rev up your metabolism. You want to break-your-fast before your body goes into starvation mode and starts craving sugar.
  6. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Walk, run, bike, swim, lift weights, do a workout program, yoga, dance. Do something to get moving!
  7. Replace all the white foods in your diet with colorful foods. White foods include bread, pasta, crackers, sugar, potatoes, and others. Colorful foods are mainly fruits and veggies. Juicing or making smoothies are good options for increasing the amount of fruits and veggies in your diet. Adding in superfoods and supplements are also helpful so your body can get rid of the toxins stored in your fat much more efficiently.
  8. Do a detox. Short 3 to 5 day detox programs can help reset your bodies fat-burning cycle and give your body a nutrient infusion. One of my favorite cleanses is the Shakeology 3-day cleanse.
  9. Get support. Trying to figure all this stuff out on your own can be frustrating, confusing, and incredibly disheartening. That’s why I do 30-minute Get REAL Nutrition Breakthrough Sessions. They help you literally break through what’s holding you back and also figure out the best way to get support. . . whether that’s from me, a personal trainer, cooking classes, or whatever will help you reach your goals.
If you’re on a weight loss plateau and you’re really ready to lose that weight thats keeping you stuck, I recommend you start at the top of this list and work your way down. Or, if you want to make changes at lightning speed and are ready to get off your weight loss plateau ASAP. . . start at #9 and work your way up.

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

5 thoughts on “How to Get Off Your Weight Loss Plateau”

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